Flipkart backs parenting network TinyStep with $2 million investment

Indian e-commerce firm Flipkart is in the midst of transition after it welcomed a new CEO this month, but that hasn’t stopped it from investing $2 million in parenting startup TinyStep.

TinyStep operates a parenting service that focuses on providing information, advice and a social network for parents. The network covers pregnancy, baby and toddler stages to help guide would-parents through the (inevitably) stressful period that comes with welcoming a newborn into the world. There’s also a “mums-only” segment where women can ask questions with a higher level of privacy.

Founder Suhail Abidi told TechCrunch that the TinyStep’s website currently sees around 500,000 monthly visitors, with around 25,000-30,000 users active on its Android app and mobile website. An iOS app is due to be launched “in the next few weeks,” he added.

Abidi said he plans to use the money from Flipkart to increase the company’s currently 30 employees, particularly on tech side, and raise the marketing spend to help grow the service’s audience.

Monetization is also near the top of his mind. The service currently draws revenue by charging brands to have a page on the service — much like a Facebook Page — with additional charges based on metrics like the number of messages, total audience reached and an option to ‘boost’ their messages. Abidi said the team is working to formalize these costs so that it can offer pages on a self-service model to any brand that wants to engage the TinySteps community.

In addition to bringing more brands and service providers to the table through pages, he said that TinyStep will increase the amount of content it creates for its community. That’s aimed at raising engagement with existing users and bringing in first time members through ‘content marketing’ — i.e. stories that catch their eye and get them to visit the site.

Integrating e-commerce would seem like a logical step given this investment from Flipkart and that the service’s target audience is young women with families, typically the demographic that has greatest influence on household spending. However, Abidi said there’s no immediate plan to do so. Flipkart, he added, would be one e-commerce brand that would be considered in the future, but not the only one.

“We love this team. They work at an impressive speed and it’s great to see how well they’re doing. It’s a competitive space with a demanding audience, but the plans look great and Tinystep is sure to do justice to everything they’ve set out to do,” said Flipkart head of corporate development Nishant Verman.

It’s certainly a competitive space. In just the past year alone, BabyChakra and MyCity4Kids are among the rivals to have raised early-stage funding for similar products.