Online community Parentune seeks to empower parents
Parentune.com, an online pro-parent community, is seeking to empower parents by providing them with help, advice and support in parenting. The site is doing so by offering a number of sections that include Parent talk, which allows parents to put up a query on which other parents can come and share their views; Reviews which allows parents to post their reviews on products and services (like books read, diapers used, etc.) and parenting blog, which includes blogs written by parents as well as experts.
It also has other sections including My Parentune, which contains the users profile and a 'my interests' option that enables users to optimise the site according to their interests and Education, a dedicated page that has queries on topics like which school to enrol the child in, admission procedures, among others. The section also offers school ranking (for pre-school and schools) done by parents themselves and an admission corner.
Its Nutrition section provides information on everything related to a child's nutrition, a News section, Polls, where queries are put up by parents as well as the company for getting views of other parents on the site; Guidelines- to help parents get the most out of the site and an Experts section which allows the users to get expert opinions. The site also allows the parents to interact with each other by going to their pages.
Proparents Solutions Pvt Ltd, the startup behind Parentune.com was founded by Nitin Pandey in April 2012. He has earlier worked at companies like iDiscoveri Education Pvt Ltd, Zee Learn, L'Oreal (India) Pvt Ltd, Apollo Tyres Ltd, Becton & deckinson and Leo Burnett and is also the founder and CEO of Learnmile.com, an education-focused startup. An IIM-Bangalore, alumnus, Pandey also holds a degree in Post Graduate Programme in marketing/operations from International Management Institute, New Delhi.
The startup used the first three months to do research and develop the technology needed for the site after which it went live in September this year. The site already has 3,000 registered users as of now and is getting over 60,000 visitors on a monthly basis.
The site was first opened up to everyone, but as of now only parents can signup on the site and the company actually follows a multi-step verification process in order to ensure the authenticity of the members. The first stage is getting identification of the parents and the child's details, after which an existing member on the site or another parent has to vouch for the user. Visitors can see parts of the content offered, but have to signup for full access.
"The reason for only allowing parents on the site is that they are usually weary of sharing sensitive details about their children on open networks like social networking sites. Having a secure place for them to interact with each other helps build confidence and overcome stigma," said Pandey.
To start the company, Pandey used his own money along with getting funds from family and friends.
"As of now, we have already crossed the milestones that we had set for the first five months," said Pandey. "We will look for funding once we cross the 10,000 user's mark," he added.
As of now, the startup is not generating revenues, but it will look at a number of revenue streams. These will include ads, as well as school listing, by which the company will charge schools that want to be present on the education section on the site and Events, where parents can connect with experts face to face, which could be sponsored by brands that offer child products.
It is also seeking to cash in on 'Sampling of brands'. Normally, when brands get their products sampled more often than not the products end up being sampled by people who won't be the end users of the product. In this case, they (the brands) will have access to a pool of parents for their sampling and parents will get free new products to sample. The company will charge a fee for sampling from the brands.
The Gurgaonâ€“based startup has a team size of 14 as of now, including the founder. It plans to open an office in Mumbai since the site is very popular among parents there. The company also wants to expand abroad and will use the funds (that it is planning to raise) for the same.
(Edited by Prem Udayabhanu)