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Fri 1 Mar 2019 06:52 PM

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Entrepreneur of the Week: Geetanjali Kaul, co-founder of TurtleCard

When Geetanjali Kaul struggled to keep her child engaged in activities that develop his skills, she spotted a gap in the market

Entrepreneur of the Week: Geetanjali Kaul, co-founder of TurtleCard
Geetanjali Kaul, co-founder of TurtleCard

When Geetanjali Kaul struggled to keep her child engaged in activities that develop his skills, she spotted a gap in the market for a children’s activities booking platform that saves parents time and money.

Why the decision to launch TurtleCard?

As a young mother, I felt daunted by the task of keeping my toddler suitably engaged in activities that helped develop his social, physical and emotional skills. And after reaching out to my friends, I realised we were all in the same boat. Most of the time, parents rely on search engines like Google or friends to suggest activities for kids. Neither of the two have all the options listed addressing a child’s growing needs. That’s just one part of the problem. Parents still need to get in touch with individual centers to enquire on availability and schedule and have to make the payment in cash at these centers.

That is why we launched TurtleCard. It is a very easy to use web portal and app that does all of this at the click of a button. It makes the entire process of discovery & booking fast, with amazing offers from the merchants. And for the merchants, we provide a free booking portal that helps manage business efficiently and expert marketing services so they don’t need to constantly spend on marketing to acquire new customers.

Why does the market need a concept like TurtleCard?

We can safely say that it is the top priority of today’s generation of parents to engage their children in activities that develop their skills. And we can also  assume that today’s parents are pressed for time, hence find the current process of search and booking very time consuming and inefficient. This section of society is already accustomed to using technology to solve day to day issues, from ordering grocery to booking their car wash and ordering take out, and thus would be more than happy to have a solution that digitises this highly unorganised kids’ activities market to save them time and money.

Where does the name come from? Why TurtleCard?

Turtles are fiendly and warm. They have made it to space and returned to tell their tales. They date back to the time of the dinosaurs, over 200 million years ago, thus came our very own Toto the turtle to take your kids on a journey to explore all that’s wonderful in the world, to try new activities, to persevere and build skills that not only bring a smile to their faces but also prepare them for their life ahead!

As for the card part, even if you knew all the activities out there in the city, contacting each vendor and booking activities individually is troublesome. TurtleCard takes away the trouble of booking multiple activities across multiple vendors (manually). We give you a single card (virtual) that allows your child to access multiple activities across multiple activity centers.

What is your business model?

Customers have the option of choosing between prepaid subscription plans starting from $49 (AED179). With this, they can discover and book a wide range of partner activity centers though one single plan. When each class is booked, TurtleCard pays the partner a pre-agreed price for each class.

What are your expansion plans for TurtleCard? Please share details.

Our plan is to cover the UAE market by 2020 and then move into other global cities by 2021 based on market size and the extent that the children activity center segment is organized.

How is TurtleCard currently funded and will you seek further funding? If yes, when?

We are bootstrapped and now ready to fundraise. We participated at the STEP2019 conference and have a lot of interest from Angel investors and venture capitalists having an early-stage portfolio.

How is TurtleCard performing at the moment?

We have been growing exceptionally and sold over 250 subscriptions in 120 days since our launch. We have also listed over 350 activities. Moreover, we won the first prize at the Pitch Rising Pitch finale hosted by Mompreneurs Worldwide in December 2018 and reached the top three at the pitch competition hosted by Step Conference 2019, which had over 2,000 startups apply from the region. We have now been selected by Dubai Chamber of Commerce as one of the three startups that will be showcased under their education pillar to schools and universities in the city.

What are some of the biggest challenges you’re currently facing with TurtleCard and how are you tackling them?

One of the key challenges we face is around the credit system of the prepaid subscription. We get many queries by users seeking explanation as there are elements of discounts and promotions embedded in the subscription. However, we now have a 24/7 support system through our website to address these queries.

What is your vision for TurtleCard and what do you see it growing into?

Our vision is to grow TurtleCard into the biggest network of activities and create joy and happiness through playful experiences for each child.

Would you ever take the business global?

Our first few milestones are aimed at building a strong business in the region and slowly expand into select developed cities in Asia and Europe. In due course, we want to discover alternatives to access more markets through partners. Within our product’s DNA, we have built an absolute global experience that keeps us ready to scale and grow fast.