Katherine’s new company, DutchMutch, is all about ‘Split anything with anyone at anytime (anywhere).’ “When you want to split something with somebody, you know, you call your friends, coworkers, whatever. But after you run out of those people, then what do you do?” Whether it be a farm share, a case of beer, or a Netflix account, there are some things in life that are too much for one person. She sat down with me last week to talk about DutchMutch and her advice for anyone embarking on a side project they are excited about.
Q. Where did the idea for DutchMutch come from?
“We are assuming people would split something with a complete stranger if it benefits them.”
How did DutchMutch get started?
When DreamIt Ventures came to CHOP, Katherine went to talk to them about different ideas she had. “I ended up making an appointment with a couple of consultants. I had a few ideas about stuff from lab, which we weren’t sure how feasible it was to do. Before I left, I was kind of joking around and started telling them about DutchMutch. They were really excited about it.”
“One of the things that surprised me is that this doesn’t already exist. When I was talking to the DreamIt Venture guys, one of them got his phone out and started looking on Google for an existing app and didn’t see any. So that either means someone tried it and it failed horribly, or no one has tried it because it’s too simple.”
The consultants kept in contact with Katherine and suggested she go home and create a fake landing page and see if she received any hits. That weekend, Katherine and her husband created the initial site. "We also talked to our third co-founder, Pete [a programmer], and together we started to piece together our ideas."
How has it been going so far?
What is your day job?
Do you have plans to monetize DutchMutch? If so, how?
In addition to the cashless transaction system, “I think that if we get enough people to list for certain services, we can contact the vendor directly.” Katherine suggested things like personal trainers or Philly’s tickets. “This is the reverse Groupon, where you have something you want to do and you are trying to get people to do it with you.”
What else is in the works at DutchMutch?
“In my ideal world, you are walking in the mall, and you just look on your phone—buy one get one shoes [to split]. I like the idea that there is a limitless amount of things that people can share, depending on your comfort level with strangers.”
Has it been challenging to work full time and pursue this project?
“There are days when you really just have to pick one over the other, and of course I would always choose my family over anything. But that doesn’t mean that the next day I can’t focus on something else. I like the idea that I will just keep chugging along and keep pursuing it.”
Words of advice for someone interested in pursuing her own side project?
Katherine also acknowledged that over the years, she has learned to make the most of her time. “When I was younger, I wanted to do everything myself. Now that I’m older, I realized I have the option of just paying someone to do something for me. It is awesome. Life changing. And it’s worth it, totally worth it. Time is precious.”