Helping others build better habits
Entrepreneurs are everywhere in our communities. They come from different walks of life, generations, communities, ethnicities, and industries. They are the dreamers, the makers, and the most resilient. In 2020, we witnessed the entrepreneurs in our community continue to build, disrupt, and persevere every day. Last year was a test for many, but for our Ascender entrepreneurs, it was a new challenge to tackle. What does innovation look like in times of crisis? For our 2020–2021 Ascender Incubatees, it looks like this.
The Problem: LittleMoochi surveyed 120 parents and more than 90% shared that their children are picky eaters. Most of the time, children want to choose sugary foods over greens and vegetables. On a broader issue, Obesity now affects 1 in 5 children and adolescents in the United States. While childhood obesity is a complex issue, excess consumption of high calorie and low nutrient foods and beverages can be a factor that contributes to childhood obesity. Learning to eat healthy at a young age can help people develop healthy eating habits that will benefit them in the long term.
The Solution: LittleMoochi is an app that helps children develop healthy eating habits by “raising” an AI-powered digital pet. A child adopts a Moochi pet and ‘feeds’ it by simply snapping a photo of what the child eats. Moochi’s growth and interaction with the child, in turn, motivate the child to learn about healthy foods and develop positive eating habits.
Updates from LittleMoochi:
- More parents and children at home have a new digital pet. LittleMoochi saw a 15% user activity increase over the past few months and its users have tripled since March 2020. LittleMoochi now has 2,000+ users as more families eat at home during the pandemic.
- The local community is noticing LittleMoochi’s vision. The company participated in several local innovation competitions. LittleMoochi was a finalist in the TiE Pittsburgh Annual Startup Showcase and came in third at the Liftoff PGH Ideathon competition where it won a $10,000 cash prize. Over the past few months, the company has also been featured in local news such as the Pittsburgh Business Times, Carnegie Mellon’s magazine, and Times of Entrepreneurship.
Interested in encouraging your little ones to raise a digital Moochi pet? Learn more and download LittleMoochi here.
The Problem: Lack of knowledge and strategies of how to manage personal finances is a major significant issue that affects many. In 2019, 59% of adults in the U.S. admitted to living paycheck to paycheck, 38% of U.S. households have credit card debt, and one-quarter of non-retired Americans say they have no retirement savings. Even though there is a great need for financial literacy and planning, 99% of Americans don’t use financial advisors, even though research shows it will help address many of these issues.
The Solution: With MoneyStack, users don’t need to be millionaires to have a financial advisor. MoneyStack’s app allows users to build their own answers to financial questions. The app combines the best of /r/personalfinance and Weight Watchers to help users achieve their financial goals with support from their group. In addition, the platform also connects users with a vetted financial professional for a second opinion with the simple tap of a button.
Updates from MoneyStack:
- Testing, learning, and iterating from the MoneyStack Chatbot. MoneyStack released its financial chatbot beta product on Facebook Messenger in early October 2020. In three simple steps, users could interact with the bot by asking their own financial questions, build their own answers, and quickly gain budget examples and recommendations automated by the chatbot. From October to December 2020, the company saw hundreds utilizing the app.
- Gaining feedback to build a product that people love. While MoneyStack tested different types of financial questions and identified the needs people had via the chatbot, the company also focused on gaining as much feedback as possible to inform the design of future iterations. During the beta test, 177 users were surveyed.
Interact with MoneyStack’s financial chatbot and get your financial questions answered here.
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