Merriam-Webster defines “purpose” as “something set up as an object or end to be attained”. John Baldoni, an executive coach and columnist with Forbes, writes on the importance of a purpose for an organization. While every organization knows what it does, organizations also need to figure out why they exist. The mission is what motivates employees to come to work every day and helps the company decide on its path. One such organization which has a social mission at its heart is Momni, a childcare platform.
Momni – an organization with a purpose
Momni, a Provo-based startup, is trying to provide good quality daycare to the children of working parents while helping willing caregivers make an additional income. Started in 2017 by a passionate social activist and mother from Utah, Karmel Larson, Momni is a portmanteau of two words – Mom and Omni (Latin for all). Attempting to create a sharing platform for caregiving – a “caresharing” platform, Momni aims to start a revolution which would help play its part in resolving what it calls the global childcare crisis.
Karmel got to know about the global childcare crisis in 2017 and it affected her deeply. With more and more couples joining the workforce, young children are often left alone at home, unattended, with no one to take care of them. This affected her deeply and being a social worker, she came up with the idea of connecting people who were looking for someone to look after their children with others who were willing to provide childcare support.
Karmel, an alumna of Brigham Young University, calls herself the Chief Care-Giver of Momni. She has previously worked for promoting motherhood and family development. A mother of eight, she was Utah Valley Young Mother of the Year 2007 and Mrs Utah United States in 2009. Karmel is also going to launch her book, Mama Grit, soon.
The Childcare Industry – Potential and Challenges
The childcare industry in the US has been growing at a rate of 3.2% over the period 2013 to 2018, generating a revenue of over $53Bn. Major players in this business include in-home care providers, center-based daycare, and pre-primary educational centers. The industry is subject to strong scrutiny from parents and regulatory bodies alike. Safety of the children along with the effectiveness of the program and psychological effects on children are major factors that users look out for when choosing a daycare facility.
The idea behind the Momni network, 250+ strong based on search results on their website, was interestingly elephants. Elephants are known to take care of the young ones of the entire herd, protecting them against predators. The philosophy behind the startup is similar – mothers of the community get together and take care of their young ones. Momni takes this a step further and helps caregivers make some money out of it, thus helping their families with additional incomes.
The concept is not without challenges – one of the major ones being security. Momni addresses the same with background checks, ID verifications, and through network reviews. It allows its caregivers, or hosts, the option to list their own prices. Guests and hosts can then connect over private chat to schedule timings and locations for pick-up and drop. The final stage is payment which Momni helps manage.
Successful Funding and Future Plans
The company managed to close the first round of funding worth $1.8M on December 17, 2018. The lead investors were Tamarak Capital and Revroad. The investors were impressed by the mission of Momni – “making a difference for families worldwide by harnessing technology to both improve the quality and accessibility of childcare in our communities — all while allowing Moms an additional source of income to improve their own lives” in the words of Nate McBride, a partner at Tamarak. This investment allows Momni to aim big and spread into more geographies and simultaneously expand product features.
The investment comes as a big boost to the firm since it competes with many different kinds of players. While the traditional nanny-network still continues to thrive, the major threat is posed by increasing preschools. Big firms like KinderCare and Learning Care are established players in the market and posing a challenge to them can be a big task for Momni as it looks to invest its funding carefully.
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