About 50 percent of marriages fall apart, which can often lead to communication issues. The startup, lead by sisters Florence and Pascale Petit-Gagnon, offers families a joint platform to plan everything around when each parent has the child. Schedules can be exported to Outlook, iCal and Google Calendar while expenses pertaining to children can be shared. Along with parents, children can even log on and enter their activities into calendars.
Florence Petit-Gagnon told Techvibes that she saw first hand the communication problems that can arise among separated families.
“I’m very aware of the situation where the parents don’t want to talk and they use the child to facilitate communication,” she said. “Chatting with my friends, there are so many kids that are stuck in the same position. I was sort of amazed that nothing was out there, so that’s what motivated us to create a tool that would help all those people.”
Typically families have relied on the fridge magnet schedule, but in the current age of on-the-go mobile planning it can be difficult. The Montreal entrepreneur said at times it can be like “solving a puzzle,” trying to accommodate different schedules. “Planiclik schedules all that so you can have access to that schedule wherever you are,” said Petit-Gagnon.
Petit-Gagnon’s mother, Lyne Petit, is a third cofounder who created an agenda for children of separated families to carry back-and-forth. Customers told her the tool was great, but when ex-spouses forgot to return the agenda they couldn’t access the information.
“My older sister was working in management and we both saw the opportunity of taking that product and bringing it to the web and mobile, for real-time information,” said Petit-Gagnon.
Launched in March 2012, Planiclik runs on a freemium model, currently serving over 4000 users. Full functionality costs $8.49 per month.
One of Planiclik’s users is Martin Guy, who doesn’t actually fall under an “ex” category. He said family communication improved after using Planiclik. “We’re now able to know in real time if something is already planned for a specific day without placing a call.”
Anges Quebec’s Caroline Pelletier feels the team at Planiclik possesses “a lot of great qualities.” Anges Quebec is a network of angel investors that has facilitated funding for fellow Montreal startups Frank & Oak and Bonlook.
According to Pelletier one challenge will be trying to convert freemium users to paid monthly subscribers. There’s been “generally a big progression in terms of getting users on.”
The main challenge might be engaging both ex-spouses in actively using Planiclik. Generally, but not always, women seem to be the better organizers. “If it’s only the woman of the family using it but her ex-spouse is not looking at it then the usage will drop off, the message won’t get across and it wont do what its supposed to accomplish,” said Pelletier. “So I think that’s a challenge as well, getting all the members on board so that is shows the benefits its meant to show.”
Despite this the Anges Quebec collaborator believes Planiclik is headed in the right direction.
“Time management in this day in age even for families that are still together is a big need. People need tools to organize their schedule so there is quite a lot of coordination that needs to be done,” she said. “I feel like they’re addressing a real problem.”