South African parenting online portal BabyGroup has expanded to eight new countries in southern Africa, opening the company’s products to a “desperate market”.
Launched in 2013, BabyGroup is an online shop specialising in baby and parenting products, as well as a platform providing information, advice and support to parents online.
Speaking to Disrupt Africa, co-founder and managing director James Townsend-Rose said the startup has 20,000 unique users with its user base doubling approximately every four months; but felt the need to open its offerings to a larger market.
By expanding to eight new countries – Namibia, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Mozambique, Zambia, Malawi, Lesotho and Swaziland – Townsend-Rose says the company’s potential market increases from 60 million in South Africa, to the combined 120 million strong market of all the countries combined.
According to Townsend-Rose, reliable and accessible parenting products and information are so sparse in the countries in which BabyGroup is now operational, that a “desperate market” has been created which the company hopes to serve.
The co-founder says the demand for an online parenting platform in the new markets was proven immediately, with the online shop receiving an order worth ZAR17,000 (US$1,480) from Mozambique within minutes of launching in the country.
Following BabyGroup’s 2013 launch, the startup secured funding from Savannah Fund in June 2014 – one of Savannah Fund’s first two investments made in South Africa.