Thailand based caregiver-matching platform Kiidu has joined 13 select women-led startups from the care sector in the freshly launched UN Women Care Accelerator programme, which is committed to promoting women’s economic participation and advancing gender equality in the care industry.
Helmed by founder and CEO Alfiah Strohal, the Kiidu caregiver-matching platform was founded in 2015 based on Alfiah’s own needs for childcare as a mother of two children globetrotting the world with her kids in tow. While the platform started out as a way to match families and nannies on-demand, Kiidu has since branched out and today also extends job opportunities for maids, tutors, senior caregivers, drivers and even pet caregivers
While startups were also selected from six other countries in Asia, Kiidu is the only company from Thailand to be selected for the inaugural programme. The UN Women Care Accelerator is a direct response to the increased need for care for children, the elderly and the sick brought about by the Covid-19 pandemic, a burden that has fallen mostly to women in societies where gender inequality and biased norms are more prevalent.
Seeing an opportunity to transform these unfair burdens into economic opportunities for women, the EU-funded UN Women’s WeEmpowerAsia programme launched the care accelerator.
Alfiah says the programme opens an opportunity to scale the reach of her social impact business. “We [look forward to getting] the right advice, connections and resources, so that we can scale the company and impact society and boost women empowerment while also enhancing transparency in the caregiver hiring process,” she shared.
Transparency is a key issue in the care industry that Kiidu would like to tackle going forward.
“In Thailand, the regulations are not strong; many nannies work long hours with no holidays and are forced to endure other forms of unpleasant treatment. More transparency will help both sides—such as to implement contracts or working agreements when customers hire their nannies, to avoid work overload and other misunderstandings,” Strohal elaborated.
Currently Kiidu has 10,000 nannies, tutors, senior caregivers, nurses, maids and drivers on its platform and has serviced over 8,000 parents and customers -- both Thais and international expats living in the country.
Under the six-month programme, which began on June 1, 2021, every startup is also paired with a mentor. Kiidu is being mentored by Kenneth Kwok, founder and CEO of Global Citizen Capital and KIDsforSDGs.
Over the next four months, Kiidu and other startups in the UN Women Care Accelerator programme will participate in tailor-made, online group training, mentorship, investor matching and exposure to partners and experts who can help to incubate and scale up their business models with support from investment holding company Seedstars and social enterprise Bopinc.
Alfiah has her eye set on expansion, ultimately wanting to scale Kiidu’s caregiver matching services to all of Southeast Asia.
“We are based in Bangkok and we cover all cities in Thailand, because as an online platform we can be accessed anywhere. Under the UN’s care, we hope to be able to shape the company to international status and enhance transparency for everyone in the caregiver industry,” Alfiah added.