How a niche segment like parenting services are attracting a new pool of startups

14th Sep 2015
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With rapid globalization and urbanization, parents no more adhere to the traditional strict disciplinary way of raising children. Today’s parents allow their children to express their views and explore their passions, making them more independent. Parents desire to give their children better care, education, and exposure to the worldly activities, thus they often turn to online with a hope to get a valid source of these services. Unfortunately, they are left with information asymmetry. However, a handful of startups in the past couple of years have come forward to address this market by providing parenting tips from all aspects of a child’s life.

Here's a glimpse of some of the innovative startups which enable parents to choose the right service for themselves and their children.

KIDSS (Kid Social Shell): Founded in June 2015, KIDSS is a digital-age platform offering solutions for both parents and kids. It brings together parents and providers in parenting-related fields such as experts, bloggers, kid edutainment, and other service providers. It has four million cumulative downloads and two lakhs per day impressions. Since inception, it has witnessed about 300 percent growth per month. The startup has also raised $500,000 from strategic investors.


KIDSS

BabyChakra: Founded in the year 2014, the startup claims to have helped more than 250K Indian parents connect to over 5500 quality local services. Focused on the $20 billion maternity-child market, BabyChakra helps the 30 million moms (and dads) online make crucial decisions on doctors, hospitals, and cord blood banks. It also claims to have 10,000 unique visitors and more than 45,000 page views. Recently, the startup has raised $600K from Mumbai Angels, Patni Family Office, and Singapore Angel Network.


babychakra

ZenParent: Funded by Venture Factory (by i2india), 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. Since August 2014, the venture has created nearly 80 percent of content and plans to expand to Tier 2 and Tier 3 cities soon.


ZenParent-App

My Child AppThe app was launched on the Play Store on January 26, 2015. The app takes inputs from the parent like height and weight of the child and asks some ‘yes or no’ questions. After that, it displays the result informing about the area of concern in a child and suggests the action to be taken. The app has witnessed more than 1000 downloads. It was also selected in the FbStart bootstrap program and received $25,000 online credits. In the next 10 years the app is likely to touch 50 million parents.


MyChild

The Uolo: Launched in 2013, the startup has replaced the traditional diary system and panic phone calls with a smartphone application that reports a child’s location, attendance, and progress. The company’s flagship platform, KonnectEz, is deployed in more than 150 pre-schools in Bengaluru and Hyderabad. The Bengaluru-based company raised seed funding through early-stage investors last year.

KnitApp: Founded by four final-year students at IIT-Bombay in 2014, KnitApp is a parent–teacher communication app which helps parents to access information from the child's school. KnitApp is a part of Trumplab that has raised seed round investment from a group of investors, including Rohit Jain, Co-founder of Mexus Education; Amit Rambia, Founder of Vardhaman Technology, and others. Trumplab targets 20,000 schools and about 20 million parents and teachers and aims to reach to 50 lakh user base in the next two years.


Knit-App

ParentCircle: It is a one-stop web and mobile platform that brings together parents, educators, and experts across fields to share and collaborate on various aspects related to parenting and child development. The platform, built on state-of-the-art technology, allows users to explore, create, curate, and share knowledge and experiences in the form of visually engaging multimedia ‘ClipBooks’.

MySchoolApp: This app allows parents to plan vacations and get an overview of the activities happening in the school by tapping their mobile. It displays complete profile of the student, including their photo, parent details, class teacher details, address, and emergency contact number.

Parentune: Parentune.com is a pro-parent community. It supports parents through relevant advice, insightful blogs, and useful tips to help them do more for their child. Parentune has been the recipient of HOT100TECH in 2014 and is also among the chosen few under the NASSCOM 10,000 startups.

The need for a social networking platform to enrich parenting skills

Today, social media covers almost every aspects of one’s daily life escalating the connections and sharing of experiences. It is very natural that parents too enjoy the advantages of social connections. ParentCircle facilitates a social platform where parents and experts can exchange ideas and information on raising happy children.

Nalina Ramalakshmi, founder, ParentCircle
Nalina Ramalakshmi, Founder, ParentCircle

Nalina Ramalakshmi, Founder of ParentCircle, says, “For any social platform to survive in this market, it needs to actively engage with its community. We are initiating local campaigns in three cities over the next three months, starting with Chennai and Bengaluru. We are reaching out to schools, activity centers, and corporates.”

Active engagement with the parent community

BabyChakra has so far received an overwhelming response from parents across the world starting from Asansol, Bhubaneshwar to UAE, Hong Kong, Jamaica, and more.

According to Naiyya Saggi, Founder of BabyChakra, some parents have written to them stating that with the help of BabyChakra tips, they have been able to find great local doctors for their children, realized the importance of breastfeeding, and more.

Speaking about the challenges, Naiyya says, “The three main challenges that we face include: (a) hiring, motivating, and retaining the best talent, (b) maintain the relevancy and quality of information, and (c) consolidating our offering along with being agile enough to pivot our business model if required.”

KIDSS offers gamification of learning content as well as parenting tools. The app has one section of “Parenting” in which parents are provided with professional experts who address all the queries of the parents like child behavior, nutrition, and dietary management, etc. Parents leave their queries in “Expert Chat” section and the expert addresses them over chat.

Hemant Soni, Founder of KIDSS, says,

In India, we have 240 million population of two to eight-year-old kids and 30 percent tech savvy parents. While in the US, more than 50 percent of children aged between three to eight years used tablets as educational tools or digital play dates. We are looking to increase our global footprints as well as deepen our existing customer base in India, Europe, and the US.

According to Supriya Hiremagalur, Founder of ZenParent, they receive queries around education, behavioral issues and physical and emotional child development. ZenParent provides tips around all aspects of a child’s life, be it school life, after school activities, weekend and holiday classes, safety-related info, and health or nutrition.

She says,

We strive to ensure that our articles are not just informational in nature but also actionable. We have addressed issues that are often not talked about openly in India such as bullying, identifying stress or depression in kids, CSA (child sexual abuse), learning difficulties and how to talk to kids about the birds and bees among other things from an Indian context.

Availing end-to-end strategic tools from investors and incubators

Venture Factory by i2india builds venture by providing them end-to-end strategic, operational, administrative, and marketing support to its portfolio companies. This model uses quality processes that help startups minimize risks and scale up the businesses once they enter the market.

Vinay Rao, Partner of i2india, says,

Venture Factory has helped ZenParent to show a growth of over 100 percent month-on-month in terms of user acquisition. In a short span of six months, we have built a very strong operations and marketing team.

Karan Maheshwari, Deal Lead for Mumbai Angels, which invested in Baby Chakra, says,

We backed the team at BabyChakra for two reasons. First, BabyChakra is a truly innovative product that solves a real need for young parents today: making better and more informed care decisions for their families. Second, the team has, in a short span of time, executed fast, shown strong traction and loyalty in users, and is set to scale rapidly. We are excited to join BabyChakra on their journey to being a game-changing Made-in-India venture.

Growth ahead

India has 100 million active Internet users aged between 26 and 55 among which majority are parents. This indicates that there are clear opportunities in the space of parenting and knowledge sharing. Supriya from ZenParent estimated the market size for parenting resources at about $6 billion.

With children products and services market in India exceeding $20 billion, growing at a CAGR of at least 20 percent and parents discovering such services (parenting tips), making online bookings and comparing baby products, startups in this domain are very bullish about the future growth.

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