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Mush- Founding Team of the Year

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Company: Mush, London, United Kingdom
Company Description: Mush is the #1 app for mums, helping mums everywhere to instantly become part of their local mum community. Mush makes being a mum more brilliant. It was created by Sarah & Katie who bonded over the nightmare of “two under two” and who wanted an easy and fun way to find local mum friends.
Nomination Category: Entrepreneur Categories
Nomination Sub Category: Founding Team of the Year - Consumer Services Industries

Nomination Title: Sarah Hesz and Katie Massie-Taylor, Founders

Tell the story about what this nominated founding team has achieved since January 1 2017 (up to 650 words). Describe the impact the team has had on your organization during that time. Focus on specific accomplishments, and relate these accomplishments to past performance or industry norms.

In 2014, Sarah Hesz and Katie Massie-Taylor, both with two small children, struck up a conversation in a London playground. After keeping each other sane and happy in the months that followed, they realized that all mums should have access to a free and fun way to make friends nearby. Their idea for the Mush app was born.

ChannelMum.com, a parenting site, reported last year that more than 90%of mothers in the UK admitted to feeling lonely, including the Duchess of Cambridge. Loneliness is, as Katie found, a hallmark of motherhood. “When I first described this idea to my mum, she said ‘All mums are lonely; it’s a rite of passage.’ “. “Women find it really difficult to go from being a busy person in demand, with other adults, to being at home all day with something that doesn’t give back to you.”

Katie and Sarah founded Mush with zero tech or fundraising experience. As an ex derivatives broker and advertising exec, they had no idea where to start to raise funds or build an app. They drew on contacts and their experience to find funding and a tech team.

They pitched to several early stage investors and an initial £250,000 investment was finalised in November 2015, exactly a year after they had their initial encounter.

The first version of Mush was released in the app store in April 2016. It immediately “broke”. “It was so terribly put together. Within four months 30,000 people were using Mush. As user numbers rose, the founders realised that “we were pushing to the edges of our knowledge on everything” and raised £1 million on Crowdcube, the crowdfunding website, to hire a team to help them. Mush also graduated from Facebook’s 12-week LDN_LAB incubator, based in the social network’s London offices.

Their Tinder-style app helps users to find other mothers living nearby and also indicates the age of their children. The app uses GPS and shared interests to link people with possible friends. When searching for friends, users can see their photos, as well as their children’s ages and their interests (top three tags: wine lover; caffeine lover; sweary).

Mush hopes to “usurp” more established social networks such as Facebook by becoming a platform where women can “unashamedly be a mum and geek out about mum life, without it being visible to all of their colleagues and university friends”.

Since launching in 2016, Mush has evolved from a basic ‘dating app’ to a fully-fledged support and advice network for mums. Mush has already been used by 300,000 mothers across the UK and Australia and is responsible for hundreds of thousands of friendships. “Our platform has the power to help address taboo topics like loneliness, post-natal depression and low self-esteem that is felt by hundreds of thousands of women across the UK” , Ms Massie-Taylor said.

From the beginning, they have shunned advertisers’ money in order to create a better experience for users. They are planning a revenue generating “premium” subscription service providing additional features for mothers by the end of 2018. The core Mush offer will remain free to its 300,000 users.

“The UK is where we’re going to hone Mush and make it awesome and then we’ll get some capital to go bigger.” In January 2018, Mush secured £2m in funding from Octopus Ventures to boost growth and invest in app development. The founders have pans to grow internationally.

Also this year, The National Childbirth Trust, Britain’s largest charity for parents, partnered with Mush, its first connection with an external technology organization, in order to foster friendships between parents. And the founders are working to persuade midwives to use Mush as a toolkit to help new mothers feel less isolated.

Sarah and Katie’s goal for Mush is to become the niche social networking tool for mums, with established communities around the world.

In bullet-list form, briefly summarize up to ten (10) of the chief accomplishments of this nominated entrepreneur since the beginning of 2017.

-In 2014, Sarah Hesz and Katie Massie-Taylor, struck up a conversation in a London playground.and realized that all mums should have access to a free and fun way to make friends nearby.
-Katie and Sarah founded Mush with zero tech or fundraising experience.
-An initial £250,000 investment was finalised in November 2015, exactly a year after they had their initial encounter.
-Mush has already been used by 300,000 mothers across the UK and Australia and is responsible for hundreds of thousands of friendships
-Their Tinder-style app helps users to find other mothers living nearby and also indicates the age of their children. The app uses GPS and shared interests to link people
-Sarah and Katie’s goal for Mush is to become the niche social networking tool for mums, with established communities around the world.