Our tech start-up of the week is Tweekaboo, a new type of social network for parents to record and share family moments privately via an online journal.
Based in Cork, the start-up was set up in 2011 by Eugene Murphy, a consulting engineer. He says he was inspired to create Tweekaboo by his own kids as he wanted an easy way to record their memories.
"I wanted to create a place in the cloud where families can come together and to make it easy for busy parents to record and share family moments privately," explains Murphy. "You can save texts, photos and videos using your phone and we automatically journal them for you in the cloud."
Four people currently work at Tweekaboo, while external contractors and consultants also work with the start-up from time to time.
The Tweekaboo app is currently available for iOS devices and has been out six weeks now.
"The Android app is in the pipeline for next year. We are seeing demand for Android really building," explains Murphy. "We are also in the process of regionalizing the app."
He says Tweekaboo already has registered users in 126 countries. "It’s very exciting to see families forming networks on Tweekaboo. We have families as far away as the Philippines using the platform to keep in touch with relatives in Madagascar and the US."
Tweekaboo is also currently taking part in the Internet Growth Acceleration Programme (iGAP) that has been developed by Enterprise Ireland in partnership with the Internet Growth Alliance .
Murphy describes iGAP as being ideal to help Tweekaboo optimise its product and to scale as quickly as possible. "It brings international expertise into Ireland that really gives Irish companies a huge opportunity to move faster," he says.
Having bootstrapped the start-up to date, Murphy says that Tweekaboo recently secured some angel investment to help grow the team and accelerate product development.
"We’re also just back from San Francisco where we were talking to angel investors. We’re heading back to San Francisco again and we hope to set up a presence there before the end of the year," he adds.
So what’s the plan for Tweekaboo? "Firstly, we want to make it effortless for parents everywhere to privately journal and share the story of their children’s lives. That’s our main goal," explains Murphy.
He says the aim is to build Tweekaboo into a global service for families everywhere, with the company set to focus heavily on the US and China marketplaces in particular. "We are doing a lot of research in China right now. We are at the start of focusing on moving into that marketplace."
Learning from experience
As to obstacles in setting up Tweekaboo, he says that the most challenging aspect is having a vision that you want to execute quickly but realising that things always take longer than one would like to achieve. "It’s important to be patient and persistent in this game."
Finally, his advice for other aspiring self-starters out there is to take action.
"Build a prototype quickly and get users to use it. They will lead you forward. Listen more than you talk and be passionate about what you do.
"Definitely heed the advice of other founders and always trust your gut. Build a great team as quickly as you can. It transforms your progress and your chances of success," adds Murphy.