Like Uber but for babysitting, Kindy is a mobile app that helps parents to find carers to watch their children.
The Sydney-based startup launched its app only three months ago but has already won awards including first place at OzAPP 2015.
Computerworld Australia sat down with co-founders Hugh Podmore, CEO, and Kristian Tasevski, CTO, to talk about their success so far, the future of the app and their views on the Australian startup scene.
With Kindy, parents can post ads for nannies and sitters that push notifications to local child carers who have signed up for the service. When a sitter responds to the ad, parents can view the carer’s profile and contact them directly through the app in a messaging interface similar to WhatsApp.
In the current version of Kindy, parents and babysitters must set up their own payment arrangements. However, Kindy is working on Stripe integration, expected for release shortly, that will let parents set up one-time or recurring payments with carers.
Kindy vets each carer by looking at his or her government-issued ID number for the Working With Children Check, and cross checking the number against their photo ID. The check is run by state governments in Australia. While carers do not need to submit the Working With Children code, those who pass Kindy’s vetting process get to display a “verified” badge in their profile.
Parents can also leave ratings for carers. The startup is considering adding a method for carers to rate parents, much like how in Uber drivers can rate their passengers.
In most cases, parents meet with carers in person before putting them in charge of their children, but the app does not require it.
Kindy is available in all mainland Australian capital cities.
The app has taken a mobile-first approach and supports Android and Apple mobile devices. Kindy has a Web presence so that users can, for example, share URLs for carer profiles. However, the website does not have the core functionality of the app, including posting ads or communications.
“There are competitors to our product, but they’re very much old-style Web directories,” says Podmore.
While those competitors are now adding mobile services, Kindy has the advantage of designing for mobile first, he says.
Tasevski adds, “There was not an obvious app that we could take inspiration from.”
Funding and development
Kindy is about one year old. It started development in April 2014 and launched the app in October. Including Podmore and Tasevski, there are six people on the team.
Podmore says he got the idea while helping a colleague with Web design and online marketing for a brick-and-mortar nanny agency.
“I realised there’s a big problem here, but that traditional model really couldn’t help people. For these kinds of marketplaces to work, you need Internet scale to be able to match people up together.”
After pitching the idea to Tasevski and other friends, the startup Kindy was born.
So far, the startup has been largely bootstrapped, though it recently received USD$100,000 for winning the top prize at the OzAPP awards. Kindy has recently opened an angel investment round.
“We’re at the stage where we’ve got a product to market, [and] we’ve validated it with some early customers, showing very positive signs,” says Podmore. “We’re looking for a small amount of investment, in the hundreds of thousands [of dollars] rather than the millions.”
Kindy has received advice from OneFlare, another Sydney startup, and the startups share office space. Tasevski designed the iPhone app for OneFlare, and the Kindy co-founders used to work with OneFlare founder Marcus Lim at Deloitte.
Next page: How Kindy won at OzAPP