Today’s guest left her job at Snapfish to start her own company, Kango a mobile app that offers scheduled and on-demand rides and childcare for kids. She shares how she got accepted into the 500 Startups accelerator, how she pivoted the business and the company’s new partnership with Chrysler.
Getting Accepted in a 500 Startups Accelerator
They applied more than once as they got rejected so it was a continuous conversation about what milestones they have attained. It took persistence and demonstration of results and progress to get in. There was also a lot of competition but once they were part of the program, they were gratified that even though there were age differences between the groups; they really had a lot of things in common, they were facing the same challenges and everyone else is just as crazy as they were. For them, it was an amazingly supportive and encouraging experience.
If you are looking at getting in, you need to know your metrics. It also helps to have a sponsor so find a way to connect with someone before you apply, ideally with a prior founder who has gone through the program or perhaps one of the 500 team themselves. Go to events or network to find out more if the program fits for you. Get yourself in the radar, stand out from the crown before or during the application process, know your metrics and have a plan.
Pivoting the Business
The first version was a peer-to-peer app which came with no cost. It was called Kangado at that time and their vision was that parents can find each other in their neighborhoods or school groups and could chat with each other without divulging private information. They can collaborate to swap rides, child care, schedule a play date, etc. They have about 40k people within and even outside the country that downloaded the app but they were not able to monetize the service. It was challenging to get people to pay and build a viable business model without a lot of customization work. This is when they cemented their decisions to go after the transportation and child care model.