Zenparent.in aims to provide parents with information and resources that help in dealing with their children and their needs better
Parenting, once an instinctive process ably supported by extended family, has undergone a change as most families are turning nuclear with dual income couples balancing career, life and children. The demands on parents have also multiplied multi-fold in today’s highly competitive world where only the multi-talented have scope to succeed. The media, specifically the Internet, add to the complexity of handling more informed and distracted children who challenge parents at every stage of development.
“There is a lack of inclusive parenting information today that reflects the changing society in India. Due to globalisation and urbanization, the way we’re bringing up our kids is significantly different from the way we were brought up – this often means turning to the web for ideas more often,” points out Supriya Hiremagalur, founder, Zenparent.in. But most of the parenting content online is for the western audience. Bengaluru-based Zenparent, started in 2014, aims to rectify this by providing content that is custom-made for the new age Indian parent.
Under an umbrella
The venture is funded by Bengaluru-based Venture Factory (by i2india), which provides end-to-end strategic, operational, administrative and marketing support to its portfolio companies. Vinay Rao, a serial entrepreneur and partner at i2india, helps Hiremagalur with entrepreneurial insight and guidance. Venture Factory also gives technical, marketing and operational support to help scale the business.
“I approached Venture Factory wanting to start something of my own and they were contemplating a venture built around parenting,” recalls Hiremagalur, an MBA graduate from ISB and mother to a four year old, who left a lucrative management consulting job to give in to her entrepreneurial aspirations. Zenparent was started with the mission of ‘parenting simplified’ and is seeking Series-A funding to enable it to expand to cities outside Bengaluru, build a support team, hire across departments, add service offerings and implement marketing strategies. “There is also a growth plan already in place to meet our goals,” she adds.
Zenparent, a social-media driven discovery platform, is available both as a website as well an app and aims at providing a one-stop-solution to the parents of today, with hands-on answers to help in resolving any parenting query and be on top of all aspects of children’s lives – be it personality, interests or life skills.
The mobile app offers personalised, curated and timely experience in the form of child development articles, parenting and childcare tips, latest kid-related events in different cities, special recipes, book recommendations and movie/ TV show reviews.
“Our strengths include strong data analytics, a world class Android and iOS mobile app and robust content management system for curating crowd-sourced content,” says Hiremagalur.
Spreading the word
Attracting good talent to a start up whose brand is still evolving is probably the toughest challenge in the initial days. But Zenparent.in has built a team of 20 members strong across editorial, marketing and development. The company has built an editorial team of parenting experts, from diverse backgrounds, who can provide deep insights into the complex arena of parenting. Eighty per cent of the content is original and the rest is curated from multiple sources. “Our content writers include child experts such as psychologists and teachers as well as experienced parents from different parts of India (and 1 writer in Paris) who have children ranging from 3-16 years,” she explains.
The site strives to ensure that the content is inclusive and addresses even hitherto sparsely found resources for parenting like single parenting, home schooling, special needs parenting apart from the most common parenting issues. “The highlight of running this venture is when an acquaintance tells you about an article she really liked and you realise it was a ZenParent article,” shares Hiremagalur.
Estimating the market for parenting and related services at $6 billion, Hiremagalur says that Zenparent merchandising is in the offing. Advertising, affiliate marketing and value added services for child care service providers will be the means to spread the word, sustain and grow traffic and bring in the revenues. “We are doubling our user base month-on-month,” she shares.
In the near future, Zenparent.in aims to be a one-stop platform for any parenting and child-related services and information. It plans to get there through a combination of customised preferences, data analytics and building a strong community of parents, both online as well as offline.