Catering to the opportunity called ‘kids’ - Kukucrate
Economists and business leaders do not tire talking about the economic potential, a young country like India has. A large population of youngsters makes India an attractive place for investors to come to. And there is a big business potential for the young tots who will eventually grow to be part of that large population.
So we know about mycity4kids and Hopscotch, who are some of the players in this space. Now lets hear the story of Kukucrate, founded by Charu Agarwal, who turned entrepreneur when she had to return to India after spending 13 long years in the US. Charu thought of Kukucrate because she found an opportunity to address the disconnect between education and creativity for little kids. Her idea was to create a fun and enriching environment for kids and at the same time not burden parents, who are anyways busy with professional commitments. Charu Agarwal quit her 11 year long career at Microsoft to start Kukucrate.com in March 2013. The portal aims at helping children learn not just through words but by touching, feeling and creating something new on their own. A self-funded portal, Kukucrate offers different kinds of products/supplies for monthly, quarterly and annual subscription for kids between 4-8 years of age. A non-renewable monthly subscription can be bought at Rs 990 for a month, while an annual subscription can be bought at Rs 800 per month.
Kukucrate has parents and experts design theme based educational and creative hands-on activity kits. Before introduction of a kit to the site, it is tested by children and then delivered to customers. Each kit contains 3-5 projects based on different subjects like arts and craft, science or game building, a book based on the monthly theme with instructions to work and one supplemental educational material. Time duration for each activity is 1-2 hours long, depending upon how meticulously it’s done. Additionally the site also has sells kits like birthday party activity kits and corporate team building activity kits.
The key value proposition that Charu is trying to communicate to parents through Kukucrate is - convenience with age, appropriate projects delivered to your home, hands on learning, cost effective purchase of supplies, and better parenting. “If you ask parents, what is the one thing they can be best at? 99% parents will say "Parenting". Kukucrate makes good parenting a bit easier by allowing parents to spend quality time with kids,” says Charu. Other than selling supplies, the team also conducts workshops in schools and residential communities during summer holidays.
Kukucrate is currently a team of seven and Mithilesh heads the creative function. She is responsible for initiating a mix of ingredients required for designing themes and activities for every month. The key designs principles for any project or theme is that they have to help kids have fun, help them learn, grow and create. Products are designed by taking inputs from parents and kids requests, the developmental aspects like creativity, science, logic etc is also kept in mind while making an activity. Just before the monthly theme is launched, feedback is taken from experts, parents and kids and the important ones are incorporated.
Kukucrate sources material for the products it makes from different parts of India as well as from local craftsman. The projects made are from the point of view to provide lasting engagement for kids, even after the project is completed. For example, a bean planting experiment for kids can keep them occupied even after the planting activity is done. So kids can plant a bean plant, water it, and watch it grow every day. “The majority of new age Indian parents don't mind spending Rs 800-900 monthly on kid’s development and engagement. This is a good opportunity. Though there is still a segment of parents who sees value, but think they can do it personally with kids in a more cost effective way,” says Charu.
The biggest challenge since inception for Kukucrate has been the logistics: “One can create an awesome product but the last mile experience is defined by the delivery company, which unfortunately hasn't been an the most wonderful experience due to lack of professionalism and customer service,” says Charu. The website is marketed by way of participation in exhibitions, social media interactions, word of mouth publicity through influencers [child experts] and peer parents testimonials.