[App Fridays] BabyBerry helps parents stay one step ahead of their baby’s needsHarshith Mallya
New parents are often confused about whose advice to follow – what’s available online or listen to traditional wisdom handed down the ages? Separating myth from what’s best can be nerve wracking. Add to that the general panic that often ensues as babies cry through the night or refuse to feed or run a temperature, and what you’ve got is a whole lot of stress when you really should be enjoying your experiences as a parent. That’s where BabyBerry can help.
What is it?
BabyBerry helps parents keep track of their baby’s overall growth and development by providing a 360-degree experience, covering things such as vaccination charts, growth milestones, information, ‘life logging’ tools and convenience features such as the ability to buy evaluated and recommended products and services.
The app seeks to track a child’s physical, emotional and cognitive growth. It provides personalised inputs and pushes relevant information to parents through its recommendation engine, mBryo, which takes into account the baby’s age, gender, demographics, hobbies, skills and the parents’ lifestyle. Parents receive alerts on when vaccinations are due and their possible side effects. They can compare their baby’s growth with WHO standards, and stay up-to-date with relevant and personalised tips about child care.
The story so far
CereBrahm Innovations, the parent company behind BabyBerry, was founded by Bala Venkatachalam and Subhashini Subramaniam. Subhashini had always considered herself to be a ‘super parent’ and thought she had complete control over her child's health and well-being, but one day her daughter came down with chickenpox. When she visited the doctor, she was told that she had missed giving her child the vaccination for chicken pox. Her daughter had caught it from a classmate, also someone who hadn’t been vaccinated because it isn’t a part of the government’s list of mandatory vaccinations.
The founders realised that the lack of information, awareness and timely reminders was a major pain point that needed to be addressed. They first reached out to a number of paediatricians to better understand the ground reality. Recalls Dev Vig, CMO at BabyBerry: “Paediatricians confirmed our assumptions. They found many parents visited
doctors far too often for minor inquiries and fretted over nothing. On the other hand, many parents rarely visited the doctor and sometimes missed out on important check-ups. So there was a clear need for a personalised, accurate source of information for parents to keep them better informed on the best course of action.”After a round of beta testing, BabyBerry went live in October 2014 as an app-only product. “We wanted our product to be a pro-active channel and not a reactive channel, so we decided that an app was the most suitable choice.”
The core team is assisted by six employees, who primarily have a tech background. Another two staffers handle operations and logistics. Bala, the CEO, has over 20 years of experience in product engineering, while COO Subhashini has over 17 years of experience in building healthcare and ecommerce products. Dev too is part of the core team and brings with him over 11 years of national and international sales and marketing experience in the mobile sector.
BabyBerry is looking to attract new parents from the metros and then from smaller cities and towns across India. They have so far relied on a mix of online and offline marketing channels and word of mouth to help them grow their user base.
How it works
Parents need to sign up on the app and enter relevant details such as their baby’s date of birth, birth weight, height, gender, blood group, and gestation period to help the app provide relevant information and schedules for vaccination.Based on the information entered and updated, the app connects suppliers of baby-related products and services to a potential and relevant set of buyers. The app also provides parents access to relevant content from doctors, nutritionists and other experts.
BabyBerry has multiple revenue streams. BerryCart, the in-app ecommerce store provides parents access to baby essentials, toys and other items. Parents can also find doctors and clinics in their area and connect with them for an appointment. The company is also exploring other avenues such as value-added services for mothers and children, B2B tie ups with baby care brands, big data services and other health-related services.
Sector overview and future plans
Dev estimates that the market for baby care and related products and services stands at close to 50 million end-users making transactions worth $18 billion in India right now. With nuclear families becoming more commonplace among the middle class and the affluent, and urban couples very often working demanding jobs, parents of young children are always on the lookout for solutions to make life easier.
It’s not surprising then, that over the last five years, startups have zeroed in on this segment and are gaining traction. Important players in this sector include Firstcry.com, an online and offline enterprise selling baby care products, and Mahindra’s BabyOye (formerly Mom&Me) that focuses on maternity wear and baby care products. Babychakra is a desktop-based social network for new parents and is looking to launch a mobile app soon. Babycenter provides content and collaboration services for children up to the age of one year, while Mycity4kids is a web and mobile app providing listings of child-friendly activities.
Recommended read from August: Startups catering new-generation Indian parents take baby steps
BabyBerry aims to stand out by focussing on content, ‘life logging’ and baby-related products and services. It currently offers monitoring services for babies from birth till the age of seven years and provides ‘life logging’ features such as options to click photographs on achieving different milestones. Future plans include providing similar pre-natal services for expectant mothers. Also in the works are social media features to allow parents with babies in same age groups to connect with each other and share experiences.
BabyBerry is a well thought out and executed app that aims to make parent’s lives easier and less stressful. While the Communiqué section contains articles on parenting and related topics, the app currently doesn’t include social media features that allow users to share articles outside BabyBerry. Adding this feature would help the app significantly expand its reach organically. BabyBerry does have an invite and referral programme that includes social plugins. For now, only one parent can manage and set up a baby’s account; others in the family can’t yet access the same information – the workaround for that is to access the records through the same username/password on multiple devices.
The app has a simple sign-up process and an easy-to-navigate layout. The most helpful features are the Growth Chart and Health Records, which together help parents update and track their baby’s progress and also keep an eye on the milestones. Missed milestones or anomalies would alert them to head to a doctor to investigate further.
With a core team that has prior experience in product engineering, healthcare and ecommerce and sales, it will be interesting to see how BabyBerry goes about further improving their app and what features they add next.
What do you think about this app, do let us know in the comments below. Also do check out other apps under our App Fridays series.