Emily Tredget, co-founder of Happity
We speak with Emily Tredget, co-founder of Happity, the online platform aiming to use technology to end loneliness for new parents.
Can you introduce yourself and tell me a bit about your current role?
I’m Emily Tredget, Co-founder of Happity, I’m joint CEO and Co-founder, along with Sara Tateno. I look after the marketing side and team mostly, and she looks after the tech and the finance. My job is particularly to help the team find more parents and providers so that we can help more of them connect and help each other.
Can you tell us a bit more about Happity?
Happity is about connecting parents through baby and toddler classes. It came about as I had really bad post-natal depression for about two years. As I was getting better, I did a lot of research about how post-natal depression can come out of loneliness, which is definitely something that I had experienced. So, I set up a different app called MummyLinks which was setting up play dates, and trying to get parents to get together informally in parks and cafes etc. At basically the same time, Sara was setting up Happity, her husband took paternity leave and at that time she trained with Google to do coding.
Around two years ago we came together and bought MummyLinks and Happity together; I had tons of parents who wanted to do things, and she had loads of providers who wanted parents to come to their classes, so we thought we would put them together as that’s what they both want!
It’s all about beating loneliness for new parents. It’s very much about getting them out of the house and building that community. So, we encourage people to try classes and find out what works and then commit to that for a term, or the year. We help the providers as well, we not only advertise their classes, but we also help them book them. That’s quite key, as most of the people we help are small independents, often ‘one woman bands’ and don’t have a large marketing budget.
Built from scratch
Yes, Sara built it from scratch, and we have obviously grown since then. We now have a CTO called Andy who helps with the tech as well, and we’re growing rapidly. We are currently employing some KickStarters, the government scheme, which has been really good, and gives them a really great opportunity.
How do people access Happity?
You just need to go onto https://www.happity.co.uk . The parents would go on and enter their post code into the search bar, the age of their child, whether they’re looking for in-person or online classes and whether that’s in the morning or afternoon, as well as what day if you know. We then comes up with a list of what is available. If it’s one of our members, they can book directly through Happity.
From a provider point of view there is an ‘add activity’ page where they can register their interest and they can list all of their classes for free. If they choose to, they can upgrade their membership which is only £37.50 plus VAT each year, which means they can have more promoted listings and get in front of more people,use our booking system and lots of other great community benefits!
Growing the business
We have 200,000 searches a month and 600,000 page views and we have up to 100,000 parents per month using the site. We are London focused, but during COVID we put 32,000 classes online, which we have had people from all over the world signing up to!
Now, we are making sure we have in person classes across the country as well. 50% of parents in London used Happity in the year before COVID, and now we are trying to expand into different areas. We’re launching in Birmingham as we speak, and then we’ll go to different places as and when.
How do you think that digital technology has helped to create products like Happity?
It’s the accessability and having things at your fingertips. Parents need ease! They want to need something that is easy, and that is what people find really great about Happity – they have thousands of classes to search at their fingertips.
It does make life easier, however the downside is that there is the reliability issue. There is so much information out there that it can be hard to work out what you want, particularly in terms of classes. That’s one thing that we have worked really hard with, we are known as a reliable platform.
We have something called Quick Check; as an example, when COVID hit we actually took down all the classes, and introduced Quick Check. It is a great piece of technology where if you find the class that you like the look of, and it says that it was last verified six weeks ago, you can press Quick Check and the provider will get a notification, they can then say either yes this is on, or no it is not. That will also update it on the verified section, so anyone else looking at it can see that it was verified on that day.
What we do at Happity, is trying work out how our platform can work best for the parents and the providers, and we find little things like Quick Check, that a ‘non parent might not think of, we just want to make sure that if someone finds something on our platform, it will be happening. Our key overarching aim is to end loneliness for new parents, because we want to reduce mental health issues, because of my experience.
How have things changed or evolved for Happity over the last 18 months?
It’s changed a lot, as I said just as COVID hit we were just about to launch our iOS app, and we were just about to go to a new city at that point. Everything went out of the window! It has been a crazy rollercoaster, there has been highs and there have been lows.
The advantages are, that we went UK wide practically overnight, because people go to online classes wherever they were.
