BENGALURU: When a lot of her friends were turning parents, Naiyya Saggi, co-founder of Babychakra found that would-be mothers had a lot of questions which in the age of nuclear families were left unanswered.
Babychakra was founded as the first-of-its-kind parenting platform in India that connects parents to services and products and aims at making the whole journey hassle free.
Naiyya, a former management consultant from McKinsey and a Harvard Business school alumnus came across a piece of data about the visibly poor nutrition outcomes in Indian children, which included kids from high income families. “It showed that child nutrition was not only about access but also about information. So, when I returned to India, I wanted to start a tech venture that focused on women,” she says.
She says that Babychakra is the trusted companion for a mother since nothing like this existed in the babycare segment . “Literally when a mum logs on to Babychakra two things happen- first, she is connected to this entire ecosystem of care, so she can connect to other mothers, services and experts and also discover a range of products that are relevant to her lifestyle and locality. We have a recommendation algorithm working at the backend which personalises everything you read on Babychakra,” she tells us.
So, if a mother is not aware about breastfeeding and lactation, Babychakra gets her in touch with a lactation consultant. “We have a profile of 20,000 services but we do a lot of curating before we admit any of the services. Out of these 3,000 services are very active on a partner app where we keep on updating their details and keep selling packages through our platform. The service providers can chat with their potential customers,” she says.
The startup is helping over 30 million parents make decisions on doctors, hospitals, core blood banks, playschools, activities, events and products by strong social integration on a tech platform focusing on reviews.
The first point of interaction is virtual and then the patient can go up to the doctor, baby weaning specialist or paediatrician. Local services are provided in Mumbai, Bengaluru and Delhi. There are virtual consultation packages for people who are not able to meet and access to community, experts and content is pan-India.
In October 2016, the start-up raised Series-A funding from Seattle-based RoundGlass. In 2015, they raised $600,000 in funding from Mumbai Angels, Singapore Angel Network and the Patni Family office.
Babychakra, which has a 40-member strong team aims to have 2 million monthly users by the end of this year and capture atleast 60 per cent of the 60 million Indian moms online by next year.
It is also in the process of launching a commission based model. “We will offer packages on pre-natal planning, pre-natal yoga, birthday party planning, lactation consulting, maternity hospitals on our platform and get a commission on the sales made,” says Naiyya. The firm makes money by providing a marketing platform to companies like Johnson & Johnson, Mamypoko, Babyoye and Unilever. “Apart from the big brands, we are helping a lot of Small and Medium Enterprise (SME) brands to come up and build their brand profile through the Babychakra community,” she says.
“The supply and demand equation is fantastic and overwhelming. Women are sharing their foetus scan reports, asking what to do if they have gestational diabetes, sharing some really private information very confidently. We launched the Q&A feature 3 months back and the numbers have become 5x. It’s growing fast and I think the only challenge is that people are not appreciating how quickly women are taking to tech,” she added.