parenting

Baby-sitting for corporate mothers goes hip
Business Line, 15 March 2001


Offline venture by parenting portal to help companies retain talent.

The parenting portal, Indiaparenting.com, is planning to set up crèches for corporates ranging from MNCs to small software companies.

With this offline venture, the portal intends to stretch the equity of the parenting portal. The crèches will be under the IndiaParenting brandname.

Explaining the rationale behind setting up this venture, Ms. Nirali Sanghi, President & CEO, IndiaParenting.com, says, "While the dotcom will remain a backbone of the company, we expect the offline venture to contribute primarily to the revenues."

She adds, "With corporates finding it tough to retain talent, this HR incentive might just make employees rethink before quitting their jobs."

To be setup either within the corporate office or at a separate residential complex owned by the corporate, this brick-and-mortar venture is expected to contribute nearly 90 per cent of the companies' revenues in the next three years.

The company will take care of children between six weeks and six years. And, as value-added exercise, the company will keep some synergy between its online and offline business. For instance, there are plans to introduce a Web camera on its site, whereby the child playing at the crèche could be shown to its parents at work. 

Besides its existing panels of consulting doctors, educationists, child psychologists and numerologists will also be roped in to manage the crèches. 

Corporates such as ICICI, Hindustan Lever Ltd and Pfizer have been approached for providing their employees with crèche services. Adds Ms. Sanghi, "In most cases, the corporate clients will be bearing a certain percentage of the cost, while the remaining will be borne by the employee."

Taking its cue from companies based in the US, in India, the crèche business has never been professionally managed. IndiaParenting expects to be the first professionally managed crèche in the country.

Meanwhile, IndiaParenting wants to graduate from being just a dotcom to a media and family service company. As Ms. Sanghi says, "In the future, we intend getting into other media entities."

There will be magazines and compact discs under the IndiaParenting brand as part of its other offline initiatives in the future.

Besides, the portal will be offering online market research for its clients who want to compare themselves with their competitors. "We will be holding preference polls across brands which will give real time results for our clients," says Ms. Sanghi.

With regular feedback sent across to its clients about their products, IndiaParenting expects to generate another revenue stream for itself.

With corporates like J&J, Kodak, Smithkline Beecham and HLL sponsoring some of its sites, real time valuation of their respective brands across product categories through questionnaires filled by surfers will give a fair idea about the popularity of a particular product or brand. 

"It will give companies a platform to interact with their consumers, reflecting the latter's buying habits," says Ms. Sanghi.

Although the portal sources its revenue from e-commerce and advertising, it will not be enough to sustain the business from its online revenues. Thus, the company hopes to bring in the necessary revenues through its offline initiatives, whereby it will tie up with corporates for the crèche business. 

"We plan to get operational with our crèches within the next six months," states Ms. Sanghi. 

With herself as the sole promoter of the portal, IndiaParenting has also received $4 million funding from ICICI Ventures, Infinity and other venture capitalists.

"We do not need more funds and will be investing for our offline activities from the same funds," she says. The portal company hopes to break even in the next two years. 

Launched in 1999, IndiaParenting intends becoming a one stop-shop for any corporates childcare requirement.
 
 

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