Yes, the concept of e-parenting does exist. Africa’s innovative tech startups have developed a myriad of online and mobile solutions aimed at helping parents navigate the minefield of child-raising. Here Disrupt Africa brings you five e-parenting solutions that will make your life a whole lot easier.
Let’s start before baby has arrived. Cameroonian startup GiftedMom provides an SMS platform for maternal engagement, which sends automated weekly stage-based and customized information and reminders to pregnant women and new mothers on when to go for their antenatal care or take their baby for vaccination.
GiftedMom also provides a two-way SMS service, so a woman with concerns can also text MOM followed by her health concern to a local number to get instant advice from a medical doctor.
Launched in 2013, registrations quickly surpassed 4,000 women in Cameroon, prompting expansion to Nigeria.
The startup has raised over US$120,000 in funding, including from ALN Ventures; and has gained recognition from the likes of the African Startup Award of the New York Forum on Africa, which came with a grant of EUR50,000 (US$55,527); and the MasterCard Foundation’s Anzisha Prize.
You, Baby and I
Baby has arrived, and you’re finding it tough to access advice and information on raising a child and what products to buy.
This was exactly the personal experience that prompted husband and wife duo Shanéy and Vije Vijendranath to launch online marketing company You, Baby and I.
You, Baby and I specialises in helping mothers connect with one another through personal stories of motherhood.
Mothers are able to connect with other mothers via the platform, looking for recommendations on their needs or finding events relevant to them. The company also helps brands connect with mothers for marketing exposure.
Launched in 2014, the startup is now profitable and using its revenues to expand to the US. In March this year, the platform hit the 100,000 monthly visitor milestone.
South African startup BabyGroup also operates an online parenting portal, featuring an e-commerce store specialising in baby and parenting products, as well as a platform providing information, advice and support to parents.
Launched in 2013, BabyGroup secured funding from Savannah Fund in June 2014 – one of Savannah Fund’s first two investments made in South Africa. By January 2015, the startup had scaled to eight new markets around Africa.
Baby’s all grown up, and it’s time for him or her to go off to school. Nigerian startup mytoddlr has got just the solution to help you keep up to date with your child’s welfare while at school.
mytoddlr is a mobile communication and collaboration application that helps busy parents interface with their child’s pre-school or creche throughout the day.
Via a real-time feed, parents receive information on their child’s activity throughout the day, and are able to track milestones and new habits. Parents can enrol authorised adults to pick up their child, and receive alerts when they are picked up or dropped off. Reminders can be set, pictures and videos can be sent, while parents also have access to certain “child analytics”.
mytoddlr quickly started to gain traction in its launch market of Lagos, and is earning revenues from users that remain on the service after their free 30-day trial period. The startup plans pan-Nigerian, followed by pan-African expansion across this year.
Your child is struggling at school, and needs a bit of extra help. But how do you find a top quality tutor to give your child the best possible extra-curricular help?
Nigerian startup Prepclass is on hand to help, offering an online platform where students and parents can access vetted tutors, and book time with them.
Originally launched to market in January 2014 as a platform offering test and exam preparation help for students in Nigeria; the founders soon realised there is “more value in connecting students to teachers who [can]truly help them understand difficult concepts, rather than merely giving them a screen full of text”.
The startup puts tutors wishing to be listed on the platform through a rigorous multi-stage vetting process, to ensure only top-quality, qualified tutors are visible on the platform.
Prepclass made US$100,000 in revenues in 2015, and is aiming to grow this to US$500,000 by the end of this year.
Currently only available in Lagos, the startup is in the process of scaling to Abuja and Port Harcourt; and has ambitions to take its service across Africa. In the near future Prepclass will be looking to raise US$1 million to enable it to begin its pan-African expansion.