ACS has three innovation labs in Australia – Harbour City Labs in Sydney, River City Labs in Brisbane, and Bay City Labs in Melbourne.

‘A Look in the Labs’ is an Information Age series profiling the high-growth startups based in our labs – what they do, their ambitions, and the advantages they’ve gained being based at the ACS Innovation Labs.

This week, we speak with Vijay Solanki, CEO of ParentalEQ.

Business ParentalEQ

Established 2020

CEO Vijay Solanki

Based at River City Labs, Brisbane

Online at Website, LinkedIn, Facebook

What does your business/product do and how does it help people/other businesses?

We help parents with the emotional and social development of their children. We simplify parent-child psychology, so parents can use it.

How did the idea for your business come about?

I graduated in Psychology back in 1993 but chose not to pursue a clinical career. I enjoyed occupational psychology and had an internship/placement with Proctor & Gamble in the UK.

That was my springboard into marketing and innovation roles, starting at Unilever in the UK and more recently with Philips in the Netherlands.

But after 25 years of global corporate life, I knew I needed a change.

The death of my mother three years ago was the catalyst for that change.

It impacted by own mental health and made me rethink the role of a parent, and got me thinking about the business that is now ParentalEQ.

I met my co-founder and saw the opportunity whilst being part of a startup accelerator program.

Was being an entrepreneur always one of your life’s goals and what have you learned about being an entrepreneur?

I was lucky enough to be the launch marketing director for Shazam and worked very closely with the founders.

I was never sure I was founder material. Now I realise that there is no such thing. You just need to believe and have a crack.

I hope the wisdom I can bring being a founder aged 50+ can help counter-balance the gaps created from not being 20+ anymore!

What has been the biggest challenge and the biggest milestone for your business so far?

The biggest challenge is getting parents to pay for the service.

We’ve so far built three prototypes, each a huge improvement on the previous.

Our biggest milestone has been getting some prestigious UK schools to pilot our service.

Where would you like your business to be in two years?

We would love to impact 100,000 families with ParentalEQ, and help with their emotional well-being.

What is the best business or life advice you’ve ever been given?

Life is short, so go do it.

What made you decide to move into the ACS Innovation Labs and how has it assisted your business?

We needed to get investor ready and the coaching/support we have had in this space has been invaluable.

For more information on the ACS Innovation Labs, visit the websites of Harbour City Labs in Sydney, River City Labs in Brisbane, and Bay City Labs in Melbourne. If you're interested in joining successful Australian businesses in the ACS Innovation Labs, email for details.