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Kinedu - empowering parents to brainbuild every day

Empowers parents to better understand early childhood development and encourage their babies' development through play based activities

Photo of Luis Garza
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Updates: How has your idea changed or evolved throughout the Prize? What updates have you made to this submission? (1500 characters)

We've talked to potential partners such as QRF and Valley Settlement in Colorado. We've thought about how to partner with on-the-ground practitioners to complement their local interventions and improve child outcomes! more to come!

Name or Organization

Kinedu Inc


Monterrey, Mexico, but our reach is global - we're practically in every continent.

What is your stage of development?

  • Advanced Innovator with 3 to 10+ years of experience in ECD


  • For-profit

What is the stage of your proposal?

  • Piloting: I have started to implement my solution as a whole with a first set of real users.

Describe how your solution could be a game-changer for your selected Opportunity Area (600 characters)

Kinedu has the potential to become the largest database of early childhood development, filled in by millions of families who want to understand how their children are doing. Our reach is now in the millions, and we have the potential to understand, compare, and contrast how children develop across the world. Also, Kinedu can truly become a tool from which parents get the best insights and ideas on ECD worldwide at a marginal cost (even free of charge in some places).

Select an Innovation Target

  • Technology-enabled: Existing approach is more effective or scalable with the addition of technology

Tell us more about your innovation (1500 characters)

Kinedu aims to use our app to empower parents all over the world with knowledge on ECD so they can be the main promoters of their babies development. Through technology, we are able to survey parents on their babies' accomplishments - that is, what milestones they have mastered and which ones they are working on. We have assembled the largest database of Milestone Accomplishment ever recorded, and use it to provide ideas and activities for parents to engage their children in a more nourishing and interactive way. (research has shown that these types of interactions are what helps build relationships and healthier development). Also, we provide content and ideas so parents can know what their children are undergoing, and also so parents can help their children on their journey.

What problem are you aiming to solve? (3 sentences)

Millenial Parents - and those in rural areas - don't know where to look for advice on how to boost their babies' development. There's a lot of parenting apps, and some content on early cognitive stimulation, but it's all messy, hard to understand, and not personalized. We want to give parents peace of mind that they are doing what's best for their kids in a simple to understand, simple to access, and simple to use tool.

Explain your idea (5000 characters)

Kinedu developed an app for parents that revolves around three Problems or questions parents have: 1) Parents do not know what is best for their kids, but they are anxious to learn and help their babies develop. 2) Parents don't know what to do with their kids, and information is all over the place, and not personalized to the specific child. 3) families and caregivers have different information and knowledge on children under their care. Kinedu has created a service that revolves around three main features to solve these problems: 1) an early childhood assessment built in a way that is intuitive, non-stressful, and based on real world data. 2) a daily activity plan that provides parents with simple things to do with their kids 3) the ability to connect family members around the same content, knowledge, and insights in favor of a young child. We do this through an app that connects over 300 developmental milestones, and over 1,000 developmental activities. In the end, we want parents to spend time with their kids, and we have found that framing the activities around a learning plan (and developmental areas) gives our activities enough credibility for parents to take time out of their busy days to play with their kids. By spending more time together, being more conscious on the stage of development, and fostering more engaging interactions, we believe that we can impact a generation of children with a sturdier foundation for future health, learning, and well-being. We have built a team around three pillars: technological competence, pedagogical expertise, and digital marketing savviness. Our three teams consist of iOS, Android, Web, and backend developers who can build scalable technology; psychologists and early development experts (as well as relationship with leading institutions like Stanford & Harvard Center on the Developing Child) who can develop learning plans and analyze developmental milestones in "big-data" fashion, and digital marketers who ensure we get the product out efficiently. Our whole team is based in Mexico, helping us lower costs but also reach the quality of product we need for a worldwide audience. In order to fund these efforts, we have support from leading investors such as Dila Capital, Advenio, Social+Capital, the StartX-Stanford Fund, Stella Maris, and PSM. We believe that we can transform the way adults interact with young children by providing insights, knowledge, and ideas to them.

