First-time parents often book “Mommy & Me” meetups, sleep consultants, lactation or music classes, and other infant-centered activities to entertain the baby — and to be honest, leave the house. As Sara Davison found out, however, finding top-rated activities or instructors through Google alone could prove difficult, if not impossible.
“It just really surprised me that there wasn’t a way that I could easily connect with service providers for new parents, people like me,” Davison tells Hypepotamus. “Then, I found a common thread while talking to businesses that support families: they all struggle to get their services discovered.”
Originally from Australia, Davison started her family services marketplace Kinly in Melbourne to connect new families and help them book family services that they need at the time. However, her husband’s job brought her to the U.S. nearly two years ago — specifically, Raleigh, North Carolina — where she planted roots in the local tech community and started growing Kinly.
Once Davison moved to the U.S., she discovered that Raleigh businesses had started using Kinly’s marketplace as more than just a marketing discovery tool. Through customer discovery over the past eight months, Davison saw that these businesses were using the platform as a way to manage bookings — and she saw it as a way to add more features.
Thanks to that information, Kinly became an all-in-one booking platform for family services that takes new parents from discovery all the way to payment. The new mom technology economy has exploded in recent years — in fact, Forbes currently values this market at $46 billion.
“Three minutes on Kinly versus two or three hours of their time a week trying to do menial tasks, which then frees them up to grow their business and focus on what they love to do,” says Davison. “Businesses are really seeing the value and then bringing on other colleagues through word of mouth onto the platform.”
The platform’s automation capabilities became a big selling point for businesses that typically spent days chasing payments, she says.
Focusing on the first year of parenting, the parent can jump on the marketplace and access Kinly’s forum to connect with other parents in the area. If they’re looking for a specific service, like baby CPR classes or child photographers, they can find those through the marketplace, along with customer reviews and availability.
With a few clicks, they can book and confirm appointments, pay for services ahead of time, and get reminders as service dates gets closer.
Kinly currently charges a small commission fee when bookings get confirmed. A percentage of each booking goes to a global organization dedicated to helping vulnerable children in communities around the world.
“As CEO, I’m really focused on building a sustainable business that also gives back to the community here and overseas. Our motto is around that — every home and every child should have access to the services that helps their wellbeing and help them thrive,” says Davison.
To date, Kinly has processed more than 3,000 bookings. The Raleigh-based startup continues to be bootstrapped for the foreseeable future as it focuses on customer acquisition. Most recently, Kinly received a $10,000 NC IDEA grant through the foundation’s MICRO program.
Davison shares that despite the difference in healthcare systems between Australia and the U.S., she saw that the needs of first-time parents are universal. “I think the need for support during that first year is needed, no matter where you are.”