How a Company Led by Parents is Using Technology to Give Parents More Time

If you're a parent, it's no great revelation when I say that it's a constant challenge to balance the welfare, needs and desires of your kids with your own goals for work, life, your relationship with your partner, etc. I knew this from talking with friends who had kids, but didn't really feel the full force of it until I had kids myself. Then BOOM! Where did my time go? Who's making dinner? Can I make that late meeting? How do I get my two boys where they need to be?

I come from a family of entrepreneurs who have built businesses from the ground up. Over a 15-year career I've helped non-profits and companies like Microsoft roll out global programs; and when I became a mom I knew I wanted to focus my energies on building something to help parents like myself. I believe that lack of tools for managing our busy families is a contributor to gender inequality in the workplace. According to the Small Business Administration, 70 percent of working women in America have children under the age of 18 and in dual income families still do 40 percent more childcare and driving than their working father counterparts.

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Over the last year, my two co-founders and I have talked to hundreds of parents about how they struggle to 'do it all'. Arranging transportation for their kids stood out as the largest pain point. Some moms drive 30 hours each week to get their kids to sports, school, and ballet. Others have carpools coordinated with elaborate Excel spreadsheets and 15 person text threads. Many shared stories of kids who've been left at the curb when a harried parent forgets to pick them up. There has to be a better way.

Our solution is Pogo, a mobile app for Apple and Android devices, which will be available in early 2016. Pogo utilizes mobile technology to connect parents to safe, affordable, and sustainable transportation options by harnessing the trust that already exists between parents that share a sports team, a school, or a neighborhood. Mobile technology is a force that builds connection, eases logistics, and provides information that enables trust. We've already seen the effects of this technology in other fields: We live in world where people invite strangers into their home (Airbnb), hand off their dogs (DogVacay and Rover), and even rent their Teslas (Turo and Getaround).

I've been told that Pogo isn't 'sexy' and that it's a 'mom tool'. Our team is proud of this distinction and grateful to Verizon for seeing its potential to not only help parents but take cars off the road. Great parenting takes a village and there isn't a single working parent out there that wouldn't benefit from more time. My top priority at Pogo is that what we're building is truly life changing for parents and their kids. With the launch of a closed beta test of the Pogo app earlier this month, we're on the road to find out.

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Melissa Fox Lehman, Co-founder and CEO of Pogo

The Powerful Answers Award is a multi-million dollar challenge for entrepreneurs, companies and innovators worldwide to provide innovative solutions to the world's biggest problems. In it's third year, Powerful Answers Award is excited as ever to share stories of the people behind the technologies leaving a positive impact in three areas: transportation, emergency response and the Internet of Things. For more information, visit here.