Who benefits? (1500 characters)

1) Families all over the world with access to the internet. We believe that families will benefit by having information at the palm of their hands, in a way that's understandable and easy to access. Parents who know what to do are more likely to use it, and Kinedu follows an ABO impact approach: change Attitudes to change behaviors to change outcomes. 2) We recognize that there is still a long way to go in internet penetration and we are working with NGO's and non.for profits to take Kinedu communities without internet. We have been working with Fundación Alas and Municipalities in Mexico to understand how people without access respond to kinedu. We also work with Prof. Michael Frank from Stanford to better understand how our videos impact behavior. We believe that our iterative approach will lead to a tool that is usable, understandable, and accessible by all.

What kind of impact will your idea have? (1500 characters)

We believe Kinedu has the potential to become a default, "go-to" tool for parents all over the world. Today, Millions of parents download Babycenter for parenting advice - just because of word of mouth and overall knowledge about babycenter. The "brain building" or "Early development" space for apps is yet to be claimed, and we have made a big leap towards it. We have also tested how our app and videos can change behavior, get parents interacting more and with more instances of joint attention (see the research project by Hembacher/Frank attached). If we scale and make kinedu pervasive, and continue building products+content that create positive habits, and positive interactions between adults and children, we will have made an impact on millions of families. Also, we have assembled the largest database of milestone accomplishment - this can be used for data, but also for developing learning plans for centers with no teacher training programs. Content + Insight as a learning mechanism

How does or how could your idea impact low-income children? (1500 characters)

In 2016, we tested our model in Escobedo, a municipality in Monterrey, where we provided Kinedu for free and the government sponsored tablets. We found that kinedu engaged parents positively. We are taking this model to Panama with Fundación Alas '18

Innovation: What makes your concept innovative? (5000 characters)

Kinedu was the first app in the market to try and empower parents to become the first teachers of their babies - starting at birth (and before!). The concept of at-home learning plans is something that hadn't been done through a digital app before, and our structure of daily lessons helps parents create a routine around their busy schedule. Other apps/products focus on providing every day reminders, ideas to improve interactions that are already happening (i.e. "when you go to the supermarket, describe the fruits to your babies"); Kinedu focuses on enabling parents through a methodology that seems like an "at-home daycare for one", through video lessons and an algorithm that tailors those activities to a child's development. In addition, our capacity to obtain large quantities of data - through our milestone inputs, and the app's initial assessment - has helped us understand development through the eyes of parents; we've reviewed the literature from reputable sources (such as the AAP), and merged it with the data parents are reporting to obtain a description of Early Childhood Development through milestone accomplishments across child age. This means that we now have a model that describes how children learn to walk (amongst other "skills" - each "skill" being a cluster of milestones that describe the mastery of a specific construct), at what age, and the variability implicit within, between, and amongst all "skills". This allows our early childhood assessment to be scalable - not just through technological distribution, but also through the fact that an untrained, unlicensed person can do it! (i.e. you don't need to be a pediatrician, teacher, or ECD professional; the data has reliability, consistency, within itself that anybody out there can do it). This powerful combination of a catalogue of thousands of activities, and data to personalize it in proprietary way, is unique to Kinedu, and can help us continuously improve our product in such a way to empower parents to do what they want most: encourage the best start to their babies' life.

Scale: Describe how your idea could reach a significant number of end-users. (1500 characters)

Kinedu is already in the millions - we passed our millionth download earlier this year. However, we're always thinking about how to reach more families and how to scale globally. Our app is in English and Spanish, and we are actively pursuing efforts to translate to portuguese. We are also considering different ways of reaching all the population. On one hand, we have different price tiers and are continuously lowering efforts. On the other hand, we have developed in Mexico an innovative business model whereas brands partner with us to provide Kinedu for Free to every family in Mexico. This last model could be taken all over the world. In terms of finance, we have raised over $3M historically since 2013 and believe that our company will keep growing and will be able to achieve financial sustainability in the next few years.

Feasibility: Where are you with understanding the feasibility of your idea? Describe what you’ve done so far and your plans. (3000 characters)

Today we have a full team of 28 people in Mexico, consisting of developers, early learning specialists, and marketers. As we grow, we will need more expertise in financing, analytics, but the core foundations - product building, user behavior understanding - are already set up. We have also managed to gain support from funds with deep pockets that can continue financing the effort while we develop a sustainable business model - on which we are making big strides (we are estimating our end of year 2017 monthly burn rate to be less than 10k USD). Thus, we believe that we have set up the team, and the financing partners, to help us scale globally and massively for the next few years.

