Kiddocare: Empowering Working Women Nationwide
In early March, 11 companies were chosen to receive an investment of RM250,000 (US$61,844) each to grow their business regionally from Scale Up Malaysia and Quest Ventures.
ScaleUp Malaysia’s Cohort 2 key partner, Quest Ventures is a regional venture capital firm based out of Singapore that counts Temasek as one of their key investors. With more than 50 investments under their belt, Quest Ventures’ investments boast regional powerhouses like Carousell, 99.co and Carro.
Head’s Up will be interviewing all 11 chosen startups to discuss further on the challenges they face as a startup to grow regionally and how the investment will impact their journey moving forward.
Sixth in the list is Kiddocare, a startup looking to empower women to build careers in childcare, reduce unpaid or lowly paid care work and assist working women find proper care for their kids when it is needed.
Head’s Up speaks to Founding Chief Executive Officer, Nadira Yusoff, and Co-Founder, Muhaini Mahmud on the journey the startup has undertaken and what is in store in coming months.
Can you share more about your startup and what has the journey been like till now?
My co-founder Muhaini Mahmud and I started Kiddocare mostly because we ourselves needed the service. We are both working women juggling our careers with raising our children, and we face the same problem; the dearth of on-demand childcare. The entrepreneurs in us quickly saw a gap in existing services, with very specific needs neglected by the industry in the short-term, on-demand, on location niche.
And long story short; Kiddocare was born. Other than the woes of working moms, we also recognise that there are also many women who provide childcare that are either not paid, or lowly paid, so to kill two birds with one stone, we built Kiddocare as a platform to empower women to build careers in childcare, reduce unpaid or lowly paid care work, and assist working women find proper care for their kids when it is needed.
And to address the issue of trust and the lack of training in care workers currently faced by the industry, we also ensure that all women onboarded as carers are trained, vetted via background check, certified in CPR and first aid, and are monitored during service.
It was a long and difficult journey from that fateful day Muhaini and I came up with the idea till now, but it is an exciting one, and I believe worthwhile.
Were you confident of getting selected to receive the investment?
In the startup world, nothing is certain, but you will not get anywhere if you are not confident in yourself and what you are doing. So yeah, I was certain that we had a good chance, because I believe in what we do.
How will you be utilising the 250k investment coming from the partnership?
We will be using the money to develop our tech platform so that we can begin to scale up our operations nationwide, and soon, regionally.
What are the challenges a startup like yours face in growing regionally?
For many startups the problem with regional growth is product fit, proper mindset and planning. To put it simply you need to tailor your product and get your head in the game.
How Scale Up has helped us for example, is in getting us to look at our product and recognise what needs to be fitted regionally, and how we should put a plan into motion to actually get it out there. We know what we want, but the mentoring helped us see how to do it. So instead of struggling by ourselves, we have their helping hand and wise experience to lean on.
Which country do you think holds the biggest potential to market your product?
Right now we are looking to dominate the Malaysian market first, but we believe there is potential for us to expand into Singapore, Indonesia and the Philippines next, with the rest of ASEAN and the region to follow.
The pandemic has proven to be some of the most challenging times for a lot of businesses. How did you overcome the challenges?
It was very challenging for us too, it cut down customer demand and limited our supply of carers, due to travel restrictions, and fear of infection. To mitigate this, we came up with additional stringent Covid-19 service SOPs, in addition to our regular SOPs, to ensure the safety of our carers, our clients and their kids.
For example, we require health declarations from clients and carers before service. We also require our clients to ensure the safety and cleanliness of the service location. On our part we make sure our carers change into fresh clothes before service, regularly wash/sanitise their hands and wear masks and/or gloves during service.
This serves to inculcate the trust of our clients in our service during the time of the pandemic, and helps to increase the confidence of our carers to accept jobs. We also need to be extra vigilant in vetting clients and carers for those with exposure to the virus, to mitigate the risk of infection.
Thankfully our carers and clients were honest and forthcoming with their declarations and followed SOPs, this helped us operate more safely.
What opportunities do you think this investment will give rise to for your startup in the long term?
It will give us a foothold, in our journey to dominate the Asian market and beyond.
How important do you think these initiatives are for startups in the country?
Extremely crucial. As it not only gives the needed fiscal impetus to grow and move forward, but also helps open doors and minds, via the access, networking, contacts and mentoring provided.
We would also like to thank our mentors from Scale Up Malaysia for this wonderful opportunity that they have accorded us, and look forward to the bright future that this experience will lead us to.
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