A One Stop Shop for Kids Activities

Parents are busy people. Finding fun and engaging activities for their kids takes enough time without the hassle of comparing prices and schedules and reading reviews. It's never been easier to quickly find the best children's activities and camps at the right price, time, and location. 

Today's featured startup, Activity Rocket, makes it easy for parents to find all the information they need about orgnizations, sports teams, and camps for their children -- all in one place. With comprehensive access to social networking, reviews, and discounts, mothers and fathers don't have to worry about spending a ton of time searching for the perfect place for their child. Learn more about this Startup Maryland startup from its founder, Lisa Friedlander.

Tell us about your product or service
Activity Rocket revolutionizes the multi-billion dollar kids’ activity marketplace with a one stop shop serving activity providers, parents and mommy marketers. The problem: parents are frustrated with the disconnected, time consuming process of finding, comparing, sharing, and organization of kids classes, sports & camps. The Rocket's centralized website directly connects registration ready parents and local activity providers for kids ages 0-18. Parents get organizational and social networking tools, reviews, discounts, educational blog content, and in the future shopping cart payment for multiple classes and one common registration form. Providers directly connect to parents in a way impossible through traditional medium; resulting in increased referrals/registrations.

What inspired you to start your company?
Activity Rocket was born from two mothers' frustration with the entire kids' activity process and disconnected marketplace. We knew we wanted to solve a problem that existed in our daily lives as moms, women, professionals. We kept constantly coming back to the nightmare surrounding finding, scheduling, and organizing our lives around our kids (we have 5 between us) activities. Our AH HA moment came when one week I was looking for a Tuesday afternoon class for my then 3 year old. The only parameters were it had to be Tuesday between 12-3 when my older kids were in school. Did not matter at all what type of activity it was! Well 3 1/2 hours later I finally found a toddler gymnastics class. At the same time, Ilene was booking travel plans for her entire family in Expedia and was finished in 15 minutes. It was crazy to us that it took hours to find a gymnastics class in our backyard but you could book travel anywhere in the world in a matter of minutes!

Tell us about the startup community in your city and state
Amazing! The DC Metro area startup scene is robust and growing like weeds. We have been so blessed to have met many inspiring, passionate individuals and tech leaders in our backyard. Go DC!

What are your startup's three biggest challenges to growth?
There have been many challenges and it has been both exciting and stressful to try and solve them. Following the lean startup methodology, our solutions haven't always been perfect in an ideal world; however, they got us to the next step in a reasonable way having learned immensely from the experience. Along those lines, we have come to realize that there is no such thing as perfection just iteration. Another challenge has been educating both parents and businesses that there is a better way to get the job done and to let go of the old fashioned ways to embrace the new - its a process. Another big challenge is the data or scheduling information of the various activity providers.

What is the best way to secure, maintain, update - and is this solution workable for just one region or can you scale with it or do you need something additional to move with greater speed.

How will connecting to the resources in your Region help you overcome these challenges?
There are so many amazing resources and people in our startup community and we have been very blessed to have utilized our connections and our connections connections wisely. Whenever we face an issue we turn to our network and seek out the individual or individuals who are best suited to help us solve that issue.

Why should startups join Startup America and get connected to their Region?
You can't go it alone - well you can but your chances of success significantly diminish - and why reinvent the wheel when there are lessons to be learned from those that have gone before you. If you want to succeed and I don't know one entrepreneur that doesn't, utilize all of your resources and human capital is the most valuable of all.

What else should we highlight about your startup?
We launched our beta product in Montgomery County, MD in October 2011. Since launch, we have proven the concept with over 250 Vendors, over 25,000 activities/camps in our database and over 50,000 site visitors. We are now expanding into DC and Northern Virginia to serve the parents of the entire DC Metro area. Activity providers are now contacting us daily to sign up. We have secured several national advertising purchases as well. Currently, we are working with iStrategy Labs (a top digital agency in DC; Peter Corbett its founder has revolutionized the DC Tech world single handedly) to design Phase 2 of the site which will be relaunched early next year with an entire new look as well as amazing new functionality. We have also hired a national marketing firm Kaleidescope that specializes in parent/youth marketing to set our local, regional, and national go to market strategy. Exciting things are on the horizon for 2013.

Learn more and connect with Activity Rocket here.

www.activityrocket.com | www.facebook.com/activityrocket | @ActivityRocket

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