Children are our future. Teach them well and let them lead the way! Most customers of kartenmacherei, our very first venture, are moms and dads and some of us are parents, too.
Solving parenting issues and making family life easier is close to our hearts and to our heritage. That is why we have collaborated with the Center of Digital Technology and Management (CDTM) on a parentech trend study. The 25 students involved, ideated five innovative solutions and business models in this field (download the full report here).
Are you also working on a business idea that promotes children's health, physical, mental or intellectual development or that helps parents to develop healthy parenting habits?
Maybe we can invest in and work with you!
Parentech represents an enormous market opportunity. The estimated market size is about $46 billion in the USA alone, with $500 million of funding into companies within the sector since 2013, according to Forbes. It is also an exciting space for innovators as digitally savvy millennial parents are asking for sophisticated digital solutions that genXers and boomers did not. From wireless breast pumps to organic baby food delivery, founders innovating in this space are using technology to address needs like parenting know-how, babysitting solutions, educational tools, healthy nutrition, family communications, and much more.
Here the 6 recent phenomena that we observed:
#1 High-invest parenting as status symbol
When birth rates are dropping, children become a precious good. A strong development towards raising smaller, in some cases, one-child-families pressure parents to invest in and focus more heavily on their child's upbringing. Parents may also feel a sense of pressure to provide best-in-class parenting to be able to compete with their peers. High-investment parenting can develop into a status symbol.
Two smash-hits in Europe are Tonies, easy-to-use audio-systems for little children to play, learn, laugh, listen to stories without bright screens or complicated controls, and Woombikes, lightweight ergonomic bikes especially developed for children that turn learning how to ride a bike in an easy-peasy exercise, even for 3-year-olds. Both solutions that claim to support and accelerate the development and learning of very young children, come at a high price, the luxurious Woom Bikes with prices 3 times higher than a regular kids bike.
#2 On-demand parenting advice
The millennial generation of parents is busy and willing to pay for faster and convenient services. The increase in on-demand services is changing how parents get access to products and services. While in the past advice on how to care for newborns was delivered through print books, in the tech-driven world know-how becomes readily available through on-demand parenting courses.
Like the ones offered by Tinyhood. The digital resource is designed to support new parents on their journey of starting a family by offering professionally-led classes and consultations on infant safety, how to introduce solids, breastfeeding, and more. Another example for ad hoc parenting advice is Family punk, Germany's first digital coach for parents addressing questions around education, family life, and parenthood with content and courses based on scientific findings, developed with experts. Parents can also book an individual parent coaching session via phone or video chat.
#3 Parental work leisure balance
As traditional family models are changing and more parents become dual-earners or single mums and dads, quality time with children as well as good childcare will become more critical. The conflict of balancing job and family has been pushed to an extreme during COVID-19 pandemic. When public daycare facilities and schools shut down, parents had to take care of their children at home whilst managing their job duties in home office (if they had the privilege of being able to work from home!). You could observe families adopting workplace productivity tools like Trello or Asana to manage their children's homeschooling and family routines when what was once just home had become a school and workplace.
This development impacts task distribution within the family and encourages the outsourcing of parental responsibilities to other family members, friends, professional institutions and services or, according to the CDTM parent tech study, extrapolating this trend to future scenarios, to robots!
When children spend more time without their parents, parents will need to put effort into maintaining a healthy relationship actively. Therefore, the need for quality time, where families engage in shared activities will grow. Playfully is an app designed to help busy parents spend more meaningful moments nurturing their children. Created for parents of children aged 0-3, Playfully partners with developmental experts to bring parents quick, fun, and easy activities they can play with their children, everyday.
#4 Individualized education
Individualized education is on the rise, covering alternative schooling models such as Montessori, Waldorf, home-schooling, as well as online learning systems which becomes available to a broader range of children and make individualized education available at a lower cost. Within these models, content and speed of learning are adapted to the individual needs of each child, thus yielding better results than through traditional ways of educating.
With schools closed and children in many parts around the world learning at home due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the already existing trend towards providing additional learning experiences for children has become a major challenge. Parents of early years children in the UK were concerned about finding enough work to keep their children occupied during this extended period of home learning. With the help of other parents sending in links, videos, activities, and resources to share with others, they created a home learning school, a virtual space of fresh daily content, categorized by key stage and topic.
Solutions like Vikidz aim to make teaching and learning in classroom and at home easier and more enjoyable for children and adults, whilst enabling the tracking of individual progress. Vikidz uses avatars and a game-based learning methodology. Through healthy competition, it generates experiences that reinforce the knowledge taught in the classroom.
#5 Mental health for children
Access to high quality, specialized medical attention is crucial for children's development. Until now, public healthcare services provide families with insufficient healthcare, and parents turn to the private sector to satisfy their family needs. The mental healthcare sector is mainly affected by the lack of resources from the government, while the need for specialized healthcare for children is on the rise. Increasing investments of both public and private entities release parents from substantial medical expenses to provide their children with the required healthcare services:
For the first time, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved a video game that doctors in the US can prescribe as medicine to treat attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). Designed by prescription digital medicine company, Akili Interactive, EndeavorRX is available on iPhone and iPad for children between the ages of 8 and 12. The game involves players piloting a small aircraft through a variety of alien environments, and is specifically designed to improve the attention of youngsters. The next step is for EndeavorRX to be officially launched; there is currently a waitlist on the Akii Interactive website.
Aumio, a young start-up from Berlin/Leipzig, has launched a mindfulness and meditation app especially designed for children suffering from stress, anxiety or ADHD. The mental health coach with short playful exercises on your smartphone recently won the EIT Health Headstart Award 2020.
Launched for kids in the San Francisco Bay Area, the platform Brightline connects children with psychiatrists, therapists, and coaches who can provide one-on-one tele-therapy. Their efforts are to manage the stress and trauma from changes to school, in the home, and socially. During the COVID-19 pandemic, the tech company is waiving its monthly fee so that parents only pay the healthcare professionals, a move that makes therapy, a luxury, more accessible.
#6 Circular use of children´s products
The fight against climate change is a concerning topic for modern families. Each new family member will generate vast amounts of garbage throughout its lifetime. The rapid mental and physical development of children results in short lifespans for children´s products and is a huge source of waste production. The growing sustainability concerns of the new generation of parents and a rising circular economy with principles of reuse, repair, and recycling is influencing the consumer behavior of parents, especially in the children's clothing, diaper, gear, and toy industry. Parents consumption shifts towards reusable alternatives which positively affect the family´s economy and environmental footprint and promotes values like responsibility and sharing.
Recent developments in the parenting industry show that a rising number of parents use rental services to have the baby gear grow with their child: Mami Poppins is catering for this trend by offering customers to hire purchase baby gear. Parents can test, rent and/or buy baby gear, enabling them to make a conscious consumption choice. Mamikreisel is a peer-to-peer resale market for kids clothing and toys with a community of more than 25 million members in Europe.
You can find more parenting trends in our parent tech trend report.
Opportunities for founders in parentech
The parentech market is hot! The demands of digitally savvy and environmentally conscious millennial parents are transforming family life.
Develop solutions that are democratizing luxurious kids products and parental services for the masses.
Relieve silent sufferings of parents and children.
Address the sustainability and health consciousness of millennial parents.
Disrupt incumbents in the market.
Got inspired? If you are about to start a business in parentech or want to bounce ideas early, let us know! We are excited to invest in and support passionate founders in this field.