By Allan Maurer
WASHINGTON, DC – Maurice McKenzie, founder and president of Yadahome, realized after eight years as an equity stock analyst following media and Internet stocks, that it was time to pursue his ambition to start a business of his own. “I looked at what I was passionate about and at what I understood and knew that starting a company in the Internet space was something I would be good at,” he says.
Looking for an unmet need, he found that while digital business productivity tools abound, the same was not true for families. The result? In May 2008 he launched Yadahome, a set of productivity apps for families. Those include online and mobile apps for shared to do lists, grocery lists, calendars, a journal, recipes, photos, contacts, a household budgeting feature, and more.
The apps include some clever features, we think.
The household budgeting tool, for instance, allows users to easily estimate their grocery bills before they reach the check-out aisle. This new site feature allows users to reconcile their grocery budget to their actual grocery bills and helps members keep track of their grocery expenditures throughout the year.
The grocery coupon feature alerts users when coupons matching items on their grocery shopping list become available.
Currently, McKenzie is self-funding the startup, but would like to raise about $1 million in capital. Yadahome is one of 60 innovative companies selected to present at the fourth annual Southeast Venture Conference at the Ritz Carlton in Tysons Corner, Virginia, Feb. 24-25 (see: www.seventure.org for more information).
All of Yadahome’s apps can be shared among family members. “If you download it to your device and your spouse does the same, you can create a network to share your to do list and other apps in real time,” says McKenzie.
Free and subscription versions available
The Yadahome Web site has about 18,000 members now, most using the free service. It also has several hundred customers paying for the subscription version with an additional set if “more robust” features for a $10 annual membership.
McKenzie says the company feels the iPhone version of the product is key. “Lots of people create lists on their computers, but no one takes their PC to the store with them,” he says.
The iPhone app is free to use for seven days, after which it will no longer synchronize with the Web site or share. It will retain any information the user put in. That way, if a user doesn’t see value right away, but decides to sign up months down the road, his information is still available.
“We’ve begun to see more traction in paid subscriptions since the refined mobile app launched in August,” says McKenzie. He says a final version incorporating user feedback is near completion.
McKenzie notes that if you look through the iTunes store for mobile apps, “You’ll see dozens of calendars, to do lists, grocery lists. But not one lets you build a network and share across it in the consumer market.”
TechJournal South editor Allan Maurer can be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org
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