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AZ Tech Beat | March 29, 2017

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Tucson Resident Develops A Social Network For Parents

Tucson Resident Develops A Social Network For Parents
Matt Haldane

While Facebook may try to be everything to everyone in the world of digital social networking, some people have found it and similar services to be lacking when it comes to networking that does not strictly involve connecting two individuals. Tucson resident Gerry Gutt and Silicon Valley entrepreneur Reza Raji are now addressing what they see has a social networking gap for families with a new iOS app called SocialParent.

“We are effectively the first social network that addresses the family as an atomic unit,” Raji said.

Gutt and Raji are both parents and noticed that current social networks do not help families connect with each other and don’t inspire a sense of security online when talking about their children and organizing events.

“People don’t want to use the other social networks to talk about intimate details about their kids and what they’re doing,” Gutt said.

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Gutt’s son is now grown, but he said he still has a sense of what tools would be useful to parents who currently have young children. Raji is one such parent and said he is a regular user of his app with more than 20 families in his social circle.

Though the company is based in Palo Alto, Calif.,  Gutt keeps some of the development in Tucson. Raji and Gutt met in the Bay area, where Gutt lived for 25 years.

“In 2005 I had enough of it [in California], and moved to Tucson to get away from the crowds,” Gutt said.

Gutt and Raji originally met at Echelon, a San Jose, Calif.-based energy control company, several years ago. They have since created a home monitoring company called iControl Networks, for which Gutt did most of his work from Arizona. The two are now collaborating again for SocialParent.

Family social circleWhile SocialParent is currently only available as an app for iOS, Gutt said it will eventually expand to include web and Android users. People not currently on the network have other options, though. Email interaction is built into the app, Raji said, so users can connect to families outside the social network.

If a family wishes to invite others to an event via email, SocialParent will keep track of the correspondence so everyone can participate. Raji juxtaposed this with Facebook, which requires users to be friends on the social network before inviting each other to events.

Raji and Gutt announced the app in early March at the LAUNCH Festival in San Francisco. Raji said SocialParent was one of 50 companies out of about 600 applicants selected to launch at the event.

The terms of the festival did not allow the founders to release a beta app prior to the event. As a result, version 1.0 was released in March and 1.1 was released this week for free in the Apple App Store.

www.socialparent.com