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Flexable: A better way to connect parents and childcare providers

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Flexable founders Priya Amin and Jessica Strong
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Overview:

Flexable helps parents and caregivers connect better, to find the best childcare solutions that work for everyone.  The demand for flexible work schedules is on the rise, with nearly 50% of the population projected to work on a flexible schedule by 2020.  However, the daycare industry continues to offer primarily 5 day-a-week, full time care, and has not caught up with changing demographics.  Through extensive research, we discovered that caregivers in fact want to deliver on the flexibility parents need, but simply don't have the tools to manage demand.  Current childcare tools, such as Care.com, offer parents a view of who is available to care for their children, but no technology exists yet to let parents and caregivers see and schedule WHEN care is needed.  Flexable is filling that need for daycares and in-home care providers, by building the technology that allows them to broadcast when they have open slots and manage their existing schedules. This allows caregivers to more efficiently manage their businesses.  Our management tools allow caregivers to maximize revenue potential, and meet the growing need of working parents. 

Beta Testing:

Flexable is transitioning out of the latest cohort at AlphaLab, where we performed in-depth customer research, marketing, and prototyping of the initial service offerings to childcare providers. Pre-product launch, we have 65 childcare providers (including brick-and-mortar locations and sole providers at home-based care) signed up. In two separate 2-week trial runs with parents, we helped twenty families find last-minute or on-demand care providers that met their criteria (such as within a certain zip code, available on a certain schedule, etc). This is a 100% matching rate, which definitely proved proof of concept. It also allowed us to gain valuable feedback for delivering amazing customer service: what kinds of information do childcare providers need to provide for parents to choose them for last-minute care? What is the process for a childcare provider to most easily communicate with a potential family? Both caregivers and parents were extremely enthusiastic about the ability to view the caregivers’ schedules, which virtually eliminates the back and forth conversations between parents and caregivers to secure care. Parents that need flexible childcare options (for example, a nurse that works variable shifts at UPMC and needs care on an ever-changing schedule) were ecstatic to find care exactly when they needed it, saving them time, stress and money. Caregivers were thrilled to be able to help new families find them, which brought in additional revenue and predictability.

Next Steps:

We are preparing to launch version 1.0 of the desktop-based application to childcare providers next week. The subscription-based software will allow them to upload their daycare center profile and information, then enter their availability information. On the front-end, parents will be able to search and find caregivers based on that availability (for example, a parent would search for care on a certain date and within a certain geographic area, and caregivers that match the criteria would come back in the search results for the parents to check out.) We are confident that sales will slowly and steadily grow over the next few months, especially in conjunction with a marketing push in advance of upcoming snow days and winter holidays such as Martin Luther King Day and Presidents Day. Caregivers will buy access to the software in order to be able to broadcast their availability to parents that will most certainly will be needing care in the next few months. We are expecting revenues to top $50,000 by the end of 2017, as we penetrate neighborhoods throughout Allegheny County.

The Team:

Jessica Strong is the co-founder and CEO of Flexable, and the founder and CEO of Whetstone Workgroup, a co-working space that features on-site drop-in childcare. She’s passionate about helping women succeed through entrepreneurship (whether that is a mom leaving the 9-5 to start a social media management company or a woman watching her neighbor’s kids in her home!) She received her Master’s degree in Non-Profit Management from Carnegie Mellon, and honed her managerial and leadership skills at various Pittsburgh-based non-profits, and through running her own consulting business prior to launching Whetstone and Flexable. She has three kids, and survives on coffee and peanut butter cups.

Priya Amin is the co-founder and CMO of Flexable, and brings strong product and brand management experience to the team, from her time at IBM and Nestle. After leaving the corporate world, she stayed home with her children for two years, and then launched ROKI Consulting, a marketing consultancy helping moms re-enter the professional workforce. She’s particularly passionate about helping modern parents navigate this new technological world with their kids. She received her MBA from University of Arizona. She has two boys, and prefers Skittles over chocolate. 


Submitted

Nov 30 2016

Organization Organization Type

For-profit

Challenge

Technology

Product Name

Flexable

Product Stage

Concept


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3 Comments

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Terese Jungle

12 months ago

Congrats you two!! This is what the world needs now. :-)
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Catherine Lada

11 months ago

This is a fantastic idea and love that you're already testing it. Thank you for presenting at RMU to my students as well as Dr. Stakeley's classes. You both are gifted entrepreneurs and inspirational speakers. I appreciate your sharing your insights and thoughts with our budding entrepreneurs! ~Dr. Catherine Lada
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Kamakshi

11 months ago

Congrats to both of you! What a wonderful idea! I am sure your idea would certainly be welcomed by lots of entrepreneurs. Wishing you both a successful journey on your endeavors!

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