Family is key in Kelly Marsden’s life - and she feels family memories are too precious and too personal to be bandied around the internet.
As a result the mother of three from Hebden Bridge has set up a secure on-line “photo album” which keeps friends and family up to date without outsiders having access to their children’s images.
She has just finished a whirlwind week “pitching” the potential of her venture, which business experts say has the potential to go global.
A recent investigation by a national newspaper revealed that voyeuristic paedophiles were targeting pictures of children that had been innocently posted on social media sites.
Kelly and her business partner Paul Brookes have set up Twile.com, which allows proud parents to share their youngsters’ photos, video and news without the images and information being preyed on by strangers.
Kelly and Doncaster-based Paul started up the business with the help of a 13-week Government-backed programme run in Sheffield which attracted the attention and interest of Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg.
Kelly, who was born and bred in Halifax, where her husband Christian runs a solar energy business, said: “I have always been very concerned about the security and privacy of photos shared on social media sites, particularly where my children are concerned.
“Twile provides me with a safe place to create a permanent record of our family history as it happens.”
Twile conducted a survey which showed that 80 per cent of parents look at photos of their children regularly and the same percentage would like to view them on a visual timeline.
The survey also revealed that 65 per cent of those questioned were concerned about the security of their children’s pictures on social media sites.
“Our survey shows that I’m not alone in the need of a more visually engaging experience,” Kelly said.
She urged proud parents and others with memories they wish to share to sign up to Twile.com, which will soon benefit from video and sound, social media integration and a mobile app.
“Start creating your family history today so that you can look back and see who you were,” she said.
The intuitive site will allow users to upload all of their family photos and automatically add them at the right point on their timeline. Users can then create stories from photos, adding depth and context: where the photo was taken, why they were there and who is in the picture. Photos and videos can be shared with a closed network – only selected people can view the content and they can’t share it any further.
Twile will also offer the opportunity for parents to sign up to relevant blogs, magazines and products, with content delivered directly to their personal timeline.
Kelly said: “As a mum I have probably read every magazine on the rack for advice and used on-line forums. It’s great to realise that people have gone through the same tears and tantrums. Whether it is a day-to-day growth plan during pregnancy, a daily plan for weaning your baby, information on education or which pushchair to buy, our aim is to bring all of this content together in one place”.
Twile has secured backing from Creative England - who bring capital through the Government’s Regional Growth Fund – and were welcomed onto the DotForge Accelerator programme in Sheffield, which supports start-up businesses across the Sheffield City region.
Jag Goraya from DotForge said: “This elegantly simple timeline has the scale to reach global markets. We are working with Twile to accelerate the growth of a start-up that has global potential”.
At the end of the 13-week programme and after three intensive weeks of “pitch training” provided by the Crucible Theatre’s director Paul Miller, Twile were ready to pitch for investment.
The first pitch was to a number of Yorkshire investors in the Crucible and the second was held at ‘Hub Westminster’ in London. Kelly said: “The pitches went extremely well and we are now in discussions with a number of both ‘angel’ and venture capital investors, who have taken an interest in providing investment.”
Paul added: “We’re looking forward to finding the right investment partner and driving the vision of Twile at a greater speed. We have a long list of new key features that we’re anxious to release.”.