AchaBacha.co.in is a platform where parents can exchange parenting tips, tasty and nutritious recipes, bed time stories, kids related news; along with getting to know what is happening in schools, and seeking help from doctors and experts. AchaBacha.co.in endeavours to provide children a safe platform for extra reading and having fun, and parents a network to share their experiences in raising children.In a conversation with YourStory, Entrepreneur Ritika Singh, talks to us in detail about AchaBacha.co.in , a fun social network for parents and kids.
How did the idea for AchaBacha originate? Can you tell us about the circumstances that led to the development of the business idea?
AchaBacha was a concept that my father used to motivate my brother and me. As little children we were told that there existed a list of good children (Acha Bachas) wherein millions of children were listed, and similarly there was a ganda bacha list too. When we did something good, we were told that we were on top of the Acha Bacha list. Most often than not, we were on the ganda bacha list, but that's besides the point. As we grew, we realised that no such list existed and we were always competing with ourselves.
It then struck me that, with the internet catching up, we could actually create such a list. But we faced a major hurdle in deciding the parameters that made an acha bacha. We then spoke to some parents and child psychologists and realised that every child was special, and creating a list would only lead to comparisons. When we researched further, it struck us that there was no platform for parents to share ideas, experiences, and thoughts on raising children. Most parents had trouble thinking of new stories to tell their children each day, and deciding what to cook for tiffin the next day. Moreover, there was no safe platform for children to read fresh informative, entertaining, and age-relevant content. We conducted more surveys and interviewed parents and children to create AchaBacha.co.in.
According to you, what is the size of the total available market? What is the sort of user base that you are targeting?
Our target market is sizable. We are targeting young parents with children under 12 years of age. Hence for the parents part of the site, we are looking at an age group of 20 to 40 years. about 85% people belonging to this age group use the internet. But the dismal sign is that only 11% of this 85% are women. But since we are targeting only the Metros and Tier 1 and 2 cities, the percentage would be higher. As for children using the internet, the percentage is steadily increasing and has reached to a decent 14%. We expect this figure to grow dramatically over the next 5 years.
What is your marketing strategy?
We are marketing AchaBacha.co.in through kids carnivals and summer schools in the Delhi NCR region. Once the schools re-open after the summer, we will start targeting schools and getting children to contribute to our newspaper, 'The Young Chronicle'. Slowly and steadily we will move towards other cities. Hopefully word of mouth will catch up by then.
How did you fundraise to startup AchaBacha?
The company started off as a media consultancy for companies like GreyCells Media18 (a Network18 Company), Siddharth Basu's company Big Synergy, NIIT, Tata Interactive, and an Australian company called Pole to Pole Expeditions. We provided a host of services, like script writing, creating Computer and Web based training modules, and creating social networks and websites. It is only when we generated enough revenue that we decided to reinvest profits and create a site which doubled up as a social network for parents, and a 'safe infotainment' site for children, called AchaBacha.co.in.
Tell us more about your team.
The team comprises of four people:
Cdr. Ranjit Singh: he has 22 years of experience in the INDIAN NAVY. Post that he has headed a U.S based software company called River Run Software Group, and a Japanese Company called Hydra International. He is the Director and Advisor of the company
Ritika Singh: a Communication graduate from Indraprastha College for Women, University of Delhi; and an MBA in Communication and Entrepreneurship from Mudra Institute of Communication, Ahmedabad (MICA). She has worked at JWT as a copywriter and Network18 as a script writer, prior to her MBA and has been heading the Creative Department at Creative Ink.
Rahul Dev Vashisht: Rahul is an engineer from Netaji Subhash Institute of Technology, University of Delhi and ie spursuing his MBA from Mudra Institute of Communication (MICA). He heads Marketing at Creative Ink.
Paras Borgohain: He specialises in writing for children, and is a key member of the creative team. He has trained with Seseme Street, and has done his PG in communication from St. Xavier's Mumbai.
What is your revenue model?
Initially, the site will earn through AchaBacha.co.in merchandise. We have already started merchandising with AchaBacha and AchiBachi badges and certificates. The parents can buy and give their children the badges and certificates when the children do something good, and revoke them when the kids do something wrong.The site is merely a platform to make parenting easier, and give children a safe and fun environment on the internet. Once the site picks up, we will have advertisements on it. As of now, we are collaborating with other brands for our events, road shows, and content requirements.
Five years from now, where do you see AchaBacha?
Five years from now, I see AchaBacha.co.in as not only a social network but as a brand that is into merchandising, news and reliable content for children, e-learning modules and much more. In fact, we have already introduced AchaBacha(TM) and AchiBachi(TM) badges as a means to providing incentives for children to be AchaBachas. The badges have got phenomenal response.
You are trying to build a social network(although aimed at a specific segment) at a time when Facebook's becoming all-pervasive. What is the rationale or thought process behind that? How do intend to add value?
Facebook is a network where people make friends and share personal content with them. AchaBacha.co.in doesn't intend to be that. We wish to provide a platform where parents can interact and share their knowledge and tips on raising children.
AchaBacha.co.in endeavors to be a safe platform for children below the age of 12, so that they don't feel the need to log into facebook. We have introduced an e- newspaper called 'Young Chronicle', exclusively for children so that they do not have to read our national dailies which are heavily politicized and full of crime stories. The stories we are introducing and games we have put on the site are also specifically meant for this age group.
Let us know about your expansion plans.
As of now, we want to focus on 'The Young Chronicle', get as many users on the site and grow the network. We will simultaneously grow our merchandise too. Eventually, we want to tap into every aspect of parenting, in some way or the other.
If you are a parent, and are looking for some exciting and new ways to engage with your kids, then do try out http://achabacha.co.in/