Munich Startup: Who are you and what does Familypunk do? Please introduce yourselves!
Jutta Merschen: I’m Jutta, 40 years old and the founder of Familypunk. Our mission with Familypunk is to empower parents to do their own thing as a family – with joy, serenity and a little bit of “punk.” We do that by giving parents access to short and snappy audio content on our audio platform about raising kids, daily family life, parenting and child development.
I have three kids of my own and am familiar with both the joys and challenges of being a parent. It was based on my own personal experience and many conversations and surveys with more than 1,500 parents that the idea for Familypunk emerged. After more than ten years in consulting and technology management at McKinsey, I decided that now is the best time to start a company.
A digital companion for parents
Munich Startup: What problem does your startup solve?
Jutta Merschen: We surveyed more than 1,500 parents and 75% told us they find daily family life challenging or very challenging. More than 80% actively look for support when it comes to raising kids. But most parents don’t even have the time to go to the bathroom by themselves, let alone dedicate hours to a book or an online course.
This is exactly where Familypunk comes in: We read the content, prepare it with experts and summarize it all in short and snappy audio sessions. It’s easy to find time for them during your daily routine because you can listen to them while cooking, in the car or while out for a walk with the stroller.
Munich Startup: But that’s nothing out of the box!
Jutta Merschen: Of course there are lots of places where parents can find advice: books, internet forums, blogs, online courses, parent coaches and family therapists. That being said, the market is fragmented and parents simply don’t have enough time for a lot of what’s offered: Books aren’t finished, and online courses aren’t watched to the end.
Our platform with short and snappy content that you can listen to is unique. And we develop our content in collaboration with experts in educational sciences, psychology and pedagogy. This ensures that the content reflects the most recent research.
Familypunk: Short info sessions for when it works
Munich Startup: What have been your three biggest challenges so far?
Jutta Merschen: The biggest challenge by far was my co-founder, Janet, leaving in early 2021 for personal reasons. Janet and I founded and built Familypunk together in 2020, so becoming a solo founder was a major adjustment for me. Suddenly being responsible for everything from A-Z was a big challenge at first. I can now deal with the “new normal” well, but am still looking for co-founders in the fields of product, marketing and tech. We can simply make faster and better progress with Familypunk as a team. Feel free to contact me if you’re interested!
The second major challenge is obviously the pandemic. On the one hand, it should actually help us in business terms, but we’re seeing that parents invest more in keeping their kids busy than in themselves. On the other hand, the pandemic doesn’t make working with kids any easier, regardless of whether you’re working from home or not. Our three kids were home for months on end in 2020 to begin with, and since the fall of 2020, sometimes they’ll be out of preschool for a few weeks and that demands even more flexibility on a professional and family level.
Munich Startup: Where would you like to be in one year, and where in five years?
Jutta Merschen: We want to make Familypunk the leading digital companion for parents. Which is why we also want to offer our audio sessions in a user-friendly app in one year to make it even easier for parents to quickly access our content.
In five years, we not only want to be present in the German-speaking market, but also in the English-speaking realm. Raising kids is such a universal subject, and we want to reach parents around the world with our product.
“I love Munich and its active startup ecosystem”
Munich Startup: What do you think about Munich as a startup location?
Jutta Merschen: Because Familypunk is a remote company, the location doesn’t play such a critical role for us. The team is from across Germany and we work from home or in co-working spaces. That was really important to me when founding Familypunk: To make it possible to work flexibly, at any time and from anywhere to improve the balance between work and family life.
That being said, I love Munich, the mountains and also its extremely active startup ecosystem. I can hardly wait for the effects of the pandemic to subside: In 2019, I spent a lot of time at events and on personal networking.
Munich Startup: Get up early in the morning or pull all-nighters?
Jutta Merschen: Both, but not on the same day! I’m an early bird and am often at my desk at 5 am to work in peace and quiet before the day around me begins. But sometimes things have to be completed in the evening. I still try to always go to bed on time, because in a pinch, sleep comes before the startup.
Starting a company with kids also means having to organize things differently. The romantic notion of working all night long and sleeping in until 11 am doesn’t work.