How Team BabyChakra Is Helping Young Parents

[This interview is sponsored by workspot.in , India’s leading aggregator of co-working spaces, meeting rooms and shared offices. If you have additional office space and are looking to rent it, please do list it on workspot.in. If you are looking for space for your startup, do visit workspot.in]

 

Question 1 – What motivated you to start Baby Chakra and what is it all about?

Technology has changed how we discover food, housing and transport. Given the massive information asymmetry in the parenting space, we felt it was time to leverage technology to make decisions around parenting easier. Hence, BabyChakra. At the peak of our corporate careers, we observed that a lot of our friends on becoming parents were completely clueless about this new chapter in their lives. Nothing had prepared them for the experience especially since most live in nuclear families and geographically and aspirationally mobile. They obviously had multiple and our Facebook feeds were flooded with queries specific to parenting (e.g. good pediatricians, OB-GYNs, play-schools, day cares, event managers and even technical services like lactation consultants, special therapists, and cord blood banks etc.). On digging deeper we realised there are hundreds of Facebook groups devoted to questions around parenting. Seeing just how stressful and time-consuming finding quality services and products can be propelled us to create BabyChakra. BabyChakra is the one stop platform that helps moms find the best for themselves and their babies. Screen Shot 2014-11-06 at 2.31.07 PM Question 2 – Could you please tell our readers what is your current team size and introduce them? We’re already an 8 member team in less than one year of conceptualizing BabyChakra. Himanshu Sharma leads is the CTO and leads our website and soon to be introduced mobile app strategy. Prior to joining BabyChakra Himanshu was the engineering lead at Offerson.com and has also spent 4 years at Quikr.com. Priya Sood and Shadan Syed, two very passionate and enthusiastic moms, lead our mom champion and social media strategy respectively. They are our eyes and ears on the ground (both online and offline), constantly reaching out to more moms and feeding the information back to the corporate team for both execution and strategy. Priya is a marketing enthusiast with deep interest in unraveling consumer behavior, and has worked with Standard Chartered Bank and PWC in the past. Shadan has more than 10 years of experience in communication & social media management, and has worked with the Select Group (Parent company of Select City Walk Mall Delhi) prior to joining BabyChakra. Nayana Naware is our Data Entry Lead, and has worked with Alpha Products as an administrator for 6 years before joining us. She is supported in her role by Runisha Chavan. Screen Shot 2014-11-06 at 7.36.05 AM

Question 3 – What is the current size of the market/industry? Any projected growth rates? Who are your major competitors and how are you differentiated?

The maternity-young child space is US $20 B but incredibly disaggregated and unregulated. There are a total of 30 MN online moms in India right now, growing at the rate of 51% y-o-y ! We do have competitors operating in this segment, but mostly in the content space (BabyCenter being a great example and is used by a few million in India already). However BabyChakra’s objective is to make moms lives easier by leading them to discover the services they need most right when they need it. There is a high degree of social curation which is being followed as selecting the right doctor or consultant for your children cannot be left to chance ! We literally take the word of mouth online by profiling the best that there is in the health & wellness space. Screen Shot 2014-11-06 at 7.35.35 AM

Question 3 What is your revenue model? Would it be possible to give a ballpark figure of your current revenue? Anything in which you are comfortable with.

While we do have freemium listings model, something that can help services get discovered more easily, our overarching objective is to make moms discover the best – and hence that continues to be at the heart of everything we do. Screen Shot 2014-11-06 at 7.36.42 AM

Question 4 – How do you market Baby Chakra online/ offline? Do you use any social media platforms?

We believe in building and investing in personal relationships, both with moms and services – as word of mouth, though time consuming, goes a long way in creating the network effect. There are a number of products and services (including online services) that we frequently use today only because it had come in recommended by a trusted friend. This strategy is used both online and offline. We do use social media platforms, but are careful to provide them only with the relevant information when they need it. We have not used SEO or google ads so far. Though it’s still early days to conclude anything, the strategy has served us well as we already have 20,000+ users in 4.5 months from launch with over 80,000 page views. Screen Shot 2014-11-06 at 7.36.27 AM

Question 5 – What are the challenges that you have faced/are facing in marketing Baby Chakra?

We’ve been very fortunate to have a large number of early adopters – who talk about Baby Chakra with their mom friends and helped us to reach out to a large audience. For parents, needs keep changing rapidly as the child grows. Therefore for services to connect with a moving audience is often an expensive proposition. Services based on trust (e.g. doctors, playschools, and daycares etc.) are limited by word of mouth references. BabyChakra is the one platform that connects and introduces parents to local services relevant to them and hence the platform has found a lot of takers in offline services. We’re currently piloting in the city of Mumbai, and the real challenge that we face is to ensure that we’re able to scale really fast, not only in terms of geographical expansion (lot of moms have reached out to us from markets like Bangalore, Pune and Kolkata to name only a few to cover services in their locality) but also product delivery – so that we’re able to market ourselves to an even wider audience. We’re therefore moving fast to have our mobile app in place soon.  Screen Shot 2014-11-06 at 7.37.00 AM

Question 6 – What advice you would give to someone starting new?

Lay down your hypotheses, do initial testing, validate the results and then trust your gut and go for the kill. You may never be able to perfect anything before you launch, so let the consumer demand drive your vision after initial launch…and stick it out. At the same time, be prepared to pivot your business model a bit here and there, especially if consumers demand it.

Co-founders Bio:

Naiyya Saggi – Naiyya is the Co-founder & CEO of BabyChakra. She is a graduate of the Harvard Business School (MBA 2012) where she was a Fulbright and J.N.Tata scholar. She received her BALLB (Hons.) from National Law School, India. Prior to Babychakra, Naiyya was a management consultant at McKinsey & Company and at the Bridgespan group (Boston) where she worked extensively on her areas of passion: maternal & child health and education. Mitesh Karia – Mitesh is the Co-founder & COO of BabyChakra. He completed his MBA from Faculty of Management Studies, after graduating from Shri Ram College of Commerce, Delhi. Prior to BabyChakra, Mitesh worked as an Associate at HSBC Global Banking and at Citi Global Transaction Services, where he worked extensively in the areas of client relationship management, product and business development. website: www.babychakra.com

 

[This interview is sponsored by workspot.in , India’s leading aggregator of co-working spaces, meeting rooms and shared offices. If you have additional office space and are looking to rent it, please do list it on workspot.in. If you are looking for space for your startup, do visit workspot.in]

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