Former SCA execs launch parenting audio service

Former chief digital officer of Southern Cross Austereo (SCA), Vijay Solanki and the audio outlet’s former head of digital technology, Luke Lewandowski, are back in the audio realm.

The duo have partnered with clinical research and health entrepreneur, Francisco Fleming, to launch the Parenting BackPack app for their parenting service, ParentalEQ.

The app is designed for parents who need support with the emotional and social development of children aged between five and 12, and has audio at its core.

While it is not a clinical service, and parents are advised to also seek professional help for serious issues, the app does aim to simplify the best parent-child psychology and put it into the palms of parents to take action.

Parents can download the app, then pick key areas of focus such as ’emotions’ (anxiety or anger, for example), ‘situations’ (such as divorce or school transition), or a particular ‘parenting skill’.

The ‘knowledge’ portion of the app consists of audio lessons for parents to understand the concepts. The audio offering also provides tools and techniques to support parents. There are then ‘activities’ for the parents to work on with their children.

There are already 35 modules available in the app based on work with a professor of child development, clinical psychologists and education experts.

The app is built around a ‘freemium’ model, with free access to some knowledge and activity modules, which then moves into a paid monthly or annual subscription.

Solanki said this was a purpose-driven service.

“We saw that 50% of mental health issues start before the age of 14, but most go unnoticed and undiagnosed,” he said. “We also uncovered that whilst most parents understand physical wellbeing, the science of emotional wellbeing is less well understood.

“For parents seeking support, there’s a lot of friction. So we want to simplify the psychology so parents can use it.

“We believe that audio is a great medium to support parents.”

Solanki was with SCA between 2015 and 2016 as its chief digital officer. He was charged with transforming its digital offering, and left after 13 months saying his core job was done.

He then went on to be CEO of the Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB).

Lewandowski, meanwhile, was the head of digital technology between 2014 and 2015, after a stint as a software developer and project manager. He went on to be digital development manager at Pacific Magazines, and head of development and quality assurance for product and technology at Seven West Media.

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