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(This interview originally appeared on Entrepreneur Mom on WorkitMom.com)
Maya Bisineer is the founder of Memetales – a revolutionary marketplace for children’s picture books. Memetales opened doors March 2010 and has been growing steadily in both community and content. The site helps writers and illustrators collaborate through an online collaboration space, and they recently launched their mobile storytelling app for kids for iPod, iPhone and iPad.
Previously, Maya worked as a software developer, architect and consultant in bigger corporations for a number of years.
Entrepreneur Mom: Why did you start your biz? What were your intentions from the start? (lifestyle, income, growing or go big or go home)
Maya Bisineer: The idea for the original Memetales came about early 2009. A bunch of us set up a collaboration space to create children’s stories and books.
That original idea grew into the Memetales product as it is today – a platform to share children’s stories.
In the beginning Memetales was simply that – a collaborative community. It evolved mainly because I saw a real need to help people share their creations with a wider audience. Creating good children’s stories are hard work and good stories need a platform to be shared.
Entrepreneur Mom: You were based at home for a while-how long? How long before you began working with a team?
Maya: Memetales beta was launched mid 2010. We were based at home. We had two members on the founding team and hired out some of the dev work. So, we were a team from Day 1.
Today we work in a team of five and have two interns.
Entrepreneur Mom: Then you moved into a space outside of your home?
Maya: I had an official office space for Memetales. It was shared by a few different companies and individuals who were a part of the winning team at StartupWeekend Redmond.
I pitched an idea at StartupWeekend Redmond and about 7 of us worked together to build DoodleADoodle – an ipad app to teach kids drawing in under 15 minutes a day. At the end of 48 hours, we won top place (out of 13 companies) and as a result won office space at Thinkspace (a co-working space).
We won a few different things and shared the goodies amongst the DoodleADoodle team and I was lucky enough to get office space that some of us share and I also use for the Memetales work.
Entrepreneur Mom: What is the best way to describe your business?
Memetales is like a curated YouTube for children’s stories.
Memetales consists of a mobile app and a web platform where kids can read stories and engage in a number ways around stories. Approved publishers can publish their books on Memetales will incredible ease.
Our mission is to continuously innovate at the intersection of great stories, passionate individuals (authors and artists) and creative children. Good stories/books will go away if we do not find ways to reinvent them in the most interesting, valuable and scalable ways.
Entrepreneur Mom: You recently moved to Silicon Valley from Seattle. How has relocating affected your business?
Moving is hard. Period. Moving with kids and family means lost work time for sure. The Silicon Valley is really great, however. I have already met several startup folk and made a lot of progress on the fundraising end. It really is the best place to be for a startup to be.
Entrepreneur Mom: You also recently presented at the VentureBeat event DEMO. How did that go?
Yes, thanks to the Kauffman Foundation, we got invited to pitch at DEMO on a scholarship.DEMO was a great experience. We got great press and met some amazing companies. Here is a recap on our blog with our video –
Entrepreneur Mom: As the techie mom of two little girls, what advice would you give to other moms about letting their children use mobile devices?
I strongly believe in moderation. Digital is yet another way to learn and interact with the world, it is not the only way. With that belief, we, as a family are very conscious of or device time. My kids certainly use my devices but not for more than 20 minutes at a time and mostly only on the weekends. My belief is that as long as device use is in moderation and does not come at the cost of outside activity/playtime or family time it is fine. The onus is on us as parents to handle that. It is not very different from the role that TV played in our early years.
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