Parenting is hard. Kinsights is here to help.
Every parent realizes that annual well-child visits with their pediatrician typically last around 11-20 minutes, hardly enough time to get their shots and measurements. Contemporary parents are looking online for everyday parenting tips and advice on their children’s health for the hundreds of questions that crop up in between appointments. Time spent online actually goes up when U.S. women become mothers, and the top five parenting search terms get over half a billion searches on Google each month, according to Kinsights, one of our portfolio companies.
Kinsights gives parents a space—and community—to freely ask questions within a gated members-only community. The team has created a platform for an enormous demographic of advice seekers: 150 million moms and dads in the U.S. What’s more? Kinsights leverages a unique relevance engine to connect its users to the right subsets of parents–so whether a parent is dealing with a medical condition or seeking recommendations on local schools, they find parents within their network that have local and/or topical knowledge and experience. As an anecdote for creating meaningful user experiences, their story is a great one to tell.
“For the most part, parents have been left behind by the modern web,” says Kinsights founder M. Jackson Wilkinson, a new parent himself. “While billions have been spent on improving the experiences of shopping, entertainment, and even education, parenting is still mostly an oral history.” The options that do exist online, he says, are mostly busy and cluttered forums, where the conversations can be more confusing, or misleading, than insightful. “We’re driven to deliver a great user experience, working to actually be helpful to parents as they learn on the job, with the help of others who have been there before.”
The company’s secret to engagement digs deeper into the social experience of what it means to be a parent. In the last few months, the website has become the home to more than 50 support and parenting groups (both public and private), making it easy for parents to find the best community for their needs. There is enormous psychological value to the groups themselves—the solidarity or shared sense of “we-ness” Kinsights brings by providing parents a secure, virtual space to empathize. Kinsights provides online support groups for parents dealing with medical conditions (like food allergies, autism, and type 1 diabetes) and organizations like American Military Partners Association and Family Equality Coalition, allowing parents to link up with a specific networks of moms and dads who genuinely understand their day-to-day struggles.
The other critical piece stems from what parenting feels like, on the inside. While Kinsights is best known in digital health for its online pediatric health record, another, simpler feature that often gets parents hooked is the user-voted responses. Quality control in traditional online parenting communities has always been challenging. On Kinsights, having other parents “vote up” answers keeps users motivated and incented to write high-quality responses while also serving as a unique social currency. “There just isn’t a lot of external validation when it comes to parenting. Many parents are hubs of knowledge on various topics, and we help them efficiently connect with parents that need and value their expertise,” said co-founder Jennifer Chung, whose initial experience with Kinsights was as a member. She had a toddler struggling with eczema and soon found herself posting questions and writing answers into the wee hours of the night. Jackson reached out after noticing her constant activity on the website, and after an hour together at a Cole Valley coffee shop, she said, “I knew that this was something I had to be a part of.'”
These social incentives to write thoughtful answers, paired with a relevance engine that helps parents connect with the right community, gives the company confidence that they can scale without the ensuing clutter—something that, for an early-stage startup, may just be the holy grail.