Parents are in determined want of assist in terms of taking good care of youngsters or homeschooling them in our new work-from-home world. Kumbaya, a gig market that connects teenagers with mother and father who want childcare companies, needs to assist.

Launched just a few weeks in the past, the Kumbaya app on Google Play and the App Store goals to assist mother and father and youngsters through the COVID-19 pandemic by making it simple for folks to seek out gigs for his or her teenagers — and for folks of youthful kids to get assist.

Sure, it sounds loopy to rent a babysitter when you may not bodily go to different houses. In truth, Kumbaya was initially designed for bodily gigs, like strolling pets or in-person babysitting. Work on that iteration had been underway for the previous yr. But in gentle of latest occasions, the app’s creators, Chen Levanon and scientific psychiatrist Dr. Adi Zief-Balteriski, redesigned it for digital helpers.

Levanon stated in an interview with VentureBeat that hiring a digital babysitter who will use one thing like Facetime to maintain a toddler occupied whereas the guardian works in one other room is definitely a giant assist. Sure, youngsters can nonetheless go and interrupt the guardian, however they may possible discover the babysitter somebody new to speak to in an in any other case boring family, Levanon stated.

She stated tutoring companies and humanities and crafts tasks can even work effectively nearly. Of course, the pet strolling half doesn’t work, and that should come again when bodily restrictions are ultimately lifted, Levanon stated.

Kumbaya helps parents find virtual babysitting, tutoring, and other gigs for their teens

Pivoting after COVID-19

Kumbaya helps parents find virtual babysitting, tutoring, and other gigs for their teens

Above: Kumbaya’s opening display screen

Image Credit: Kumbaya

Levanon could also be a well-recognized identify for VentureBeat readers, as she beforehand cofounded SimilarTech and was the founding father of Israeli cell efficiency promoting agency ClicksMob, which merged with AppGrade in 2016. SimilarTech, the place she served as chief working officer, continues to be operating and worthwhile. A former faculty hurdler, Levanon is a pushed entrepreneur.

“After giving birth to my kid a year ago, I felt as if I wanted to do something that matters to parents,” Levanon stated. “I love businesses, but I also wanted to make an impact for working parents and parents of teenagers. I feel if I had spare time, my personal vision is to go and teach middle schoolers and high schoolers about entrepreneurship. That’s my vision in life. When I grew up, I didn’t even know I had an option to become an entrepreneur.”

Levanon and cofounder Zief-Balteriski launched the app sooner than that they had deliberate to assist individuals through the outbreak. The app’s identify refers back to the track Kumbaya, and it means “come by here.”

“We decided that parents need to help other parents and teens need to help other teens, and it’s all about community and it’s all about helping each other out,” Levanon stated.

Before launching Kumbaya, Levanon spoke with traders about the fitting approach to get a startup off the bottom.

“I learned from my mistakes,” she stated.

The firm has raised $500,000 in funding up to now and is within the strategy of elevating extra. It has additionally gotten into the Avanta Ventures Studio accelerator program. Kumbaya at present has 4 full-time workers and 5 contractors.

Free for now

Kumbaya helps parents find virtual babysitting, tutoring, and other gigs for their teens

Above: Kumbaya lets mother and father set costs for a teen’s gigs

Image Credit: Kumbaya

The firm initially deliberate to cost mother and father who employed teenagers a 10% service payment. But it isn’t charging any charges for the following couple of months.

Kumbaya limits the age of taking part teenagers to between 13 and 18, in accordance with the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA). The laws can be the explanation mother and father have to manage the app within the U.S. Age limits fluctuate by nation, per native legal guidelines, and the corporate will add new nations as it could actually.

A single work session can final not more than six hours, and contributors should adhere to strict privacy rules and terms. Teens aren’t allowed to advertise themselves, leaving it to folks to rearrange gigs.

The app will take a look at the mother and father’ contacts, and it could actually invite individuals they know already to inform them about gig availability. Parents are additionally sharing posts on LinkedIn, so a teen in New York can educate math classes to a toddler in California, for instance.

The app contacts a teen by way of SMS when confirmed gigs come up and makes use of Daily.co’s video platform to deal with the decision. That turned out to work higher than Google Hangouts, Zoom, and Skype, for numerous causes, together with price.

An natural launch

Kumbaya helps parents find virtual babysitting, tutoring, and other gigs for their teens

Above: Kumbaya lets mother and father seek for tutors or babysitters.

Image Credit: Kumbaya

The app is spreading organically, with no promoting.

“We created this app and were shocked to see lots of people are using it in these ways,” Levanon stated. “It is a great resource for parents of bored teens with lots of free time looking to make extra pocket money, and [for] parents of young children. The parents need help creating structure and keeping the children occupied. Some of them volunteer just to spend some time with each other, and now we are going to support elderly [users] as well, as they are lonely too.”

“This past week, while sheltering in place, my two teens have been earning extra cash and having fun babysitting, leading kids in arts and crafts (slime anyone?), teaching little ones to dance, all online,” stated a guardian in Los Altos, California. “My fourth grader is getting tutored online by a friend’s Gigster so she doesn’t fall behind. And I can get work done.”

Teens are additionally chiming in.

“I work at Kumbaya and do virtual slime workshops and tutor elementary school kids. I enjoy spending time with the kids and hope to do more of that daily,” stated a 13-year-old tutor in North Potomac, Maryland.

For now, mother and father are required to signal the children up and approve any gigs. Payments occur by way of third-party methods corresponding to Venmo.

“This Generation Z can learn they can make money, they can save money, they can invest money, and they can even donate money,” Levanon stated. “And this is our future and feels as if it’s an unaddressed market.”

Kumbaya is being downloaded at a good fee, and the app has added 80 teenagers to the system in lower than two weeks, with no promoting. Those teenagers have already accomplished greater than 100 digital paid gigs.

“We decided to create a marketplace for teens to find gig opportunities,” Levanon stated. “It’s not that they’re lazy. We are all mistaken. They’re not lazy at all. It’s a great generation. They want to work. They just don’t like to commit. They have had demanding schedules. But what about babysitting or tutoring? Once in a while, a few hours a week for your friends, your neighbors. The teens are willing to do it because they want to make money. Now they are so bored at home.”

Over time, the app will incorporate bodily gigs. But Levanon believes the digital gigs will likely be with us for good.

“I think that the connection will stay for a long time, and our reality will change because of COVID-19,” she stated.