DURHAM–For too long, Amit Pradhan and his wife relied on the recommendations and reviews of their friends to find compelling and interesting activities and camps for their son. Pradhan realized they were investing quite a deal of time just in searching and sifting through reviews online, and then trying to vet those activities through his social network, and decided there must be a better way.
Earlier this month, Pradhan launched a solution, the KidCircle app, on iOs and Android devices, bringing the product out of a one-year long beta testing phase.
KidCircle is designed to give parents a simple user interface to find, register, pay, and track their children’s activities on a centralized platform.
“Our vision is to use the most innovative technologies to create an amazing space where parents can discover, filter, organize, plan and sign-up for activities,” said Pradhan. The app aggregates offerings from local activity providers—geographically, just in the Triangle—and provides a seamless way for parents to register and pay for those activities, said Pradhan.
Pradhan left Fidelity Investments to work full-time on Durham-based KidCircle. Working with a team of ten people, the RTP-based company completed the redesign of the app after conducting a 200-user beta testing period between February and July 2018.
One key feature is the secure payment platform. KidCircle accepts all types of payments, said Pradhan, and are handled using secure infrastructure. No credit card information is stored by the company, and the payment feature also allows an extra level of security should parent users wish to use their fingerprint reader or face recognition software before initiating payment transactions.
Though summer just ended, Pradhan anticipates the vendor offerings on the platform to continue to grow. “Our app can be used by activity providers at any point during the year for a variety of different activities, such as summer camps, track out camps, afterschool programs and weekend enrichment classes,” said Pradhan.
There is not a set age limit for the children—as parents are the users of the application—and families do not pay any service fees for transactions made on the application.
The company generates revenue through agreements with activity providers and vendors, who pay to use the application to attract potential participants. A key feature for providers is the ability to go completely paperless for registration and participant management, simplifying operations. A secondary benefit is that information can be quickly sorted and digitized in order to ensure participant safety and data security.
To date, more than 100 activities have been listed on the application. Parents can use the app to research new options and get recommendations based on their child’s interests, location, and age. The app integrates with each child’s school schedule and sends reminders when additional childcare may be needed, like when there are teacher workdays or early dismissals. As scheduled activities approach, parents receive notifications to help plan day-of details.
Finally, the app gives providers and parents the option to connect through an in-app chat function. Providers can also share pictures of kids throughout the day to give parents peace of mind and a glimpse into their child’s day.
“I know how challenging it can be to juggle family activities,” said Pradhan. “The KidCircle app is the perfect way to connect these two parties and allows everyone to concentrate on what’s most important—the kids!”