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In The Spotlight - My First Five Year

At Manchester Digital we like to interview our members to find out a bit more about what they do and their work in the Greater Manchester digital and technology sphere. This week we're speaking with Andrew West-Moore, Head of Product at Child Development App My First Five Years.

What does your organisation do?

At My First Five Years (aka MFFY), we’ve built a parenting app to support and inform user on how to develop their children from birth until they are 5 years old. Based on science, the app has over 1600 skills and connected activities that are written by educators (who are also parents) who want to enable parents to feel confident, empowered and supported through presenting the expert knowledge in a digestible way. Every child is unique, so no journey through the app is the same, but through play they help their children to reach their true potential.

What do you think is currently the biggest issue facing the digital and tech industry?

In the aftermath of Covid, the industry now has a wider worldwide opportunity to find talented individuals to join their organisation. This means that our LinkedIn networks are growing to wider, further afield connections which offer opportunities to join and grow working for business all over the World. All reports also suggest that generally in the UK, the shortage of developers is impacting the growth and stability of the industry. In previous organisations, I have supported in and want to within MFFY, the opportunity to support apprenticeships, employ boot camp graduates and also bolster that talent when it joins with active learning and development plans.

At MFFY, our team are North West centric so supporting the local tech industry by connecting and offering roles to work on our feel good product is our starting point, but it’s hard employer market. I know we’re not alone in trying to recruit talent digital team members, but as we grow and as the needs of digital and tech candidates evolve, our dynamic start-up culture is catering to the diversity of thought and skills that join us. We see this approach as a key selling point to potential applicants.

What is your organisation’s biggest achievement?

Since going live on the App Store in February 2022, we’ve already been able to gained over 3k parents registered on the app with no paid marketing. It has also been recognised by Apple having featured 3 times on the App Store homepage, mostly recently as “App of the Day”.

Our founders Jennie and Alistair, we’re successful in landing the only UK position on the worldwide YPO scheme supporting start-ups to grow through an amazing network of business leaders. They’ve also been awarded funding for a 2-year placement of a Data Engineer working in partnership with MMU to create a truly unique AI powered app journey for each child.

These are great signs of the strength and opportunity others seen in us. However, as a product the most important and our biggest achievement to date is seeing and hearing from the app users. The impact it is having on them and their children’s lives as our future generation is the biggest reward we could have ever hoped to achieve.

What would you consider to be your organisation’s biggest challenge?

As a start-up, it’s obviously important to identify our key revenue streams.

Whilst we have non-App revenue streams, we need to identify an initial route to revenue from the app; test and iterate it. There are many approaches but we’re keen to ensure that no parent/child misses out, so whatever model we bring in, we’ll also work with local authorities and charities to provide free accounts to those who need but can’t afford it.

What do you think the future looks like for Manchester’s digital and tech sector?

Manchester continues to grow and attract amazing tech organisations. I don’t see this stopping, but simply evolving based on the business, consumer and most importantly employee market. In a remote, in-person disconnected world, the power of organisations like Manchester Digital to bring us although in-person to share for the betterment of other is key.

Openness in the tech community allows us to learn as individuals, sustain and evolve our organisations and in turn shape the future of the sector in Manchester.

Tell us something we might not know about your company?

Whilst a tech start-up, 80% of the team are content writers from an education background. I’m the first digital/tech hire and they’ve have grown through an amazing start working with Apadmi as their tech consultant.

Jennie Johnson MBE had the eureka moment for the app whilst in her retirement. Also another thing that wasn’t known to me before I joined was that Alistair Bryce-Clegg, the other founder, is the leading authority in early years learning and has a celebrity-like status in the nursery industry as I witnessed at a recent event.

Thank you Andrew!

To find out more about My First Five Years, click here.

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