“Breaking stigmas and empowering families”: After launching in London, tech startup Lapapoe grows in Atlanta

Teacher-turned-entrepreneur Anike Mlemchukwu is on a mission to change how parents with special needs children get the support they need.

Lapapoe is a platform where parents can post their needs for a child with autism, down syndrome, cerebral palsy, or other developmental and behavioral health issues. Requests might include the need for childcare, assistance with schooling, or other at-home help needed. 

Those parents are then connected to a vetted group of partners, which include university students, professional caregivers, and educational professionals. Parents can book services with different partners right through the platform. 

This “individualized approach” keeps parents from having to navigate seemingly endless Google searches to find the exact resources they need for their child. 


All Together In Atlanta 

Lapapoe, which comes from the Nigerian language Yoruba word lapapo meaning ‘all together,’ is aptly named for the startup’s mission and vision. 

“We are bringing everyone together to break stigmas and empower families,” Mlemchukwu told Hypepotamus. 

Mlemchukwu, who was born in Atlanta and raised in Nigeria and the UK, first launched Lapapoe initially back in 2019 as a product marketplace for parents. She started it after her time as a special education teacher in London saw her how hard to was for parents to get the support they needed at home.

“I thought, why is it so hard for the parents to take care of their child?” she added. 


While Lapapoe started as a product marketplace, Mlemchukwu said she felt called to pivot the platform more towards services and resources that would help parents. She’s been building with that focus in mind since moving back to Atlanta. 

Mlemchukwu has wasted no time getting connected to the Atlanta startup community in order to help grow Lapapoe. She met her co-founder and CTO Adam Erstelle at ATDC, Georgia’s business incubator located in Midtown, Atlanta, earlier this year. She is part of WEI (Women’s Entrepreneurship Initiative) and Zane Access, the  not-for-profit arm of the Zane Venture Fund that provides Resources, Training, Support to overlooked founders.

While Lapapoe is still in its MVP phase, Mlemchukwu sees the platform growing to include recommendation engines and chatbots to help parents in the future. She and the team are also working on getting Medicaid approval and health insurance approval integrated into the platform so that it can help more parents. Mlemchukwu told Hypepotamus that her biggest needs right now as a startup is access to funding and finding a strong email marketing person to help the team.