This article was written by Mengyuan Ge, originally published on KrASIA
Ekta Tejwani felt lonely and isolated during her first pregnancy. In 2016, she moved to Hong Kong from India and became a new mother, but she didn't have family and friends who followed the same path to visit and help out. Meeting new mothers in Hong Kong was difficult, mainly because Tejwani couldn't speak Cantonese.
There are many women like Tejwani, who landed in motherhood with questions and panic. Having faced that situation herself, Tejwani realized that it was necessary to have a platform that connects moms in Hong Kong. In 2018, she set up a Facebook Page, inviting moms and dads to take part in offline social gatherings: coffee meetups, music classes, hikes, and other activities. It was popular with parents, and took just two months for 100 members to join the group.
Harnessing her computer science background, Tejwani took a step further and created an app called MeetMumz. Although her original Facebook Page worked well, Tejwani said an app is far more customizable and can meet more users' needs, because she would be able to analyze user behavior and create new features. For example, she built a matching function that links up like-minded people based on their location.
MeetMumz is a community-building networking app where moms and dads can "swipe" to connect with new friends and meet them in person, taking into account their kids' ages, interests, and schedules. It is also a platform where mothers can seek solutions to their struggles, interact with others on forums, find new friends who may be nearby, and locate maternal and infant services at the swipe of a finger.
"It is all about finding the right people," said Tejwani. MeetMumz is a matching app like Tinder, but for moms. "These days, every life stage has its own digital community. For teeanagers, there are social media apps like TikTok and Snapchat. For single adults, there are dating apps like Tinder," she said, but mothers did not have a similar way to connect with each other.
"At MeetMumz, our focus is to help women embrace their motherhood journey with confidence by giving them support," said Tejwani. "I grew up in a large extended family, playing with cousins over the summer break. Those memories are still deeply etched into my mind. I was always fed by multiple pairs of hands, nurtured and loved in a secure environment, surrounded by my extended family. I persevered to create that community where similar-minded mothers could meet, make friends while their kids played happily, discuss life goals or shopping trends, and have a place to connect with your likes. And voila! The idea of MeetMumz was born."
Tejwani funded MeetMumz out of pocket in its early stages. "Commercial motivation wasn't behind this. The idea was born because I'd use it myself. It's a social enterprise," said Tejwani.
MeetMumz' app officially launched for public use in March 2019. Today, the platform has more than 1,200 users and has gained support from the Hong Kong Government Distance Business (D-Biz) Program and the Singapore University of Social Sciences. The startup was recognized by JCI Hong Kong Jayceettes as the APAC Entrepreneur of the Year 2021.
By supporting mothers who are in different phases of motherhood, or who have different parenting styles, MeetMumz hopes to identify pain points and provide solutions for mothers. Tejwani launched a campaign called "Who is She," a platform to highlight entrepreneurial moms' stories, showcase their struggles, and celebrate their achievements. The goal is to inspire other mothers who may be going through similar experiences.
At the moment, MeetMumz is available in Hong Kong, Singapore, and India. Its demographic is a mixed bag. "We want to build a community for all mothers, not just stay-at-home moms: expecting moms, single moms, working moms, entrepreneurial moms, and dads too."
MeetMumz was among the ten finalists of the Alibaba Cloud x KrASIA Global Startup Accelerator Hong Kong Online Demo Day, which was held on December 14.
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