It was August 2011, when after being on a break for a year Ritu Uberoy was mulling over what to do next. She had moved back (to India) from the USA in 2005 and started Saviance Technologies and grown it to a 100+ team. At the same time, Parul Mittal had completed 12 years in ecommerce and technology domain, and was working as a freelance IT consultant for online solutions. A common desire to do something different brought them together and they teamed up to embark upon their entrepreneurial path.
After few months of brainstorming, they zeroed in on the one thing they both were passionate about – raising bright & happy kids. “We realized we both were very actively involved parents who took a lot of effort in searching for the right books, board games and activities for our kids. As parents, we had experienced a strong need for an online memory or scrapbook to capture the ‘Meethi Memories’ of our parenting journey,” says Ritu. But there was no such platform available and that presented the opportunity for RivoKids to be conceptualized. Smart Ideas & Fun Moments is what RivoKids promises to offer and according to Ritu, it is India’s first online community for young urban parents.
Some features of that RivoKids offers are:
- MeethiMemories – To create and instantly share a digital scrapbook of your babies' growing up stories
- ParentPicks - Parent recommended toys, games & books
- RivoStars – A platform to showcase your child's creations - artwork, poems, stories.
- RivoBlog - Parenting tips
- Kids Book Reviews – Book review “by kids for kids”
Parul and Ritu spread the word about RivoKids through active participation at various workshops in schools and by setting up stalls during events. Word-of-mouth marketing has also helped them a lot, and today they have a registered member base of 750. The website averages about 15,000 page views per month. They also plan to introduce a corporate engagement model, and introduce RivoKids to parents directly. Currently RivoKids makes money out of advertising and printed MemoryBooks-scrapbooks for capturing memories. Partnerships with schools and companies is the other method they are using to increase reach.
The online world is a great leveler says Parul, as it eliminates gender differences and being women entrepreneurs in an e-venture is not very different from how men would do it. The challenges however stem from a work-life balance perspective, which affects women more than men. Parul says, “There are also issues about not being taken seriously by friends and family, especially if you are running your business out of your home.” People often take their time for granted and the ambitions are mistaken for hobbies. This in turn results in lack of serious consideration when it comes to forging partnerships and alliances, thinks Parul. She adds, “Women don’t celebrate their success and market their achievements well. Women in general have a very high bar for perfection and are so busy doing the work that they don't realize the importance of letting people know about their accomplishments and boasting a bit about their venture.”
Besides being an entrepreneur Parul is also an author and her books Heartbreaks and Dreams and Arranged Love have been well-received. She feels writing these books and getting them published have increased her learning curve. And considers the changes to story lines, characters and exhilarating moments very similar to starting a business. “They are both a journey worth experiencing at least once in a lifetime,” she says.