You might expect the next big parenting app to come out of Silicon Valley. Or at least Silicon Alley, the high-tech hub in Lower Manhattan. But a promising new app for new parents has roots here in the suburbs of Westchester.
Bright Parenting is an iOS and Android app that provides quick lessons on topics like listening, sharing, and kindness. It’s aimed at parents of kids between the ages of two and 10, and it’s created by local Dobbs Ferry father Steve Jacobs.
The app has raised close to $1 million so far, and attracted the interest of some savvy businesspeople: Shan-Lyn Ma, founder and CEO of the wedding company Zola, and Kevin Ryan, internet entrepreneur and CEO of Alley Corporation, are among Bright Parenting’s angel investors. “The product is currently working on its second round of funding,” explains a recent press release.
The Bright Parenting team is growing, too: “A year ago it was me, my co-founder, and another engineer along with two trusted child development [experts] who inform and review content,” Jacobs says. “Now we have a head of content, as well as a visual designer and illustrator.”
Jacobs says that Bright Parenting provides something most other parenting apps do not: “Although there are a lot of apps out there marketed to parents, most of them are not focused on parenting but on providing other support, such as nursing apps and baby sleep apps,” he notes. “With Bright Parenting, after completing a brief assessment, parents receive daily parenting tips, plus easy activities and lessons customized to their unique child.”
Jacobs’ own fatherhood helped craft a winning app: His kids are eight and five. But his business chops likely played a role, too: Before Bright Parenting, Jacobs was senior vice president, Digital Product at HBC, where he oversaw digital experiences for marquee brands like Saks, Gilt, and Saks Off Fifth. Jacobs is also a venture partner at First Mark Capital.
Jacobs has big ambitions for the app. A recent press release notes that “Bright Parenting does for parenting what Headspace has done for meditation.” Headspace is a smash hit: “The seventh-highest grossing health and fitness app and 103rd overall on iOS,” according to CNBC, with a value of over $300 million. If Bright Parenting follows in its footsteps, then Jacobs and Dobbs Ferry may soon have some high tech cachet, despite being a continent away from Silicon Valley.