With the phygital revolution gripping the country hard and fast, no sector in business is spared. A sector as niche as kids or parenting segment is now seeing new light due to sudden rise of start-ups coming to the aid of new age parents. Zarafshan Shiraz finds out what created this robust demand, who is it catering to and where is it headed.
Seeing her sister struggle with the journey of being a new mother—spending copious amounts of time listening to random advice, browsing on Google, and experimenting with different doctors and daycares, Naiyya Saggi was certain that there simply wasn’t enough reliable information out there for new parents. It was clear that there was an immediate need for a technology disruption in childcare. This led her to found BabyChakra.
Performing as a trusted and intelligent companion, BabyChakra bridges the whole spectrum of a parent’s needs: community, content, commerce, and brings it together in a seamless way. The interface, on both app and web, is completely personalized to the user based on her lifestage, location and interests. Their audience spans from expecting mothers to parents of toddlers up to five years of age.
The maternity and childcare market in India is estimated to grow to $74 billion by 2020, which is a ripe opportunity for technological disruption. “BabyChakra is the solution which integrates services and products into one go-to platform, and lets parents connect with experts and other mothers online, making life easier for a group who already lack the time and energy to search for trusted information” thinks Naiyya Saggi, CEO and Founder of BabyChakra.
Another concern led to the foundation of Uolo when its founders met the challenge to get regular updates from schools and other sources regarding their young kids progress. They thought of having a platform similar to the likes of social media apps like whatsapp, just for education segment, where educators, parents and students can interact. Thus, Uolo was born.
Talking about their industry size, Badrish Agarwal, Co-Founder at Uolo Technology Pvt Ltd. shared, “In India there are around 360 million students who attend school and out of these 360 million students, around 75 million go to private unaided schools and these are the primary users.” According to him their average ticket size sums around Rs 50/- per annum so total addressable market size is Rs 3750 million. The services on the portal are available for preschoolers to students in Class XII. However primary audience as of now are till class VIII.
Fighting tooth and nail
Despite of having robust customer support systems and well equipped teams, the journey is not so easy as it seems given the niche segment that it is. “In the first days of BabyChakra, our main challenge was to understand what our users truly needed from us as a product. To answer our questions, we spent a lot of time understanding mothers’ and service providers’ requirements in this space” reveals Naiyya. Her team spoke to nearly 600 influential mothers (top Mom bloggers, community leaders, Mompreneurs) and 500 top service providers in Mumbai. This helped them lay out the building blocks once the work commenced on the beta version of the BabyChakra website. Since the product in Uolo’s case was new and untapped, they spent a lot of time in educating the market and getting the product adopted.
Venturing into a niche zone, that she would take forward globally, didnot stop the lady entrepreneur from building up a successful business model that is now leveraged with big players of different spaces or those mushrooming alongside in the same sector. Likewise Uolo keeps ahead with innovations like Uolo Notes which is a unique offering where students/parents get updates from various sources like school, coaching centers and hobby classes. Apart from the updates users get access to free rich curated content. It is important to keep the solutions as personalised and not static for users who have time restraints. Keeping that in mind BabyChakra offers a completely personalized experience to a mother realising she does not have the time to sift through large amounts of information to find what is relevant and useful to her.
Sky’s the limit
Naiyya wants that from the moment a couple is trying to conceive, they will think of BabyChakra as the companion to help them on their parenting journey - whether it be to find information, buy products or become part of a wider community. “BabyChakra will become synonymous with parenting, globally, like Uber is to transportation, Amazon is to commerce and Airbnb is to vacations. We want to be the one platform that parents around the world trust and turn to” wishes the incipient entrepreneur.
On the other hand Uolo is working towards and aggressively looking for channel partners who can distribute their products. “Channel partners have a unique opportunity to benefit from the product as the effort required is only for selling and all the school support is done by Uolo itself” enlightens Badrish.