Pi-Fi, LLC

Week 9

Lessons Learned

twitter: @getpifi

e-mail: hi@pi-fi.co

10 weeks ago

Learn & Earn: Kid's Worst Nightmare

Kids must solve math problems to earn time on the Internet. Parents easily can control when, and for how long, their kids use the Internet across all their kids' devices. π-Fi is a education-focused, parental control platform.


Startup Weekend ABQ 2014, 2nd place

Samat Jain

Developer • Computer Science, Informatics

Jose Trigueros

Developer • Computer Science

Morgan R. Nelson

Business, Branding, and Communications • Marketing and Operations

What we've done

  • Face-to-face interviews with over 60 customers
  • 10+ phone interviews and surveys
  • Met at least a dozen times with mentors and instructors
  • Tested ideas w/ advertising experiments
  • Prototypes for parent on-boarding (i.e. 5 min setup), child experience

What we found out (and learned!)

Hardware sucks

Or rather, embedded hardware sucks

  • Creating completely custom hardware is too expensive, and unnecessary
  • But using commodity hardware may not be sane either
  • Bugs and gotchas galore

Emotional topics

  • Every parent has their own techniques for parenting. Parents love to talk about what they think other parents should do
  • Hardware (and certain key words used when pitching ideas) either make people embrace, or turn people off

Solve the problem completely

  • Access control problem needs to be solved outside the home
  • Say "parental control", and people instantly think content filtering. Parents are worried about what their children see online.

Kids these days!

  • 6.5 hours of screen time a day, consistently underreported
  • Get devices (both cellular connected and non-cellular connected) much earlier
  • Kids don't like being interrupted


  • Web filtering must be part of the product
  • "Activities" instead of just math problems. Possibly offline!
  • Cooperation with the child, instead of exerting absolute control

What we learned

  • Embrace the process. We need to test more, talk to MORE customers!
  • Viable business? Possibly


  • Customer acquisition rates
  • Customer acquisition costs
  • Customer lifetime value
  • Licensing fees for content
  • Human resources