Becoming a new parent is no easy journey. Undoubtedly an unforgettable and joyful experience, yet, there are still many challenges and unknowns. Oftentimes, it can be overwhelming and lonely for new parents, learning how to navigate the parenting world with little to no experience. As a result, telecare app MissPoppins was born, founded by Medha Nicky Rishi.
We spoke with Nicky on how she came up with her startup’s idea and the steps she’s taken to turn MissPoppins into a reality.
As a new parent, I realized how we’re over-serviced in our modern world with everything like food delivery, transportation, and digital media. But, we are lacking an adequate support infrastructure for the most fundamental element of our society: the Parent. That experience was very personal to me when I had my twin boys a couple of years ago, and everything was so fragmented in terms of support and services. Mary Poppins is this wonderful Disney character, renowned and beloved all over the world. And I thought, hey, let’s actually use that trademark to create an app that will help parents understand how to raise their children well.
MissPoppins was dreamt as the modern parent village, re-imagined virtually. Our app gives you real-time access to childcare experts, an extensive childcare content library, and a mentorship program, so you are fully supported through your parenthood journey.
With HIPAA-compliant proprietary chat and video-based telecare app technology, the MissPoppins app instantly connects parents and childcare experts. As a new parent, you may have hundreds of questions, and you’ll be able to access a childcare expert in real time via chat, video, or phone call. We’ve curated an extensive library on various childcare topics—such as sleep, nutrition, feeding, and developmental stages.
We also created a mentorship community for our parents, so you’re not frazzled by large groups on Facebook or random apps where you get lost in the answers. Our program pairs you up with a “mentor mom” or “mentor dad”, via our AI/ML algorithm.
In the start-up world, it’s not about the idea but its execution. In the VC world, the first investment is often made based on the founding team’s caliber.
We had looked at established, mature companies like Twillio, but Tellescope offered a similar model that was more customizable and flexible. As conversations progressed, we gained tremendous confidence in their execution abilities. They were relatively new in the space and really disrupting the digital health platform. This gave us more confidence to go in with them as partners rather than with an antiquated or pre-established, rigid vendor.
It’s been phenomenal because of the simple fact that they’re really good at receiving feedback. We all know that Tellescope is still in the startup phase. For them to continue improving and understanding customer feedback and building upon that, and committing to the deliverable is important.
A good rule of thumb for any start-up is to always build a Minimal Viable Product (MVP) off of discovery research. Before you even do product market fit experimentation, you have to understand the barebone requirements you’re going to launch your beta with. As a seasoned HR executive, I was used to finding creative and effective solutions to problem statements. For MissPoppins, our target audience is new parents. And because I’m a new twin-mom myself, MissPoppins was a very personal labor of love and the initial specs of a digital modern village were born.
You would have thought there would be a lowest common denominator in terms of what difficulties new parents face. Every parent has different sets of challenges because their experience is customized to their journey, circumstances and upbringing. We had to look at various patterns to understand the commonalities.
Our biggest differentiators are our all-inclusive platform for multiple specialities, asynchronous app technology, and mentorship program. What we like to call our three C’s: chat, content, and community.
What we’re doing is carving out a niche space. Telemedicine exists. Various support-based apps exist. What doesn’t exist is a specialized parent-tech industry that is truly disruptive. Many companies working in our space have very specialized offerings, none of them provide an all-inclusive platform for parents to come get all their needs addressed. They’re more of a marketplace format which means things are delayed. We are the only platform that has all of the specialists that you need for the first most crucial few years as a brand-new parent. We’re replacing about $5,000 worth of parenting services and solutions that new parents spend in the first two years hiring doulas, lactation consultants, sleep coaches; with a very small fraction of the cost. And we’re the ones doing it all-inclusive in real time.
There are a couple of mental health apps like Ginger.io where you have real time specialists’ access. Others such as Peanut, Parenthood, Kinedu exist with different targeted solutions.
Our primary target is new moms. We’re hoping with the modern generation framework, dads are relatively as involved as well. Through our community outreach, support groups, and viral marketing, we will be focusing on targeting a heavily female audience.
Some key specialities on our platform will include postpartum doula support and counseling services that are vital to a new mom’s overall health and happiness.
Initially with our launch, we will start out with a smaller number of practitioners. Through Tellescope’s technology, we can ensure seamless conversations and transitions between practitioners in the backend. The analytics are available to support any future changes we need to make. At the moment, we are scaling small to see how many inquiries come in. On average, pediatricians have patient loads of about 2000 to 2500 clients. In order for us to be scalable, we only need a couple hundred clients per practitioner. We’ll eventually switch over to preserving the user experience to AI/ML-based chatbot model for frequently asked questions. This allows for us to have an efficiency factor as well.
I am fascinated by the gig economy and our consumer industry. I have technical degrees in biochemistry and managerial economics. But, for fun, I also have a masters in fashion. It made me realize how much wastage is polluting our world. So in anything and everything I do, the conservation aspect is big, including in the parenting and baby industry. I would like to add features around a rental marketplace for non-disposable long-term goods such as strollers, car seats, clothes, toys, etc. And eventually, the grand vision includes being the gig-economy marketplace for all childcare specialists.
We are the place for you to learn about the most important lessons and learnings in life: how to raise the future generation. We are thrilled to bring this vision to life globally, and make history.
Originally published: October 20, 2022
Last updated: January 20, 2023