We also did a lot of work with the Goverment. I spoke at the House of Commons petition committee both 2 weeks ago, and a year ago and was actually nominated as petition campaigner of the year up with Marcus Rashford! Though we didn’t win, but it was nice to be nominated!
We have also been growing our team. We were four before the pandemic and now as we come out the other side we are able to grown – we’re at 10 with the help of the Kickstarter scheme. Overall, it has been positive for us as our recognition across the UK has grown, however it is it has definitely been tough, as we had pretty much no revenue for the best part of a year.
How would you like to see Happity grow over the next few years?
The next few years are going to be really exciting ones! We are used by many parents in London and surrounding areas, so now we’re focusing on Birmingham, and then we will focus on other cities. We get so many mums messaging those saying they would like happy in their area because it is just so useful to know what is on, and finally now we can grow to help them!
Are you currently looking for funding?
We are! We are just about to start raising funds and if anybody would want our one-pager, that was ready last night! Currently, we are looking for Angel Investors to fund what we’re doing, as that will enable us to get our technology even better, enable us to go to different cities fast and get the coverage faster, and help more parents and providers quicker.
We have got a business model that works, and we have got market fit. We now want to accelerate our growth and make sure that all parents get the help that they need.
If people want to invest funding, they just need to email [email protected] directly.
If they are providers wanting to list for free, or take out membership, or parents looking for classes, the best thing is to visit our website happity.co.uk
Parents can also sign up to our newsletter on the website which means that if we’re not in their area hugely at the moment, they can sign up for notifications for when we will be able to help. If they find a class provider that they like the look of, but is booked up which a lot are at the moment, they can follow them, and when that class provider comes up with a new class, they will be emailed.
If someone is at the beginning of their start-up journey, what advice would you have for them?
Do it! But if they want to go to ‘app market’ do that with caution. It’s incredibly expensive , so unless you absolutely need an app, don’t do an app! Also, have a good plan, workout where you want to get to, what you want to do and get great people around you. I loved doing MummyLinks, it was brilliant, but I love Happity even more with the (albeit small!) team.
I often say this, that we (Sara and I) fit together so well. We have very similar backgrounds, and while we come from similar places, we think different. Sara is very technology minded, and detail oriented, whereas I am ‘big picture’ and ideas, and I like to do things fast! Finding someone you can work well with is key, doing it on your own is fine but it’s very hard. You don’t have someone to chat to and bounce ideas off, find someone you can gel with.
In terms of building your team, how have you approached recruitment in terms of ensuring there is a fit with the rest of the people who work in Happity?
We are only at the beginning of our journey with that, the CTO is someone Sara knew previously so that was great. In terms of other people, what we’ve actually found to work with really well is advertising to our Happity parents.
At Happity, we are also a very flexible employer that people like, we’re mostly all parents so we can work flexibly. We use technology to make sure that we know when everyone is working, but we know that some people might work in the morning and some people might work in the evening.
We haven’t used any official recruitment lines yet because we haven’t needed to, but we are getting to the point where we need someone to manage that because we are so busy, and it is a full-time job recruiting, I’m finding!
What’s the best advice anyone has ever given you?
When I was working at Innocent, they had an image on the wall which was the silhouette of a face looking sideways, and had all these speech bubbles around it, that just said no no no no! It was like everyone was saying no to your idea, but then it had a really big speech bubble inside the head as the thought, that just said yes. I think for me, that has just been something that I have always remembered.
I’m the kind of person, apart from when I had post-natal depression which showed me how ill I was, that has always been a ‘yes person’. I believe that as long as you’ve got the passion, and you are hardworking and you just keep driving at it, you can do anything! If you think it can work, just keep going at it. That’s the thing with Happity; I know had I have had access to something like this, it would have helped me so much. Even on the hard days I know that this is the right thing to be doing, I absolute love it and I wouldn’t give it up for the world!
How can Menlo Park help your company?
If you are looking to recruit to your company, we can help you. We can help you with the whole process to help you to source the top talent. We understand how important it is to find the right people for your company, and we will work with you to find you the ideal match.
Contact us today to see how we can help you, and begin our journey to finding you, your next team member.
Call us on 0113 468 9230 or email us at [email protected]
We look forward to speaking to you!
See what Happify Health have said about us!
We recently worked with Happify Health, see what they had to say about ur services here!