Business Viability: How viable is your business model? (5000 characters)

Our cost per new subscriber (around 27 USD) is half that of the expected lifetime revenue of our customers (estimated from monthly churn) (around 54 USD). This implies unit viability that can scale through the digital economy. More importantly, we have constantly improved the per-unit margin, which turned positive in 2016. We estimate the risks of scaling to be higher per-unit acquisition costs; we plan to overcome them by constantly improving product/conversion rates, and also by diversifying amongst on-line acquisition channels early on. Later, through partnerships with leading brands or organizations, such as what we have done in Mexico (Nestlé is our local partner).

Tell us more about you (3000 characters)

1) Before Kinedu I co-founded a corporate childcare chain for Latin America (Advenio, which is also an investor in Kinedu). In Latam, ECD centers has been traditionally seen as "assistential" or caregiving institutions - as opposed to developmental institutions. We focused on making sure the children were taken care off and not necessarily on education and development. We learned a lot developing the learning program, and parents were very happy about what their kids were learning - they asked us what they could do at home. Instead of handouts, and presentations, we decided to empower parents and create a tool that allowed them to be the main promoters of their children's ECD. We also learned that most children under 2 years are not in an educational institution - so if we truly wanted to have an impact on ECD, we had to reach parents at home. We tested out videos, technology, and through many iteration cycles have been developing kinedu since 2013. 2) My perception is that it has been a traditionally forgotten space of the development/education world. For example, in Mexico, the Secretary of Education identifies education starting at 4 years! We know that it is crucial to start early, even before birth. What excites me the most is the potential to truly change lives, to truly impact families and our future generations. Few spaces have such clear benefits to society, such few players innovating - it is a space where action needs to take place, and we are leading the charge. 3) I'm an industrial engineer by training, my first job was as a business consultant, and then I did an MBA - I am in not your traditional education practitioner. I believe that this has allowed me to innovate, with Advenio - by developing an innovative model (which had it's important component in Tech) and now in Kinedu. My whole career has been in ECD, and I'm proud of that: I feel that when you have the luxury of knowing about ECD and it's impact, you have the prerrogative to take action

Do you have the people and partners you need to do what you’ve described? (600 characters)

Yes - I have a full team on which I rely (Diego, Cristy, and Samantha, as leaders plus our 24 team members); partnerships with investors (such as Advenio, social+capital, StartX, etc); partnerships with entrepreneurial leaders (such as Endeavor); and close links to leading institutions (With Prof. Michael Frank, from Stanford, and our working partnership with Harvard's Center on Developing Child)

As you consider your next steps, what kinds of help could you use? Is there a type of expertise that would be most helpful? (1800 characters)

We need two types of people: One, people/teams who can help us expand our reach (both at different socioeconomic levels, and different geographies). For example, partnerships with institutions that have broad reach (chains of childcare centers?), partners in countries where we do not have local knowledge/language (Asia). Two, we need experts in big data analysis. While we have done well so far, we need to understand what we can do with our data to really expand our insights on ECD. We are currently working on a partnership with Prof. Frank from Stanford, but we really want to do the most we can with our data and provide an observational-based recommendation on ECD, variability and achievement.

Would you like mentoring support?

  • Yes

If so, what type of mentoring support do you think you need? (1200 characters)

On the two areas mentioned above: how and who to work with in terms of large systemic institutions, and big data.

Are you willing to share your email contact information submitted on OpenIDEO with Gary Community Investments?

  • Yes, share my contact information

[Optional] Biography: Upload your biography. Please include links to relevant information (portfolio, LinkedIn profile, organization website, etc).

Mentorship: How was your idea supported? (5000 characters)

I talked Nafez Dakkak from the Queen Rania Foundation. He was very insightful into how we should think about internationalizing our product to additional languages (currently, we only have english+spanish, and we talked about portuguese and arabic). We talked about how to think, and understand, the different regions - more in terms of methodology and feedback than specifically about a certain region. I think that we did begin an opportunity to work together with QRF, taking Kinedu to Jordan.


Join the conversation:

Photo of Liuliu Yan

Ťhis is a very cool idea! I think this project can help those new parents to overcome those confused and nervous feeling. Especially for millennial generations, some of my friends became parents too early, they totally have not idea about taking care children. I think we need someone to teach us about how to be a parent, and people should have mental preparation for being a parent.

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