One year after receiving seed funding, parenting social network Tinystep has raised $2 million in pre-Series A funding from Flipkart. The 16-month-old startup aspires to advance their product, better user experience, and expand on their services.
Tinystep was launched in September 2015. Since receiving funding in 2016 from Flipkart, Tinystep has grown by adding more service providers, doctors, and daycare centres. They have also started monetising baby care brands on their app – as Facebook does with campaigns. Talking to YourStory, founder Suhail Abidi says that their revenue has grown tenfold annually, but they are not looking for profitability yet. “If we discount the marketing expenses, we can break even in a quarter,” he adds.
Tinystep now claims to have half a million parents on its platform, with about three lakh visits on their app per day. Currently, Tinystep gets about 1,500 posts per day, and about the same amount of Q&As. “The benchmark is Quora or Babycentre. But we have had only word of mouth publicity so far. Our Facebook page has about 15 million members, and we get more engagement than even Zomato does,” says Suhail, an engineering graduate from IIT-K who has done an MBA at Stanford University.
Tinystep aims to be the Zomato of baby care products and services. In the next three weeks, they will launch their iOS app, as well as a separate app for the service providers. They also plan to monetise at a local level, like Zomato does, for brands like Chicco and Mothercare as well as daycare centres and events.
Suhail says that 99 percent of their members are mothers. To ensure the quality of content, Tinystep has tied up with a few doctors. Also, there is a gamification system that picks the mothers who answer more often to become content moderators.
Tinystep’s biggest challenge is that there are many content websites. “We are even competing with Google. For queries related to children, a parent should come to our platform rather than search on Google. Many don’t think of coming to an app for that, so our content has to be better,” Suhail says.
Half of Tinystep’s 30-member team are engineers, while the rest work in marketing, feedback, operations, and product. For taking customer feedback, Tinystep arranges “Moms meet up” every alternate Saturday, and comes up with new features often.
By investing in Tinystep, Flipkart can figure out the most popular products. In a statement, Ram Papatla, VP, Product at Flipkart and Tinystep Board Member, said, “We believe that Tinystep is on their way to building a truly differentiated content-rich social network for parents. Baby Care is an important category for Flipkart, and the investment in Tinystep will enable Flipkart to leverage Tinystep’s strong user community to build a network of influencers.”
Despite the involvement of Flipkart, Tinystep has no plans to enter e-commerce straight away. “We want to focus on services before products. Like Zomato, we will list (and thus monetise) daycare centres and baby photographers,” says Suhail.
The mother and baby care market is an astounding $50-billion industry. Although Firstcry and Babyoye have established themselves as the online marketplaces for all things babies/children, a social network for parents is a relatively unexploited arena, with the likes Babychakra and mycity4kids just coming up. Tinystep may not be Facebook, but it definitely has scope for growth, as the market is yet to flourish.