Workbuddy member and entrepreneur, Jaap Frolich, tells us about his start-up journey and meeting his Family5 co-founder at a co-working space here in Singapore!
“Sometimes you just have to wing it as a parent and figure things out as you go along. If you’re looking for guidance, it can be overwhelming as there are so many books and online resources out there. There is a lot of information made available to you – a lot.
What Family5 does is compile bite-size information that will help you become a better parent. Giving undivided attention to your kids – even if it’s just for five minutes a day – has many benefits, so the app acts like a toolkit to cultivate good parenting habits.
Family5 offers a library of fun activities. We understand that it’s hard to think of fresh ideas every day, so this feature serves as an inspiration board.
We suggest everything from scavenger hunts to having conversations about certain topics. Once the activity starts, you’ll be prompted to put your phone away and focus all your attention on your kids.
Another part of the app is goal-setting. For example, remaining at the table until everyone has finished eating when having dinner. It’s a simple goal but the benefits accumulate when you set goals like this regularly.
Before I started working on Family5, my co-founder Robert and I were working full-time at other start-ups. We’re originally from the Netherlands but met at a co-working space here in Singapore.
He shared early sketches of Family5 over lunch one day and asked to help make an actual app out of this. I was so excited because I come from a technical background and Family5 was so refreshingly different from what I was working on at the time.
It was more like a hobby in the beginning. We would block one day a week to work on the app but we made a lot of progress very quickly. At some point, it became quite serious and we thought that it was time to start working on this full-time. The rest is history, I guess.
Of course, there were challenges along the way. Nine angel investors had chosen to invest in us in mid-2019. We made so much progress that many venture capital firms approached us in early 2020; but, because of COVID-19, the whole situation changed.
We decided to delay fundraising for a year. This meant that we couldn’t grow the company as fast as we’d like. On the other hand, we had significantly more parents using our app.
Robert relocated to Zurich recently, so now I am on my own here in Singapore. That is why I’m glad for an app like workbuddy that lets me experience many different co-working spaces.
Robert and I still work together, albeit remotely. Being in a co-working space is great because I get to meet up and work together with other entrepreneurs in his absence. This start-up environment is mentally and creatively stimulating for me.
Yes, I do love what I’m doing. Starting a start-up is a long ride with a lot of ups and downs. It’s a grind. If you do this just to become rich, you will probably give up at some point. You need to be a maker and enjoy building new things. Robert and I really love that process and we get a lot of energy out of that.
What’s really interesting is the fact that my wife was pregnant when we started Family5. The idea of working on this app suddenly became so relevant to me. Being a parent really helped because I’m also a user of the app. It’s hard to build a good parenting app if you are not a parent yourself!
My son who is two-years-old now. I don’t think I am the best parent in the world but working on this app and using it myself made me learn a lot about parenting. Yeah, I guess you can say it made me a better parent.”
– Jaap Frolich, 35
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