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2013-07-08 00:00:00QuickBooks Business of the WeekEnglish RivoKids

Featuring RivoKids

4 min read

“After 12 years of corporate experience in e-commerce domain and technology, I was working as freelance IT consultant for online solutions, when I felt the desire to do something more. I had established a decent client base over last 3 years and was enjoying the time flexibility that comes from being your own boss, but there was no growth path.
It was at this time that I started looking to do something different. Something that could give me scale and yet allow me the time flexibility and the ability to work from home. The first thing one needs to start a business is a partner.
I was very lucky to find Ritu who shared the same vision and goals as me”, says Parul Mittal, co-founder of Rivokids, when we asked her about what made them start-up. Added Ritu Uberoy, her partner, “It was August 2011.
After being on a break for a year I was mulling over what to do next. I had moved back from the USA in 2005 and started Saviance Technologies and grew it to a 100+ team.
Like Parul, I also wanted to do something different, something that I was truly passionate about and enjoyed. Entrepreneurship is exciting and like someone said yesterday, it’s truly like having and watching a baby take shape and grow. Parul and I connected and instantly we felt we could form a team and develop something exciting.”

This was the genesis of RivoKids, born out of their common passion and involvement in raising their kids with the right books, board games and activities. By their own admission, they too, as parents had experienced a strong need for an online Memory or Scrapbook to capture the ‘Meethi Memories’ of their Parenting journey.

RivoKids was founded to bridge this gap, and was conceptualized with the tagline – Smart Ideas & Fun Moments – to HELP parents Raise Bright, Happy, Talented Kids.

RivoKids, India’s first Community for Parents & Kids, was thus launched in August 2012.

Have you reached break-even? What has been the key to your business’s success?

RivoKids has evolved a lot in the last 10 months of its existence. We have very good traction on book reviews by kids for kids and engaging contests for kids. We have established good relationships with many book publishing houses which want their new book releases reviewed and promoted.

We received a bulk order on our unique personalized Memory Books from a leading International school for their entire Kindergarten Graduating class. Each child got a treasured keepsake which showed their unique journey through the entire school year.

The key to RivoKids success is its ability to customize for its customers, innovate and quickly launch contests to promote their brands and unique and targeted demographic of engaged parents and kids who love insightful activities and interesting contests. We are just about to break-even operationally.

What are the major challenges in your line of business and how did/do you overcome them?

The major challenge that we face in our line of business is the limited reach with a small marketing budget. Facebook has been very helpful in this regard and we are working on building a targeted, engaging community on our Facebook page.

We have fantastic contests and amazing prizes (the Grand Prize in our latest Painting Contest was Rs 11,000!) Yet it is not easy to get parents and kids to know about these contests and to participate, which is most critical for a community website.

We think that the second challenge is parents’ comfort with ordering a new product like a Memory Book online from a new website. To overcome this we are trying to get to reach parents through offline media like schools.

Do you have a mentor who guides/advices you on matters of the business? We don’t really have any specific mentor other than our friends and family.   Have you benefitted from the use of any specific technology for your regular operations? This is our biggest strength. We are very tech savvy and are able to dynamically change our contests, website look and feel, and launch new features. Using Drupal Open Source Content Management system for our website development and send Grid for our newsletters and emailers has been very helpful. We have used Facebook posts and Facebook ads very effectively to engage our audience.

What strategy do you follow for Customer Satisfaction & Expansion? We want to partner with organizations which have a physical reach to Parents and Kids to increase our user base and to provide a Value add to our Community. We are responsive to our customer queries, take their feedback into consideration and constantly stay in touch with them.

A piece of advice for those who want to start-up or are at the initial stages of starting-up – The most important advice for any start-up is to “Hang in there”. Success will come but very often it takes longer than we expect. So, have faith in yourself and your product, and the world will eventually believe you! Both Ritu and Parul come from premier tech institutes in India and have behind them years of experience in the IT industry, both in India and in the Silicon Valley in the US. No wonder then that this has been one of their biggest strengths in setting up RivoKids. And as they near their first anniversary with RivoKids, we wish them success and scale in the years ahead.

Information may be abridged and therefore incomplete. This document/information does not constitute, and should not be considered a substitute for, legal or financial advice. Each financial situation is different, the advice provided is intended to be general. Please contact your financial or legal advisors for information specific to your situation.

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