Women's Forum Singapore: Search for activities for kids led to start-up

Ms Sumedha Khoche created KinderPass, a Web platform for parents looking for activities for their children up to age six, after being frustrated in her search for services and activities that are flexible and reasonably priced.
Ms Sumedha Khoche created KinderPass, a Web platform for parents looking for activities for their children up to age six, after being frustrated in her search for services and activities that are flexible and reasonably priced.PHOTO: SIPA PRESS AND LAURYN ISHAK

KinderPass online platform among four businesses to win start-up pitch contest

Ms Sumedha Khoche, who gave birth to a daughter in 2016, found there were very few activities or programmes for young children that offer a look-see or trial before parents commit to a package.

A couple she knows paid $500 to enrol their son for art lessons only to find the four-year-old losing interest after three sessions.

"Finding good services and activities was not easy," Ms Sumedha, 37, who was a regional brand manager at Procter & Gamble, said.

"Most places that offer a one-off session charge a lot more for it, so parents often feel compelled to buy a package to save money."

So Ms Sumedha, who also worked for a start-up before setting up her own last October, channelled her frustration into creating a Web platform for parents looking for activities for their children up to age six.

KinderPass, as it is called, is subscription-based and offers an on-demand service. For example, parents can search the site for something they can do with their children, say, on a Saturday morning, and book the activity. Parents can also cancel or reschedule an activity.

"We give parents the best of both worlds, flexibility and savings," said Ms Sumedha.

For her brainchild, she was one of the winners yesterday of the Women-led Start-up Pitch Contest organised by Women's Forum Singapore. She said she intends to develop a mobile app next and expand into other Asean countries and India.

In the contest held at Facebook Singapore at South Beach Tower, 10 women-led start-ups presented their business venture and expansion plans before a panel of judges.

Said Ms Sandhya Devanathan, one of the judges who is country director of Facebook Singapore: "Every day, we see the amazing ways women entrepreneurs overcome the odds to build businesses on our platform that not only transform their lives, but also have a positive impact on the economy and their communities. When women do better, economies do better."

Four start-ups, including KinderPass, were named winners, with the top prize awarded to Eainchat, a leading digital food media platform in Myanmar.

Co-created by Ms Hsu Hnin Htike, 24, just a year ago, Eainchat offers step-by-step video tutorials on cooking not just Myanmar food but also dishes from other countries. She said she hopes to create a mobile app so that more people can access her videos.

The other two winners are Fast Track Trade, a Singapore-based digital trade platform for small and medium-sized enterprises, and Myanmar start-up My Health Care, which matches people who have health concerns to healthcare service providers who answer their questions online.

Ms Clara Gaymard, executive president of the international Women's Forum for the Economy and Society who was on the judging panel, said she was inspired by the women and their projects.

"I am so impressed by the quality of the projects, by (the women's) energy, by their courage, by their resilience. They are building the world of tomorrow. They are taking care of others. They are meaningful businesses," she said. "This is really the spirit of the young women willing to be the drivers of the future."

About 700 delegates from across the world attended the first Women's Forum Singapore, a three-day event at Raffles City Convention Centre that ended yesterday. The Straits Times was a media partner.

The Singapore forum is part of the Women's Forum for the Economy and Society, which aims to foster women's leadership for social progress and economic impact.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on September 15, 2018, with the headline 'Search for activities for kids led to start-up'. Print Edition | Subscribe