Mumdoo: Platform for Industrious Mums Founded by CEMS Alumna Lucie Geroldová
Lucie Geroldová is CEMS VSE graduate. Now, with her friend and former colleague, she is launching the Mumdoo platform, which connects experts with several years of work experience in various fields that are currently at maternity leave, with companies that lack internal capacity and expertise for various specific short-term projects.
Could you tell us how the Mumdoo platform works?
Mumdoo is a project-based platform. We focus on short-term specific tasks for which companies do not have the internal capacity or expertise, which, on the other hand, the professionals who are currently at home with small children have and want to make use of. For example, the company will contact us that it needs a revision of its marketing strategy with a proposal for specific steps and, subsequently, assistance with execution. We will find the most suitable candidate in our database of mothers-experts, and if they agree on the content and scope of the project, they will start working on the project in a matter of days. The advantage for companies is that all mothers-experts in our database are proven professionals, have relevant experience and free capacity to start the project immediately. A great motivation for mothers is that they stay in touch with their field, develop and at the same time take a time off of all-day baby care and do something that will keep their minds sharp and busy.
What was behind the creation of Mumdoo?
The initial idea came, as usual, from our own acute need – Kristýna and I both have small children born in the summer of 2020, and when we looked around a few months after their birth and started searching for some flexible, interesting job where we could use our several years of experience and at the same time still devote our time during the day to children, we came up with nothing. We are both from a similar dough in the sense that we do not like unproductive time – although of course motherhood fills and entertains us on many levels, it was difficult for us to live with a new reality when suddenly instead of a day with a busy work-schedule and absolute freedom we only oriented our time and efforts into three- to four-hour intervals between feeding with no visible “work” behind us.
At the same time, we knew that we did not want to return to previous or part-time work, nor did we want to do uncreative back-office tasks, rewrite numbers from spreadsheets into presentations, or something similar often presented as “ideal” work for women on maternity leave. Even after an intensive search, we did not find an opportunity to make relevant and flexible use of our professional experience, and at the same time, we both felt that we urgently needed to somehow involve our heads, as they say. We have many young mothers around us who have dealt with a similar situation, so we thought we would try to build a tool, a platform that will make it possible.
What exactly is your role in this project?
We are currently both working on the project on a daily basis and our roles on paper and in reality are not very divided. Mutual substitutability is key for us – when one of us has our hands full and has some problems with the baby, the other can easily take over the baton and finish the task. The only difference in the roles is that I deal with administration towards already active experts and invoicing to clients, whereas Kristýna is fantastically human-oriented and solves a large part of the process of accepting new mothers into the database. We try to be systematic, we have a shared table for every apparent trifle, because what we don’t write, we will successfully forget by the evening. 😊
What stage is this project at now? Has any connection between the company and the expert mother already worked?
We had the first mini-projects in May for our FFF – friends, family and fools 😊 Since then, we have completed dozens of projects, mostly with small and medium-sized companies, which vary in scope and duration – from one-time translations or preparation of marketing materials to a three-month pre-Christmas online campaign or marketing strategy formulation for the upcoming years. This variability in terms of scope is possible due to the high diversity of experience that “our” mothers-experts have. We currently have almost 50 active certified professionals in our database who have undergone our screening, and a large number of them have already worked with us on a project. Together, we have been in contact with almost 150 candidates.
We believe that the market situation is favourable for the Mumdoo concept, companies are far more inclined to work from home due to the pandemic, moreover, combined with record unemployment, it does not make sense to not use the experience and free capacity of women with small children. We are still striving to actively expand the database of female experts who have at least three years of work experience, as the strength of this community is key to our growth next year.
What do you promise from this project?
We would like the world of women who are at home with young children to change and help them to develop their experiences in some way – that motherhood does not automatically mean a 180 ° turn and a life revolving around the baby. We wish there is an opportunity for mums to flexibly and on their own terms maintain contact with their field and continue to improve in it.
Feedback from both sides is still positive – the experts are excited that they can actively make use of their experience and be involved in some interesting projects. Companies that lack people across disciplines welcome the expertise that Mumdoo can bring to their company and gain not only dexterous hands and heads for the project but also a fresh perspective from the outside.
What is it like to launch such a platform? What was the most difficult thing for you?
Quite frankly, sometimes it’s a bit crazy. 😊 Several times we happened to have children on our laps in video calls with clients and we tried to keep them calm at all costs. We enjoy building and developing the community immensely, and we are very lucky to have understanding clients who tolerate all the pitfalls of working with mothers of young children, such as phone calls on a stroller walk or in the evening.
By far the most demanding was to think through all the processes of how to best grasp project assistance and to devise a reasonable system of brakes and balances so that we really only offer experienced experts to companies, and to mothers only the projects that match their specialization and capacity, and that everything is administratively well protected. Moreover, all this has to be transparent and as simple as possible for all parties involved.
Where are you looking for mothers-experts with relevant experience?
In the beginning, the source was our friends, former colleagues and classmates, whom we knew had several years of experience in various areas of marketing. Subsequently, we launched a Mumdoo profile on Instagram, LinkedIn and the web, and we spread these channels among our contacts. The Facebook group Girls from Marketing, where there are approximately thirty thousand market girls, was also a good “source” of experienced professionals. In this way, we are still continuing and trying to gradually expand the database of experts – both in terms of the number of professionals and in terms of expertise offered, and we are still actively looking for active mothers with several years of work experience.
What role do you have in graduating from the CEMS program? Did the knowledge gained during your studies help you in any way?
CEMS clearly influenced me in deciding whether to start my own project at all. On the one hand, in a way, it shaped my own approach to business and active search for opportunities, but mainly from the point of view of people I met during my studies in Prague and abroad. I called or wrote many of them at some point in defining the Mumdoo concept, asking for their opinion and feedback, what risks they saw, or asking for specific advice. My former classmates are motivated, successful and fearless, and seeing how many of them are successfully doing business, either on their own or as part of interesting startups, is a big driving force for me.
Why did you actually decide to study CEMS?
There were several reasons for me choosing CEMS – I studied bachelor at the Faculty of International Relations, International Studies – Diplomacy. I knew I would want to continue with an internationally oriented program, but I wanted to change the focus from the state sector and diplomacy to the private sector. I wanted to study something that would help me develop critical business thinking and the necessary skills for an (ideally) international career, where my studies would be dynamic and the prospects for my future career would not depend on ministerial tables and quotas. I had known about CEMS since high school, so I “thought” about the program for quite some time, I wanted to stay for a master’s degree in the Czech Republic, but also have the opportunity to spend a lot of time abroad and in an environment with foreign students.
What are your plans for Mumdoo in the future?
In the future, we would like to expand the range of services that “our” expert mothers will cover. We currently focus on various areas of marketing, from operations to strategic consulting. We currently offer clients help with copywriting, translations, graphics, social network management, paid online advertising, data analysis or strategic marketing and brand building. We can imagine that the offer of areas will expand as our database grows – so far it seems most likely in the direction of project management, event organization or specific consulting – be it tax, accounting, HR or legal.
And we also have less than a year to get into the Forbes ranking 30 under 30, so keep your fingers crossed. 😊