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Exclusive: Parenting app BabyBerry halts operations

Exclusive: Parenting app BabyBerry halts operations
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Bengaluru-based parenting app BabyBerry, operated by CereBrahm Innovations Pvt. Ltd, has suspended its app-based services.

While TechCircle was able to install the mobile app from the Google Play Store, attempts to register, login and use it were unsuccessful.

At least 22 customer feedback queries on the Google Play Store page, dated between 25 June and 13 August this year, indicated that users were unable to login and use the app. The company did not respond to the user queries on the page and its desktop site does not load as well.

It is uncertain whether BabyBerry has temporarily halted operations or if it has shut down. When contacted, Balasubramanian Venkatachalam, co-founder and chief executive of the startup, declined to comment immediately.

“We will look into the issue, identify it and get back to you soon,” he told TechCircle without elaborating further.

In February 2016, the company had secured $1 million (Rs 6.8 crore then) in angel funding from industrialist Nitin Bagmane, director at commercial real estate venture Bagmane Group, and a bunch of undisclosed investors.

CereBrahm Innovations

Launched in November 2015 by Venkatachalam, Subhashini Subramaniam and Dev Vig, the company operates two products—BabyBerry and CereBrate.

BabyBerry was the child health and wellness platform designed for new-age parents. The app provided features around digital vaccination, health records management and doctor discovery, besides other services. It also offered personalised content from experts such as paediatricians, nutritionists and psychologists.

The startup's Google Play Store app, which was updated in April 2017, had been installed more than 1 lakh times. The iOS app version could not be found.

Its other product, CereBrate, is a data analytics platform that caters to clients such as Manipal Hospital, Fortis Healthcare, Cloudnine Hospitals and Milann fertility centres. With this product, the hospitals can conduct surveys and collect and analyse customer feedback in real time. According to the website, this venture still is operational.

For the financial year 2016-17, the company recorded a nearly three-fold decline in operational revenues to Rs 8.56 lakh, from Rs 25.16 lakh the year before. Likewise, gross expenses marginally widened to Rs 1.83 crore, up from Rs 1.19 crore in the previous year. Consequently, net losses widened to Rs 3.11 crore, up from Rs 92.25 lakh the previous year.

Based on the company’s financial statements, the company’s source of revenue was through the sale of services and products. It appears that BabyBerry had no revenue model to it and had been a free offering.

Deals in the space

The Indian parenting app space has seen a clutch of investor deals between 2015 to early 2017 but since that time, funding in the space has been muted.

While startups such as Tinystep, BabyChakra, Healofy, Mycity4kids and Kidstoppress offer a social platform for parents to connect with various stakeholders, ventures such as First Cry, Hopscotch, Mamaearth and The Moms Co. sell baby products online.

In June this year, a report in financial daily Mint said that baby products e-tailer FirstCry was in talks to raise $100-150 million from multiple investors, including Singapore state investment firm Temasek, Chinese internet conglomerate Tencent and a Chinese investment firm.

In April, Honasa Consumer Pvt. Ltd, which owns and operates babycare products startup Mamaearth, raised an undisclosed amount in equity investment from Bollywood actress and entrepreneur Shlipa Shetty Kundra.

In March this year, Healofy, a pregnancy-parenting social network, raised $1 million (Rs 6.4 crore) in seed funding from impact investor Omidyar Network.

In December 2017, Delhi-based online maternity and parenting lifestyle management startup Baby Destination raised $312,000 (Rs 2 crore) from GEMs Partners, a micro venture capital fund, and Tariq Khan, an angel investor based in New York. 

Around the same time, Sheroes, the women’s-focused career platform, acquired Delhi-based child healthcare startup Babygogo.

A number of other startups in the segment, such as baby products e-tailers The Moms Co. and Hopscotch, parenting app BabyOnBoard, parenting blog and kids’ events discovery startup mycity4kids (now rebranded as Momspresso) and parenting social network Tinystep raised capital last year.

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