Update on 3rd October 2014: Flinto has raised a round of INR 1.8 crores led by GSF and other investors including Globevestor, GmBH and People Group. This subscription commerce site is doing 1500 boxes across 230 locations at the moment. Here's their story:
Children are life's joy and watching them grow is possibly one of the most fulfilling experiences for their parents. For the child, the world around is new and offers them with many new perceptions to deal with. This is more relevant in the digital age, where the smartphone, tablet or TV is often used more by the toddlers in the house. In fact there was this funny incidence where a child blew off a whopping $4000 USD on in app purchases.
This is a familiar problem among urban parents and Chennai based entrepreneurs, Vijaybabu Gandhi and Arunprasad Durairaj, have started up a subscription e-commerce ventune, Flinto, to address this. Arun says, "Vijay and I are friends for 6 years now. Vijay, father of a 4 year old, was always keen on early child development kits for his son, Aadhav. It was Aadhav’s birthday and I had to buy nice gift. I was confronted with the choice of options available today. They are either mindless toys which deliver no development value or they too serious learning that children will run away from. Eventually I had to pick up a fun toy, a sensible book and some learning activities to satisfy the kid and the concerned dad. Later that day, I wondered, why not build a kit that combines fun and learning and keep delivering it every month to parents like Vijay. That day marked the birth of a new idea, Flinto.”
Flinto is a theme-based monthly activity box for 3-7 year old children, designed to engage them in a meaningful way at home. Every month, it’s a new theme, filled with activities based on science, art and craft, custom illustrated books and games, delivered to your door step. Each Flinto box contains all the materials required along with simple ‘’how to’’ guides and contents.
Arun shared that the contents of the Flinto box is designed by early child development experts, activity developers and experiential learning leaders. The box has a selection of exclusive, high quality and custom made contents that cover vital development areas including fine motor skill, cognitive and gross motor, creativity, exploration, language, and social skills.
Reception and traction
Arun shared that the team began working on the product in February 2013. He says, "After some MVP experiments through April, we launched a private beta in May and opened it for public in June 2013. And they loved it."
Since it's public launch, the company has seen encouraging traction - "We have doubled our customer base between 1st and the 2nd month. We currently have over 500 customers of which 40% are long term subscribers." Their customer outreach has been vastly powered by word of mouth. But they intend to use other means as well. He says, "More than 70% of our customers have bought Flinto because, they were oversold by their friends who have experienced the Flinto box. We are moving to other marketing platforms soon. We are shipping all over India now."
Along with this promising traction, the customers' delight with the product keeps Arun and his team going. He says, "One of the best testimonial we received so far is that of a 5 year old boy who wanted to get his birthday cake done with Flinto on it. And btw, we did crash his birthday party with that cake!"
The road ahead
Arun shared that the ideas like Flinto have been very popular in the west. He says, "Lot of parents in India are realizing the importance of Early child development. There is a growing segment of responsible parents in India that are also looking to meaningfully engage their children at home." When asked if they will be using Flinto to address other customer segments, Arun said, "Currently the flinto box is meant for parents to meaningfully engage their children at home. Every Flinto box has something that will make kids go out and engage with. All our customers right now are parents and they are loving it. So are we."
This 7 member team from Chennai are also looking to raise funds in coming months. And given the recent traction, Arun and co are confident of building a significant subscription commerce business from India.
Catch up with Flinto here