iAunty Gets Chinese Postpartum Maternal Care Online: An example of O2O company in traditional industry
Translated by 半月
“Traditionally, east women will rest for 30 days after giving birth and take the special recipes for this postpartum care. The objective is to help mothers recover from the fatigue and also be called a special period of holidays for them.” — iAunty
Postpartum Maternal Care is a special to Eastern culture. After giving birth to children, women will have this 30-day period of time resting. Family members would take care of household chores and prepare special meals for mothers. Some mothers go to center for postpartum maternal care. Others ask experienced caregivers to come to the household for help. And that, is exactly the service that iAunty provides.
A woman needs this service only for several times (usually) throughout the lifetime, making it somewhat mysterious. What do they provide as service? How much does it charge? How will it look like when this traditional and professional service go online? Can this be O2O?
Online Postpartum Maternal Care is an undeveloped market
“There’s no place like home. After giving birth to our baby, my wife chose domestic service. At the time, there’s not much information online, just some pieces scattered in Baby-Sitter Association and other non-profit organizations. Furthermore, there was no platform built to gather service providers and related information.” said the co-founder and CEO of iAunty Jack Tseng.
He saw this gap of market from his own experience and decided to do this himself. Shortly afterward, he created the brand name iAunty for the platform gathering information regarding domestic postpartum maternal care.
Many professional understandings and techniques are involved in Traditional Postpartum Maternal Care. Despite this, iAunty insists on building their own training system to ensure consistent quality for their service. Tseng’s wife has participated in the training courses herself and went to the Elite foundation to learn some background knowledge. All this effort was made to ensure the trained Aunties’s quality for service. They provide service including body cleaning, baby-feeding, meal preparation and household chores. As you might have guessed, everything can be customized.
iAunty got everything online. Pregnant women can register on their website (mothers are advised to look for suitable service set 6 months before delivery). And iAunty match Aunties to clients based on their expected date of childbirth, places of living…etc. Because postpartum maternal care involves private aspects of women’s daily lives, iAunty will set face-to-face interviews with their clients before signing the contract.
“We have the fixed pricing criteria for all services provided by iAunty, which can be lower than some experienced service providers. However, since we also help them on marketing, client matching and communication, these Aunties can focus on their caregiving.” explained Yi-Chun Lin, special assistant to CEO.
Industry-Academic Cooperation Training Projects
Training a qualified Aunty requires time and effort. It takes 2 to 3 years to get a trainee ready and Aunties are always in short supply. Most training institutions charge fees, which sometimes causes the quality of service suffer because of their profit-oriented nature. To really train professional postpartum caregivers, iAunty decided to collaborate with universities.
“We signed a collaborative project with Cheng Shiu University of Aunty Training in 2016. The teachers from the Department of Early Childhood Care and Education provide their professional knowledge while we take care of money and share our experience in industry. This was designed to be a non-profit training project dedicated to help young Aunties enter the industry. Continue training is provided after they actually get a job.” iAunty sees this as a way to trigger a industry-academic collaboration cycle. After getting a job, these fresh Aunties can use their experiences to help other newcomers.
There are 4 people in the team. Tseng is the CEO and responsible for engineering. The others are responsible for social media, sales and art editing. iAunty not only provides professional caregiving service, but also organize related knowledge in this field and make their own Aunty Encyclopedia.
Now, there are more than 100 Aunties in collaboration with the platform and the service stretches from Taiwan to Japan, Southeastern Asian countries like Vietnam, Thailand and even further away in North America, the UK, France and Australia. iAunty sends Aunties abroad for the young mothers who live away from their family and have no idea about postpartum maternal care. Like what Tseng said “For pregnant women, it is really important to find the right person to help them during this period of time after delivery.”
Can they make it big?
“iAunty is an O2O company. Ideally, it’s better to make it big to attract venture capital. However, postpartum maternal care relatively high-risk and the demand is stable in Taiwan. We cannot even ask insurance company for help. Mainland China is a huge potential market. Nevertheless, it is yet possible to go across the strait due to legal issues.”
“For O2O companies, everything comes back to the product and service itself. ” Last year, said a Taiwanese household cleaning startup Jackercleaning in our interview. “If the product or service itself is not good enough, the company can’t get real growth.” iAunty agrees on this but they are even more ambitious. They want to be the pioneer that set the rules for the market.
“Since we can’t get rapid growth, we focus on making our service better. We want to be the leading brand in the market. The demand for postpartum maternal care is infrequent, but always there. If insurance companies are not interested in this business, maybe we can do it ourselves.” Combining their training system, insurance and caregiving service, maybe one day they can really make it big!
中文版連結Cover photo from iAunty