Kieran and Alice are the husband and wife co-founders of MySunshine. Kieran looks after the technology while Alice is on the product design side. They started MySunshine after their son, Leo, was born and they wanted a secure way to share his journey with their loved ones.
What inspired you to start MySunshine?
Kieran: We started MySunshine after the birth of our first child, Leo. He’s about to turn 3! We wanted a way to be able to keep our wider family connected so for example, my parents live in the North of England and they spend quite a bit of time abroad too. So, it’s finding a way that all these important people in Leo’s life can stay up to date with what he’s doing and all those milestones he’s reaching along the way.
Alice: All those family members use different apps. When we wanted to share photos before MySunshine we had to use several different apps to be able to include the whole family. My mum doesn’t have a smartphone, she just uses the internet.
Kieran: Even within one app, for example Whatsapp, we were constantly having to send the same message to multiple different people and groups. It was really complicated to even try to securely send pictures and photos – as parents we’re quite conscious of privacy too. Like Alice said, it’s not just about everyone having an iPhone – we want people to be able to use MySunshine on the platform that works for them, and to make it accessible to everyone. It’s not just for one particular device or social media account.
When did you start the app?
Kieran: MySunshine really started as a hobby after Leo was born. He was born on the 7th of November. A few weeks later, I came up with a demo site where we could just upload some photos and look back on his first few weeks. After getting amazing feedback from our friends and the NCT group we went to, we decided to make this into a mobile app. The app was developed over the next 6 months and we formally launched MySunshine when Leo turned 2.
How did you come up with the name ‘MySunshine’?
Kieran: My mum always sang ‘you are my sunshine’ to me growing up so we started singing it to Leo as part of his bedtime routine.
Alice: When creating the app we chose MySunshine since it is a term of endearment that resonates with other parents while still being personal to us as a family.
Who is MySunshine aimed at?
Kieran: MySunshine is for anyone with young children, people who are expecting a child and first time parents who are looking for something simple to create, store and share memories with their loved ones. A lot of new parents are trying to figure out the most straightforward and secure way to do this and MySunshine is a great solution.
Alice: It’s not just aimed at families that are geographically dispersed; it is perfect for families that live near each other because you won’t necessarily be there for every milestone. For example, parents might not be there when their child takes their first steps but that memory can still be shared with them on MySunshine
Kieran: It’s great for family holidays too – your friends and family see them try new things and go to new places! However close you live to one another it’s always great to have a way to capture those first moments and milestones as they grow up.
Alice: COVID-19 has caused families to spend an unprecedented amount of time away from each other and MySunshine is a way to build that bonding and connection with that child – especially grandparents who might not have even been able to meet their new grandchild due to COVID restrictions.
How do you benefit from using MySunshine?
Alice: Keeping the family up to date – Leo had his birthday party on the weekend and although not everybody was there, they could all see his dinosaur balloons, his cake, and all the presents that he got. Also, the sheer amount of content created around one child – from friends, families, nursery and each of us is now kept in one place. That’s why we’re going to add reports as a new feature – so you’ll be able to add reports from nursery and school!
Kieran: It’s lovely to see everyone’s comments and interactions with the posts. It’s also a great way for our family to get reminders that his birthday is coming up. For us, it’s amazing being able to look back at memories from a year, or two years ago and see the difference in what he looked like and what he’s been able to achieve in that time.
What’s coming next for MySunshine?
Alice: Lot’s of things! We will be adding photo books and prints as an offering in the app. Leo’s great granny doesn’t have a computer so we’d like to be able to send her a postcard every month of what Leo has been up to. We think this would be a really useful feature for families that would like to do something similar.
Kieran: Got a long list of things to do to keep making the app even better and help parents and their loved ones stay connected. We have also had a lot of people signing up from countries outside of the UK so we’d love to get the app translated so that it’s accessible to more people. We’ll be making that happen in 2022 – stay tuned!
What are your values as a company?
Alice: An important motivation behind MySunshine is the security and privacy of our app and website. Your privacy is incredibly important to us, that’s why all of the information you store with us is encrypted both in transit and in our database.
Kieran: We are also aware that you may not want to share your uploaded content with just anyone so we’ve given users full control over who can access your child’s timeline and exactly what they can do.
Alice: Another one of our core values is valuing and respecting the environment. We use co-working spaces as they are more environmentally friendly than running an office.
Kieran: We also consider how we can operate our business in a sustainable way – even the servers we’re using, Amazon web servers, are looking to become carbon neutral within the next few years. We will continue to review operations and make every effort to remain environmentally friendly. This includes the print partners we will be working with; we are paying attention to where they operate and how sustainable their materials are. Of course, we are also really focused on helping new parents and families keep their family connected and updated in a way that works for them.
I did computer information systems at the University of Bath. While I was there I did a work placement in the technology division of an investment bank which is where I met Kieran. After university I returned to the investment bank in the technology division as a junior project manager. I have been in project management ever since, working in various different industries including law, insurance and finance firms. We then started MySunshine after Leo was born! I enjoy running (when I get the time!) and baking and cooking, especially with Leo.
I have a degree in computer science with a masters in finance and I was in the RAF reserves while at university. I initially went into work for investment banks in London but decided that banking wasn’t for me. I then got straight out to work at a tech company; tech has always been my passion and I love problem solving and building things. I have learnt a lot over the years about running my own business and met loads of great people that have supported me with MySunshine. I do love computer games but don’t have much of a chance to play them!