By GREGORY ZELLER //
A simple app launched to help separated co-parents manage shifting childcare schedules has ignited its second-stage boosters – and a new partnership with a leading online portfolio company could blast it into the divorced-parents stratosphere.
Hauppauge-based Aeonic Ventures – producer of the SmartCoparent app, an all-in-one digital platform designed to simplify the often-chaotic lives of separated co-parents – has announced a new collaboration with California-based Internet Brands Inc., a portfolio company managed by New York City-based global investment firm KKR & Co.
Aeonic Ventures, founded by CEO Gregory Wagner, first claimed fame with the Moiety app, a digital tool designed to help co-parents and other caregivers keep up with piano lessons, soccer practices and other everyday scheduling requirements.
Moiety was a social media hit before it even launched, but Wagner always intended to grow the scheduling app beyond its calendar confines. He envisioned bells and whistles focused on budgeting, legal wrangling and other co-parenting realities, and to that end, Moiety has since been replaced by SmartCoparent – actually, “retired and fully integrated” into the more-rounded digital tool, according to the entrepreneur.
Now, the upgraded app is adding a powerful slate of law-related offerings, a vertical Wagner has long considered the holy grail of divorced-parent programming.
SmartCoparent is now linking its users directly to products and services offered through Internet Brands, which owns a major-league assortment of national brands including online legal marketplace Avvo, do-it-yourself legal software maker Nolo and leading law directory Lawyers.com.
“They basically cover 95 percent of all attorneys in the United States,” Wagner told Innovate LI. “We’re going to provide our clients with direct access to many of those select products and services.”
Incorporating and outsourcing such “high-touch services” as instant attorney access and a host of DIY legal tools – preparing your own will, for instance – has been an ongoing process that Wagner traces back to the 2018 Institute for Divorce Financial Analysts Conference, held this spring in Colorado.
It was there he first met Internet Brands representatives and quickly formed a “quite mutual” partnership, the entrepreneur noted – though “it has taken some time to develop exactly what we could do together.”
“We had to narrow down the product offerings, because they have such a wide breadth of products and services,” Wagner said. “We’re still working on honing down the products that fit our client profiles and integrating them into the app.”
The first fruit of that labor – a tool that connects users with lawyer and schedules free assessments – is already up and running. Coming soon are functions that tap into other Internet Brands offerings, including more legalese selections and access to the portfolio company’s vast menu of credit-repair services, a well as its national CarsDirect brand.
“Obviously, when parents get divorced, they end up with half of the money, or less, than they started with,” Wagner noted. “And a lot of stay-home moms have little or no credit history, but they still need to purchase a vehicle without the traditional credit history that’s usually expected.
“Internet Brands has tools that can help with that.”
SmartCoparent’s announcement marks the second Long Island-based company to publicize a partnership with Internet Brands in recent months. In April, Melville-based Henry Schein Inc., a leading global provider of healthcare products and services, announced the formation of Henry Schein One, a joint venture with Internet Brands focused on the delivery of new dental technologies to practice groups around the world.
While Henry Schein is, arguably, the bigger fish in that particular collaboration, Wagner is thrilled to associate his burgeoning startup with an established partner that can quickly facilitate the kind of deep dive into divorce that he always envisioned.
He now predicts a “continuous roll-out” of new services in cahoots with Internet Brands, which boasts more than 250 million monthly page views across its impressive online portfolio.
“We’re in a constant development phase,” Wagner said.
The CEO also credited the hard work of his new Strategic Advisory Board, which includes Vanessa Fernandes, chief technology officer for emerging technologies in the United States for large Latin American bank Itaú Unibanco, and attorney Dave Mejias, a former Nassau County legislator and managing partner of Glen Cove divorce-law firm Mejias Milgrim & Alvarado.
Mejias is “connecting us with the courts on Long Island and across New York” – another big score for SmartCoparent users, Wagner noted, and a big reason why “we’re in a real scale-up phase.”
That upscaling includes a slate of new hires: Citing more than 1,000 new calendar entries per day by users (more than 50,000 overall) and a 1,000 percent increase in the overall number of users in SmartCoparent’s first four months, Wagner said his startup is “growing faster than we anticipated” – and is in the market for some extra hands.
“We’re looking to hire a deep-learning engineer, a production engineer and a CTO,” the chief executive said. “We definitely need to get some staff in here to help support the platform.
“That’s good,” Wagner added. “And a little scary.”