October 2020 issue of In Business Magazine

Page 19

BY RAEANNE MARSH

ENTREPRENEURS & INNOVATORS

Ninja Focus Platform Aims Mindfulness Benefits to Kids Founded in Spring 2019, Ninja Focus is a mindfulness SaaS platform designed for kids age 3–12 to improve sleep, enhance focus, regulate emotions and encourage positive behavior. Our mission is to have kids around the world be mindful and become more compassionate at an early age. We want to provide a tool for parents in helping their kids self-regulate emotions and drive positive behavior. The Ninja Focus platform promotes healthy screen time using audio content designed by development experts, behavioral pediatricians, parents and mindfulness experts. To bootstrap the SaaS platform development, we leveraged Gate6 (a leading digital software technology company led by my brother, Manish Mamnani, for more than 20 years) mobile and user experience engineering resources. Our head of engineering, Sushil Pandey, has played a pivotal role in building a scalable, customizable cloud platform providing flexibility to roll out features and fixes within days. Because Ninja Focus is centered around mindfulness content for kids, it was imperative to have a lead domain expert who has worked with kids in the area of mindfulness. We brought in our other co-founder (Kamala Alcantara) to compose organic content, including bedtime stories, binaural music for deep sleep, mindful eating, positive affirmations and pep talks to drive positive behaviors for kids. Alcantara has an amazing voice and storytelling experience that resonates with kids. We have spent the past 12 months building the platform foundation. Finding the product-market fit continues to be a key challenge and we are spending a lot of time with parents in focus groups to refine the problems we are solving and build a product that would keep kids engaged on the platform on a

regular basis. To drive adoption with users, we are providing free content to parents. The most valuable advice I have received is that one must test hypotheses on the problems being solved at an early stage with real end-users before investing a lot in building a solution. Our team applied this principle early during the development phase and we elicited end-user feedback with an agile and iterative product development model. However, it’s an ongoing challenge and we have to keep listening and engaging with end-users, especially as we scale up and add a diverse set of users from different regions, cultural backgrounds and countries. —Praveen Mamnani, CEO of Ninja Focus (www.ninjafocus.com)

Online Dealty, Inc. Benefits Homebuyers, Sellers and Agents

Photo courtesy of Ninja Focus

Designed to benefit sellers, buyers, iBuyers and home builders as well as real estate agents, Dealty is a marketplace application disrupting and reshaping the real estate industry with a transparent open architecture platform posting homes for sale from all sources and providing all the tools and services needed to go from listed to closed. Founded in 2018, Dealty provides virtual tours, an online offer system, electronic contracts and electronic earnest deposits, to Title/Escrow and SOLD! “Sellers are often frustrated with the limited options they have to sell their homes, feeling obligated to use an agent and give up 6% of their home’s sales price, which translates to a lot or all of the equity. And agents were equally as frustrated with third-party sites selling their listing leads to other agents,” explain co-founders Renee Tulliani, CEO, and Gary Stringer, CRO, who believe the standard commission structure has

resulted in everyone in the process being taken advantage of. Tulliani and Stringer note the biggest challenge in starting and growing Dealty has been getting real estate agents to understand that, “unlike other sites that appear to be similar,” it is not a threat. “Our ongoing challenge is earning everyone’s trust. With Zillow selling expensive advertising to agents with little results for the agents, agents are weary of online sites. Buyers list on Zillow to only be bombarded by sales calls and solicitations until they give in to listing with an agent or selling their property to Zillow Offers, Zillow’s in-house ibuying division.” And for real estate agents and homebuilders, Dealty provides direct leads to them and a platform where they can sell their listing direct to the buyer with no middleman to intercept their leads. —RaeAnne Marsh Dealty, Inc. yourdealty.com

“Everyone knows 90% of buyers search for homes on their own online,” say Renee Tulliani and Gary Stringer, co-founders of Dealty, who designed the online marketplace application to benefit sellers and buyers as well as real estate agents.

MINDFULNESS INSPIRED – THE STORY BEHIND NINJA FOCUS My brother Manish Mamnani (founder and chairman of Ninja Focus) and I grew up in India where we were surrounded by Eastern philosophies and rituals at home for meditation during prayers. I have been practicing meditation and mindfulness for the past 10-plus years. However, meditation is not only difficult but very frustrating for most people. As we become adults, we find that our brains are pre-wired with repeated habits and it’s extremely hard to calm your mind and self-regulate emotions. Over the years, my brother and I discussed the possibilities of introducing mindfulness education in schools — similar to physical education. It was an audacious goal that would have required working at the state and county level to pilot and test the idea. Besides, directly engaging with schools is a high-touch sales engagement model requiring major investments. Given our backgrounds in business and technology, we decided instead to build a platform for kids. After conducting primary market research and competitive analysis, it was apparent that existing products in the mindfulness space were built for adults with a focus on sleep and meditation. We believe the mindfulness and meditation space is still in its early days, with tremendous opportunity to raise awareness with parents and drive growth globally. —Praveen Mamnani, CEO of Ninja Focus

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