mom’s belief, a unit of Gurgaon-based Crafting Futures Pvt Ltd, was launched in October 2015. The startup empowers you, the parent of a special needs child, with tools and techniques that you can use at home to promote your child’s development.
In an interaction with BW Disrupt, Nitin Bindlish, CEO, Crafting Futures Pvt Ltd., shared details about his venture.
What was the idea behind the inception of mom’s belief and how does it work?
Chief Child Psychologist Dr. Mukta Vasal, PhD, and I created the program to empower the parents of special needs children with teaching tools and professional support. We are motivated by the simple intent to improve the lives of families who know the day-to-day challenges inherent in supporting a special needs child. In the program, parents are connected with one of our child psychologists, who assists the parent in providing ‘Guided Therapy’ to their child throughout the program. A neurodevelopmental profile is first developed for the child; it serves as the benchmark against which the child’s progress is measured. The parents and psychologist then lay the foundation for the program by creating a monthly education plan that is specific to the child’s needs.
Once the education plan is in place, the psychologist customizes resources and teaching tools to support the education plan. We have a library of over 500 resources that enables us to provide a highly tailored program for each individual child. The resources are delivered to the home and after one month, we collect them, create another education plan, and then send a new set of learning resources.
Parents receive training from an expert in the field so that over the course of time, they become knowledgeable, skilled and effective therapists for their child. The mandatory training/mentoring is delivered in weekly, one-hour sessions.
The psychologist monitors the child’s progress and helps parents identify their child’s strengths so that his or her potential can be fully realized. Monitoring helps the psychologist ensure the proper implementation of the program. Additionally, it enables us to be responsive to the specific needs of the child.
Our solution can be accessed remotely by parents to provide a guided therapy program in locations where trained professionals and resources are in short supply.
What are the unique key features of your company?
We are giving parents knowledge and the means to apply that knowledge. We are giving them skills so they can play a proactive, rather than a passive role in their child’s skill development. We are giving them professional support to eliminate their doubts and bolster their self-confidence. This puts them in the driver’s seat, and studies show that when parents are actively involved in their child’s therapy, the rewards are measurable and long-lasting.
We are empowering parents of special needs kids so they can make a difference in their child’s life. We are focusing their energy on the incredible things their child can do. We are instilling positivity and a belief in their child’s potential, and that is unique.
What are your future plans?
We are driven by our goal to touch a million lives over the next six to seven years – that is at the forefront of everything we do. We’re not interested in being a so-called “unicorn company” – that is not a metric that inspires us. The day we touch a million kids, we will consider ourselves as having surpassed the best unicorns, because we measure our success in terms of impact, not dollar signs. We plan to extend our reach beyond India and we’ll continue to adapt the program so we can maximize the impact of our parent empowerment model. As we evolve, our R & D team will also continue to design and develop resources that help parents work effectively with their children.
How are you different from the existing competitors?
We have no competitors in India. There is no organization or individual that we know of who provides a home-based neurodevelopmental program that incorporates training and learning resources for the parents of special needs children.
What is the funding status and monetization model?
We have successfully completed our seed round of funding through family and friends. Our monetization model is highly unique for our industry. mom’s belief offers a monthly subscription model that covers an initial assessment, customized resources that are delivered monthly to the home, and ongoing mentoring from an experienced child psychologist. Parents of special needs children are accustomed to paying fees for regular therapy sessions, and for some, the fees are exorbitant. mom’s belief provides ongoing professional support and resources at a cost that is far more manageable.
What challenges are you facing in running your business?
We have to encourage parents to believe in their capacity to support their child. We know it works. Our challenge is to turn parents into believers. Parents are still made to think according to the old structure, and we want them to realize that they can take charge of their child, and that cannot be matched by anything in the world. Once parents start believing, they enter a new world where they act as a parent, as well as a guide for their child, for life. Several studies conducted in the UK have demonstrated the effectiveness of supported parent engagement for special needs. Many parents feel they need special training or knowledge to provide support for their developmentally disabled child, therefore we also provide dedicated hours of mentoring / training to the parent as part of the program.
What are the traction details?
We have entered the market quietly, primarily because the topic of developmental disabilities is very sensitive in India. We knew that we had to introduce ourselves in a subtle way that demonstrates respect, empathy and expertise in order to encourage trust. So we’ve done that by starting a conversation on social media. The organic growth of our audience is steady and encouraging. And since launching paid activity on Facebook this year, post engagement has increased by 90%. Our intent is to completely change the landscape, but in a non-commercial way that is mindful of the everyday struggles that special needs families face.
How do you look at expansion?
mom’s belief intends to touch the lives of a million special needs individuals in the next six to seven years. India’s special needs community is not adequately served, and we intend to change that. Yet, the demand for special needs programs is great even in countries that might be considered well-resourced, like Kuwait, UAE, Saudi Arabia and Singapore. For example, it was recently reported that Singapore’s Early Intervention Programme for Infants and Children (EIPIC) has waiting lists as long as 18 months. We know we can take this model beyond India’s boundaries.
What is the market size and opportunity?
It’s estimated that there are 15 million individuals with autism spectrum disorder alone in India. Add to that the millions of individuals diagnosed with a learning disability, Down syndrome, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder or intellectual disability (the disorders we address), and you have a substantial market. However, the demand for special needs programs outside India is also notable. The mom’s belief model is a scalable model that uses technology and sophisticated logistics solutions to take the program wherever it’s needed, and we are confident in our capacity to expand. We are looking at markets in the Middle East as well as other Asian markets like Sri Lanka, Vietnam and Bhutan.