The last 24 months has seen a number of childcare focused tech applications enter the Australian market. It’s not a very forgiving space. The big question we need to ask is, ‘do parents actually care enough to use these solutions?’ If the answer to that is yes, then the follow up is certainly ‘will they pay for it?’
Hugh Podmore, Founder of Kindy seems to think he has the right platform to solve the issue; and is looking forward to building his customer base when the smartphone application launches later this week across the iOS and Android app stores.
The problem, of course, is the frustration parents face in finding a trusted, reliable babysitter or nanny to look after their children in times of urgency. And then there are times when newfound mums and dads are torn between a date night and the peace in their heart that comes from having their baby close by.
The pessimist in me looks at the competition, cocks my head sideways and says ‘I don’t know if this will work’. After all, in the last 12 months we have seen mobile application WeSit enter the market – albeit via a blackberry first solution, which is probably a big contributing factor to the limited traction. It was also part of the INCUBATE program and received some additional funding from Blackberry.
More recently, we have seen Social Hands launch in Australia – same concept but online first as opposed to mobile. To be frank, the traction appears to be pretty slow here as well, even though it’s early days. Both these new companies face serious competition by Fairfax Media owned FindaBabySitter.com.au who is pretty much the king pin in the space – at least online, rather than a smartphone first solution.
Many people say that it’s easy to take on the bigger companies as a newbie to a space, because the larger companies aren’t as agile. For me, that philosophy is circumstantial. That’s like saying this publication could reach the same readership as the Sydney Morning Herald online – it couldn’t, we are way too niche with our content and don’t cater to the masses. Therefore, it will never be the masses that religiously engage in our content.
The reason that Fairfax owns the market with its solution is because it has a database of 209,995 nannies and babysitters that parents can choose from. Building a rival database to that will take a significant amount of capital.
And maybe Podmore is the man for the job. He does in fact have some trump cards of his own to play.
First of all, Kindy just won the AUS Mobile and App Design Award for the Directory and Guides category beating Yellow Pages and OneFlare. Given other winners included the Domains and RealEstate’s of the world, it’s definitely something to have a fist pump moment about – after all, it’s never too early to be on the radar of these types of companies.
Considering early investors in Kindy include Marcus Lim and Adam Dong, founders of OneFlare, I am sure they weren’t too disappointed in missing out. They are another trump card up Podmore’s sleeve. Having built a fast-growing two-sided marketplace business themselves, Lim and Dong serve as perfect mentors. They know how to achieve major growth in the space.
The most important card Podmore has is his knowledge. He is just finishing up in his role for one of the major media organisations, which is all based around strategy on these types of products.
So will Kindy take control of a slice of this market in Australia? I guess time will tell. What’s obvious is that Podmore is very quickly surrounding himself with a team that have a proven track record of executing the exact business model he is building.