Presidio Heights resident Su-zanne Felson wants to change the way parents book activities for their kids. Last month, the entrepreneur-ial mother of three launched Reso, a startup that aims to make booking quality classes and camps for kids as easy as Uber.
“I needed this app a long time ago, but the landscape wasn’t ready for it,” Felson said. Apps like Uber, Instacart and Airbnb have changed San Franciscan’s habits and ex-pectations around hailing a cab, shopping for groceries and booking a place to stay. In the process, these matchmaker apps have forged the web technologies on which Reso relies.
Before Instacart, an app that connects customers with personal shoppers, buying groceries was a scramble for Felson. Now, with a few smartphone swipes, she gets provisions delivered to her door in under an hour. Reso promises to make managing her kids’ busy after-school schedules as convenient.
The South-of-Market-based startup, which employs seven people, grew out of Felson’s interests in education and technology as much as her frustrations with the current way of booking her kids’ activities: waiting on hold, mailing in checks. “I think most moms would say, ‘God, I really needed this,’” Felson said.
The website also promises to ease providers’ administrative bur-dens. “Inventory management is dry work,” Felson said. “Back office stuff is not the reason they went into this business. They want to spend their time and energy providing for kids.” Along with bookkeeping help, Reso partners get publicity and potential online bookings around the clock.
Reso has partnered with a select group of providers. Little Artistas, founded by Colombian-born Anna Calonje, offers art instruction with an emphasis on the creative process—not just paint-by-numbers—and a commitment to multicultural-ism. Bayleaf Kitchen provides kid-friendly cooking classes that teach sustainable practices, using only organic and locally-sourced ingre-dients. Bricks 4 Kidz introduces children to engineering concepts through LEGO. Potrero Hill-based Recess Urban Recreation invites parents to stretch alongside their children on the yoga mat. And in Dogpatch My Gym Children’s Fitness Center facilitates structured play for budding gym rats.
“We’re only approaching a few merchants that we think are tops in their industries,” said Vivek Wagle, Reso’s marketing director. Wagle previously helmed Airbnb’s branding and content strategy team. He com-pared Reso’s approach to Caviar, a fine dining delivery app. By contrast, listings sites like Kidapillar offer a buffet-like assortment of activities and events.
In keeping with this curated approach, Reso’s website feels clean and uncluttered. Pricing is read-ily available, along with profiles of providers, sparing users the need to navigate away from the site. And the website is clearly optimized for mobile devices. Users scan a credit card once and the information is stored, without ever having to manu-ally enter the digits. Reso adds a $2 convenience charge to each booking.
Reso’s target market overlaps with Red Tricycle, an events-driven online magazine which also lists classes and camps for kids. But where Red Tricycle makes an explicit appeal to a certain urban parenting lifestyle—it reads like Lonely Planet for yoga moms and hipster dads—Reso is a more straightforward matchmaking service, connecting wired, well-heeled moms with pro-viders who offer more than just a place to park the kids for a few hours.