By Mark Ambrogi
Caitlin Coffman created a business out of her own frustration when her two daughters, now ages 8 and 9, were in day care.
“When you put a child in day care, you end up at the end of the day with a piece of paper,” said Coffman, who is expecting twins in March. “The paper maybe tells you something cute they did or said or what they ate. It was a piece of paper that either got stuck in the wheel well of my car or lost in a diaper bag.”
The long-time Carmel resident said it made it difficult to have a meaningful conversation with her children on the way home.
“When you ask a 4-, 5- or 6-year-old how their day was, you get things like ‘good,’ or ‘fine,’” Coffman said.
So she figured it was problem technology could solve and she created an app called tend.ly. For two years, the app and website tend.ly.com has been working with day care providers. The day cares can connect parents throughout the day with updates, photos and videos.
Tend.ly recently launched its 2.0 version with a pilot program, focusing on the senior living community to allow residents’ families to receive real-time updates of their parents or relatives’ activities and well-being.
“This can fit into the assisted living or nursing facility market,” Coffman said. “It can also fit in the special needs market. We’re focusing on making tend.ly a care relations management program. It’s for people who provided care for anyone from a child all the way through an adult. They can use our platform to help manage those relationships.”
Coffman said the nice thing about the platform is it allows the day care providers to control the information they put in based on what their specific needs are. It also allows the parents to control how they consume the information.
“Some parents want to know everything that happens the minute that it happens,” Coffman said. “They want to know when Susie had her diaper changed or when she ate. Some parents can get email at the end of the day and they’re fine. Our platform allows them to choose how they want to receive that information on what works for them as a parent.”
Coffman said all the needs will be on one platform.
“If you are logged in as a senior care provider, you will see different things than if you are logged in as a day care provider,” Coffman said. “We don’t want people in one space to look though or past features that mean nothing to them.”
Prior to starting the business, Coffman spent a lot of time in the software development area for universities, government and a private business.
Jonathan Garrison, who lives in McCordsville, is handing customer relations and management issues. Garrison had the same day care issues as he had two children, age 3 and 1 1/2.
“I thought this is perfect problem that software can easily solve,” Garrison said.
Coffman said about 40 providers are using the app for child care, mostly in Central Indiana.