How This 8-Year-Old Entrepreneur Took on Parkinson’s

Just when you think you have your kids figured out, think again. Kids are extremely perceptive and will do some amazing things given the opportunity. Take Lily Born, now a 13-year-old entrepreneur who wanted to solve a problem that was personal to her.

The Problem

When Lily was just 8 years old, she noticed that her grandfather was having difficulty drinking from cups without spilling. Why? Unfortunately, Lily’s grandfather suffered from Parkinson’s disease. She approached her father wanting to provide a solution for her grandfather, and he used that opportunity to teach her about prototyping.

The Solution

With Lily designing the solution, and her father helping her with the rest, they successfully created the Kangaroo Cup. Lily used moldable plastic to build several prototypes before finally creating a no-spill cup. The Kangaroo Cup has three legs that make it far harder for someone to tip it over or spill. As it turns out, the cup was helpful for her father too! Lily created another version of the cup to save her father from spilling coffee onto his laptop. This time, the cup was built in a local pottery studio using ceramics.

Kickstarter Success

Lily’s dad loved his daughter’s creation so much he asked her if she would be interested in making more for other people. They spent a lot of time designing a new product out of clay, and ended up traveling to China hoping to learn about production. After finalizing the design and picking a manufacturer, Lily needed funding to make the new dream come true.

Lily and her father made a video for Kickstarter (a crowdfunding platform), hoping to raise $25,000. Not only did Lily pass her goal, but her family had a lot of fun putting together the website and video! People all over the world loved the idea of the Kangaroo Cup and donated over $62,000.

Trial & Error

Now that Lily had the funds and a production facility, she had to perfect her invention. She recognized that there were many improvements that she could make. For example, her friends broke a few Kangaroo Cups playing outside of the house. She even received feedback that people would love a design that was better suited for children, and had more comfortable handles. After several versions of the cup, the final version was created.

The Company & Press

With Lily’s creation now available, she started the company Imagiroo where she sells the cups online. Each cup sells for $13 and ships all over the world. Lily has since sold over 11,000 cups! Moreover, LIly donates part of her profits to support STEM education for young girls, and donates cups to not-for-profit organizations that help adults and kids with mobility issues.

Lily has since shown her invention at the White House Science Fair, and has been featured on CNN Heroes, Headline News, NBC Nightly News, NPR’s Weekend Edition, Fast Company, Business Insider, and more. She loves to inspire others, and is constantly thinking about what will be her next invention.

What your middle schooler should know about money

Going off to middle school is a big milestone — for your kids AND for you. No doubt, your kids will have more freedom. They may not need as much help with homework, and they may even ditch a few family movie nights to see their friends. 

But it’s a great time in their lives. They’re growing up, learning about themselves and starting to form their own opinions about the world. While they enjoy these new privileges, it’s still important to help them learn valuable life lessons — starting with money.

Opportunities to earn 

Middle school is a great age to start earning money [1]. How? Chores, babysitting, yard work, dog-walking, the list goes on. Get creative with it!

When your kids are earning money, they begin to understand what it means to spend it. They grasp the idea that money really doesn’t grow on trees — it comes from hard work. A great way to teach this is by giving them chores and allowance (you can find these in your Greenlight app!). 

Help them manage their spending

Middle schoolers are busier than ever before, and they’re enjoying their independence. When they head out to the movies or spend the night at a friend’s house, it’s important that you’re there with them… without physically being there. 

Greenlight lets you keep track of their spending habits directly from your phone. When they’re spending too much at a certain store, you can add spending controls. Or when they’re not saving enough, incentivize them with Parent-Paid Interest

Talk about saving vs. spending 

As your kids grow up, they may start to have more “wants.” Use this as a chance to talk about saving vs. spending. 

We recommend a “show, don’t tell” approach. Show them what happens when you save money over time. Nice car? Nest egg for college? Hoverboard? A healthy savings account will get them there! 

Understanding costs

When kids are young, they don’t always understand how much life costs. As you know, it can be… well, expensive. Not sure how to prepare them? Start here: 

  • The next time you’re grocery shopping, point out certain brands that are more expensive than others. See what they say! 
  • Tell them about variable expenses and fixed expenses [2]. For example, your car payment is a fixed expense — you know it’s the same every month, so you can budget around it. But a nice dinner out? That will vary depending on the restaurant, and we call that a variable expense. 
  • Show them the utility bill (fun, right?). Some people are shocked when they get their first utility bill. Do your kids a favor now and help them learn what drives the cost up or down — they’ll thank you later!

Keep the conversation going 

Your kids will still be under your roof for a while, so don’t let the conversation drop after middle school. Their understanding of money will evolve and so will your conversations. And when you hit a roadblock, you can always count on Greenlight to help you out!


[1] Money Talks News , [2] US News

What high school graduates should know about finances

You’ve made it to the finish line. After diplomas, passed tests and signed acceptance letters, it’s finally starting to feel real. 

If you’re scrambling at the last minute to send your kids off with all the knowledge and tips they need for the real world, take a breather. We have a step-by-step guide for raising financially-smart high school graduates.

The basics 

No matter what financial background they have or career path they choose, there are some basics that every high school senior should know before college. 

  • Credit vs. debit. Once they’re 18, they can get their own credit card. Here’s the thing: they have to be able to prove their independent income or have a co-signer (probably you!). Talk about credit vs. debit to decide if this is the right time for them. 
  • Everything costs money. Teach your kids how to budget and monitor their spending regularly so they don’t find themselves in a bad situation.
  • Wants vs. needs. For some kids, this is the first time they’ll be paying for gas on their own. For others, college loans are about to start piling up. Take this as a teaching moment to explain why needs should always come before wants.

Return on investment 

Whether they’re picking a major or starting their own business, an important lesson is return on investment. Start with something like, “What you do now affects what you do later. If you decide to push off your mandatory classes, you may wind up in college longer than you wanted to.” You can also use a calculator to figure out the ROI for a major or minor [1]. 

Keep communication open 

Just because they’re leaving home doesn’t mean they’re all alone — remind them of this. They have you and they have us. Setting the stage for strong communication is really important! 

Let Greenlight help 

Family finance, big decisions, money management… it’s kinda our thing. They may not be right down the hallway from you anymore, but you can use your app to stay connected and keep up the financial learnings. 

Or, send them a nice Greenlight Gift to let them know you’re thinking of them. With all of this help, they can handle anything that comes their way! 

[1] PayScale