Caitlin Coffman felt like she was missing out when she dropped her children off at daycare and headed to work. Getting a little slip of paper or Post-IT note at the end of the day with “fish sticks and a 20-minute nap” just wasn’t enough information or connection with her kids.
A 20-year career in IT and policy development had taught Caitlin that there’s always a way to do things better and that technology is often the solution. In June last year, she left her job at a local tech firm with the big idea to fix the way we maintain relationships with those in our care.
Caitlin CoffmanCo-founder & CEO
“I know that may sound ‘pie-in-the-sky’ idealistic, but if we can bring families together to ensure that they feel loved and fulfilled then we’ve brought something deep to industries that need better solutions.”
At its heart, tend.ly is a software-as-a-solution platform that works on any computer, tablet or smartphone to capture and share moments that matter throughout the day when we are away from loved ones in our care. Primary markets for the platform are early childhood education like child care facilities and preschools and a wide variety of senior care environments.
Daily handwritten sheets that chronicle a child’s day are common among child care providers. Some senior care providers do similar daily sheets, but more often than not it takes a phone call or in-person meeting to learn about a senior’s daily activity. With tend.ly, activity updates including photos and videos are delivered via emails and text messages in real-time or in summary form at the end of the day.
tend.ly is also using wearable technologies similar to a fitbit to automate some of the activity reporting. For example, the platform would automatically log when a child is at lunch our outside on the playground based on proximity sensors.
The platform has built-in templates based on best practices for its primary markets, but it’s flexible and customizable for users with specific needs.
“tend.ly is built as a data collection and distribution system to help bridge communications gaps and help families better engage with each other, but it’s also a powerful data management platform that helps owners and managers better understand what’s happening minute-by-minute in their businesses, which is critical for making smarter decisions,” Caitlin said.
tend.ly currently has close to 50 provider customers and the pricing structure is a simplified $2 per child or senior per month with an average deal size of about $1,000. The bootstrapped startup is extremely lean on personnel with co-founder and CEO Caitlin full time, Jon Garrison handling customer acquisition and support part time, and Caitlin’s husband, Matt Coffman handling 100 percent of the software development. Serial entrepreneur and High Alpha partner Eric Tobias is a co-founder of tend.ly, but it’s not a High Alpha portfolio company.
Most of tend.ly’s customers are currently in Indiana, but they are beginning marketing outside of the state, in particular in the Chicago market.