Parenting & tech: An interview with the founder of Parentool, the new Romanian app for parents
Many say parenting is the most challenging job in the world. It is, of course, a rewarding and fulfilling experience, but also one that comes with many questions, worries and insecurities, especially if you're new at this. And with information about parenting scattered all around the internet, finding expert advice & tips in one place can definitely make life easier. That's the mission of Parentool, a new Romanian science-based app that connects parents with specialists and helps them find answers to various questions. We connected to founder Petruța Țuligă to discover how it works.
Is it normal for the baby to sleep so much? Can he eat this? Is this right? Why am I so tired all the time? These are just some of the questions that pop into the heads of new parents, usually the moms. Romanian entrepreneur Petruța Țuligă launched an app that can help find valuable answers to such questions, directly from specialists or from verified articles. Plus, with Parentool, moms can follow the child's development stages and plan the best parenting style.
In its first month on the market, Parentool was already downloaded by 2,400 users, and the target for this year is 10,000. Parents from the diaspora can also download the app.
As for future plans, a section for dads, a version in English, and the expansion on international markets are on the list.
"Our mission is to become the go-to place for parents when they have questions about parenting," founder and CEO Petruța Țuligă told Romania-insider.com.
Meet Petruța and discover the story & mission of Parentool from the interview below.
To start off with, could you briefly tell us your story?
I was born in Târgu Jiu, surrounded by the art of Constantin Brâncuşi, and I graduated from the Faculty of Political and Communication Sciences - Communication and PR section - in Cluj-Napoca. My adventure as an adult began in the first year of college when I joined the AIESEC organization. After 3 months, I became vice president and the following year president. After the AIESEC experience, I started working in HR and continued over the years to experiment and navigate areas such as marketing, Employer Brand, product development and consulting.
I am currently the founder and CEO of Parentool and offer consulting services to people who want to develop their business and those who have various product-related challenges.
I'm passionate about all things related to psychology. I like to disconnect by walking in nature and talking to people who are passionate about what they do.
I have two cats that teach me how to take things easier and prioritize rest.
When and how did the Parentool story begin? Where did the idea come from, and what was your motivation?
The story of Parentool started with a vision. I absolutely love children, the magic they bring, and the parent-child dynamics. It all started when I came to Cluj and began to understand the impact my relationship with my parents had on me.
I pictured a world where children feel loved, accepted as they are, and where the family is for them the nest where they grow the wings to fly. I started to pay more attention around me and notice a father's tears of happiness at his daughter's wedding, a child's joy when the mother comes home, the beautiful energy created when the child is held by the hand to discover the world. These moments give me goosebumps, and they are the ones that motivated me to build something in this direction.
I believe that, in order to have a better world, we need to provide help right where this world starts: in the parent-child relationship.
Please tell us briefly what Parentool is and what it does. How does it work? What is the mission of Parentool?
Parentool is a science-based mobile parenting application where parents can receive answers directly from specialists. The app has 3 main categories:
-an area with articles where parents can access both exclusive and curated content from other sources. It's important to know that the articles are pre-checked and are dedicated to both the mother and the child. We will also develop a section for dads.
-the Milestones area, where parents can follow the child's development stages and find out how they can support him depending on the specifics of that period.
-an area dedicated to specialists where parents ask questions in private and receive answers on the same day.
Our mission is to become the go-to place for parents when they have questions about parenting.
Why is such an option needed in the local market?
Much of the information about parenting is scattered in many places. We thought that the most helpful way is to bring everything to one more accessible place, especially since parents' time is limited. In addition, we couldn't find a platform that a parent can use and "grow" with it at the same time, and we intend to do this ourselves.
What was the investment, and how did you cover the costs?
The investment was around EUR 50,000. Parentool is bootstrapped, and the costs have been covered by me and our CTO, Dragoș Bilaniuc.
How many users do you have now, and what's the target for this year?
We currently have around 2,400 downloads (30 days after the public lunch), aiming to reach 10,000 by the end of the year.
What are your plans for Parentool?
First of all, we're working to develop the base of specialists and the app's content to offer the personalized experience we want. We aim to give the parent that feeling of "Aha! That's exactly what I needed!"
Secondly, we want to expand the Parentool community and be of more help to parents in the Diaspora (they can already download the application).
Later on, plans also include international expansion, a version in English and an innovative business model.
What was the biggest challenge you faced in developing this project?
The challenges were many and depended on each stage. One of the biggest was finding a tech specialist who has the time, knowledge and passion for joining a startup as the IT market offers a set of benefits that a startup without financing cannot compete with. Fortunately, we found Dragoș, and things got back on track.
Would you say that Romania is a friendly country for entrepreneurs? Does Romania offer opportunities for new businesses?
I think that things are slowly developing in Romania as well. There are more and more incubation and acceleration programs and more and more entrepreneurs who are willing to mentor. I think there is still a long way to go in terms of legislation. Bureaucracy and confusing laws don't make things easy for entrepreneurs.
However, we and many other colleagues managed to make beautiful changes and show that it is possible.
The feedback received after the launch confirmed once again that solutions that help the parent-child relationship are needed.
Note: The original interview was in Romanian.
Irina Marica, firstname.lastname@example.org
(Photos: courtesy of Petruța Țuligă)