ZenParent, a tech platform for parents to stay one step aheadSharanya Chandrakantha Rao Inna
Parenting in today’s world can be an intimidating task. Too much advice and parenting know-how keeps percolating through the net. Kids, too, are a lot more aware thanks to their ever-burgeoning use of social media. A big chunk of new-age parents are members of the workforce, and have to continuously strive towards attaining the elusive ‘work-life balance.’
Technology is not the solution to all problems, but, in this case, it has proved to be a valuable companion to parents. ZenParent aims to provide a one-stop-solution to parents with hands-on answers to help resolve any parenting query, and be on top of all aspects of their child’s life – be it personality, interests or life skills.
It provides personalised, curated and timely information in the form of child development articles, parenting and childcare tips.
The venture is funded by Venture Factory (by i2india), and led by Supriya Hiremagalur, an MBA graduate from ISB, and mother to a precocious four year old. After working in the management consulting industry for five years, Supriya was bit by the entrepreneurial bug. She left a lucrative corporate job to chase her passion. Vinay Rao, a serial entrepreneur and partner at i2india, helps her with valuable entrepreneurial oversight and guidance. Venture Factory also gives technical, marketing and operational support to rapidly scale the business.
Supriya and Vinay came up with the idea of ZenParent eight months ago when they realised that children and parents needed a localised support structure. The increased need for safety of children got the founders thinking about possible solutions. Initially, they were focused on creating a smart watch-like product to help parents locate their child, and receive notifications regarding his/her whereabouts. Through customer interaction, though, they found the larger issue seemed to be that parents felt inadequately prepared for parenting in the age of technology and Internet. The team decided to focus on this fundamental problem, instead of building tracking and monitoring technologies.
Thus, ZenParent evolved to become a large parent-child platform that generates, as well as curates, content useful for all parents with kids in the three to 14 age group.
ZenParent’s goal is to be every parent’s easy reference and guide.
The X factor
ZenParent is also creating an app to increase efficiency. Using their smartphones, parents can now access information anytime and anywhere, which is customised based on their location and preferences. The founders felt that the effectiveness of certain popular communication channels, such as email subscriptions or websites, did not match that of a mobile application.
The team also believes there is a big gap in the market for content that is related to parenting, tailor-made for Indian parents. One can find a lot of information on pregnancy or baby care, but the search for content on children of ages three to 14 is a daunting task.
ZenParent has experts who are all mothers across different ages. The venture creates nearly 80per cent of the content, and curates the remainder. ZenParent also plans to expand to Tier 2 and Tier 3 cities soon.
The startup's offerings are split across various categories that address parent-child bonding and common child-related issues. Even the audience they are catering to is extremely diverse. ZenParent’s content is customised to suit 80-odd combinations of characteristics, e.g., working parent + mother or stay-at-home dads. Detailed mapping of their customer helps ZenParent provide more relevant content.
Since August 2014, the ZenParent team has spoken to a number of parents, and their product has undergone many iterations. The portal, which was launched three months ago, has seen a considerable amount of demand. Currently all the features of ZenParent, including the app, are free. But it plans to monetise its product through value-added services to customers and child care providers. ZenParent hopes to reach over one million users by next April.