SANTA MONICA, Calif.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--MamaBear, the leading mobile application and digital resource for connecting and protecting families in the digital age, announced today that it has appointed veteran tech and media visionary Suzanne Horton as the company’s new President and Chief Executive Officer. MamaBear’s innovative mobile application provides a private family communication hub, allowing parents to more efficiently communicate, locate, organize and protect their children in an increasingly complex digital and social media age.
Ms. Horton brings deep experience in recognizing and capitalizing on leading-edge technology trends, a passion for empowering women and families, and tested leadership skills as the company seeks to accelerate its growth and brand recognition. MamaBear is quickly becoming recognized as a hot start-up to watch and was recently chosen from 600 startups that exhibited at Silicon Alley by TechCrunch as one of a handful given the honor to exhibit in TechCrunch's 2015 Startup Alley Highlights at this year's Crunchies Awards on February 5 in San Francisco.
“The family communication, organization and safety technology space is exploding with demand for a robust, all-in-one application like MamaBear to help parents and families have peace of mind in today’s busy and complex digital environment,” said Ms. Horton. “There is an incredible opportunity to build upon MamaBear’s innovative mobile application and create a time-saving tool that meets the rapidly growing need for a private digital resource to help parents stay informed and keep their children safe, organized, and more connected with their extended families. This is an important parenting tool, and with our coming innovations I’m confident that we’ll become the ‘must-have app for parents’.”
Ms. Horton’s insights are backed by some staggering facts. “More than 27 million kids have smartphones today in the U.S. alone, and the segment will grow 44% to more than 39 million in just two years, with the global segment also tracking expansive growth,” said Ms. Horton. “Combined with the fact that 72% of teens have a social networking profile, almost 25% of whom log in at least ten times a day, protecting children in the digital world is an increasingly complex task for parents, particularly when cyber predators use social media sites in 82% of cases to find a way to connect with children. With more than one million cybercrime and cyberbullying victims per day globally, part of MamaBear’s mission will be to help parents become more educated on how to safeguard their children.”
The developers of the MamaBear family communication and safety application are parents themselves. They also are proven digital leaders and seasoned technology entrepreneurs with a passion for fostering family unity, organization, safety and peace of mind parenting. The company has always followed their core values to protect children, honor families, encourage trust, save time, and respect privacy.
“We brought Suzanne aboard as our CEO because of her savvy and ability to raise venture capital, her experience in leadership, building a world-class team, forging strategic deals, and creating tech platforms as she has demonstrated at top-tier companies like American Express, Move.com and Jitterbug. Suzanne also possesses a deep passion for empowering women and families. She is a true MamaBear,” said Steve MacDonald, Co-founder and Chairman of the Board.
Ms. Horton’s Career Ascent
Ms. Horton first gained recognition for being a leader in forward-looking technology ventures as an early founder in the venture capital arm at American Express. There she devised the global strategy for executing and managing key digital media deals for a $32 million portfolio investing in firms such as Citysearch, Ticketmaster.com and Mapquest. She also managed the prioritization for the global implementation of $350 million in technology initiatives and was honored with the Chairman’s Award for Quality. Soon after, as General Manager of Homebuilder.com, America’s largest aggregator of new home listings at Move.com which served 250 million users annually, and one of just a few female chief executives in homebuilding, she spearheaded the new home industry in uniquely targeting female consumers, primarily moms. Ms. Horton then became an original member of Jitterbug, at the time a fledgling telecom startup, recognizing the burgeoning need for a new type of communication tool for the aging-adult market segment. Ms. Horton played a pivotal role in launching the boomer/senior cell phone that has become the undisputed leader in its space by striking a multi-million dollar revenue deal and creating an online marketing and ecommerce strategy that ultimately landed the startup firm its initial venture capital funding.
“Having worked with Suzanne, I’ve seen that she has a unique ability to identify the most potentially valuable and marketable new trends. That strength, combined with her leadership and direct operating experience, should allow her to transform what others may view only as a concept, and instead establish a real business and revenue stream,” said Jessica Zoob, Managing Director at Morgan Stanley and former American Express venture capital veteran. “The mobile family communication and protection space is emerging as a potentially great opportunity for investment.”
Ms. Horton received national acclaim as CEO (and for her “Chief Jane” public persona) of BeJane.com, a leading website in the $80B female home improvement space that inspires women to tackle home projects and then take that energy to be an inspiration in the world. She ultimately sold the website to Builder Homesite, Inc., the consortium of the leading 35 top residential homebuilders in the U.S. Most recently, she was tapped to lead the digital media team and help create a national brand for the rare multi-billion dollar Blackstone startup, Invitation Homes, which aggregated 50,000 single family homes nationwide and created the largest rental portfolio in the U.S. She is known for helping startups raise capital, create business development partnership strategies and national brands, and develop M&A exit strategy to the right partner.
Ms. Horton is also a high-visibility humanitarian powerhouse who has teamed up on network television with Habitat for Humanity to bring more visibility to the need for affordable housing. She has served as a digital advisor to her friend, Fran Drescher, to support her Cancer Schmancer movement that lobbies for improvements in female health legislation on Capitol Hill. As the granddaughter of a popular New York Senator, Ms. Horton worked directly with New York firefighters to gather supplies for those hit by Hurricane Sandy and helped lead a toy drive to raise holiday toys for more than 1000 children left homeless by the storm, including generating a generous donation of LEGO toys toward the cause. Ms. Horton is a graduate of the Johnson Graduate School of Management at Cornell University where she earned her MBA and studied international business abroad at the London Business School. “More than anything, I look forward to being a true MamaBear and helping parents protect their children across the world,” said Ms. Horton.
MamaBear is the leading-edge, mobile, all-in-one parenting app that creates a private family communication hub providing parents with an efficient way to communicate, locate, organize and protect their children with peace of mind in this complex social and digital media age. The app is available on iTunes and Google Play. MamaBear provides parents with a powerful all-in-one safety and awareness tool that offers a unique set of social media monitoring features, family mapping, alerts and reputation management tools, as well as alerts to cyber threats toward their children. Moreover, it offers a private place for families to communicate and stay abreast of family activities such as kids’ team sports. Since its initial launch in late 2012, MamaBear has received extensive media coverage in the U.S. and the mobile application has experienced rapid growth being installed on phones across the U.S. and all around the world. The company has been recognized by CNBC as one of the “World’s Most Promising New Companies” and by the Kauffman Institute as one of “The 50 Promising New Startups.”