One fear many parents would be familiar with is, “Can anyone be trusted to take care of my children?”
Recent news reports of home-based babysitters in Malaysia abusing children would seem to confirm that sentiment.
For entrepreneur JK Peng, those fears hit a little closer to home. His own niece had been abused by her carer many years ago.
Seeing the news reports, and while also contemplating his ikigai (reason for being), he had what he calls “a eureka moment”.
His vision was to tackle the issue of child abuse by nannies and babysitters in Malaysia, and more importantly, to be a catalyst of change and impact the childcare industry in Malaysia positively.
“Focus on early child development should be given equal attention to formal education.”
JK then founded sitterLUV in January 2019, a platform for parents with children aged 0 to 4 years old to find genuine, loving, and caring nannies and babysitters.
Childcare Is Not Child’s Play
JK plans on taking a more nuanced approached to tackling child abuse and finding the right nannies for his platform.
First and most crucially, he starts with filtering out high-risk and potentially abusive nannies and babysitters. His platform will also work to educate home-based nannies and babysitters.
Next, to ensure that he has the right pool of candidates to serve as child-carers, he also plans to launch the Nannypreneur Academy, where nannies and babysitters can be trained to have the right mindset and also learn how to provide quality babysitting services.
This will build to his final goal: to increase the quality and standard of the entire childcare industry in Malaysia.
And it’s not a small dream. He estimates that the market-size value for home-based nannies alone is above RM1 billion annually, even excluding on-demand babysitting segment.
sitterLUV will monetise by taking a cut of the payments, but JK did hint at other plans in the pipeline for monetising.
On the babysitter’s end, sitterLUV wants to provide them with peace of mind when it comes to handling payments and sourcing job opportunities, with free access to webinars and assistance during emergencies.
Seeking Peace Of Mind
According to the sitterLUV team, they reject 90% of applicants wanting to be on their platform.
sitterLUV’s procedures to vet the babysitters were detailed to us as follows:
- Every applicant is required to submit a copy of her identity card with her photo attached, plus her savings or current account number and name verification.
- A background check is done on the applicants with Jabatan Kebajikan Masyarakat’s sexual offenders registry and PDRM to ensure the applicants are clean. Any applicant with past records will be rejected.
- Applicants go through a specially-designed stress test environment during the final phase of the face-to-face interview, where an observation will be made on how applicants respond to different levels of stress. This is to determine if the applicants possess the right temperament to deal with children.
Applicants must pass the final interview before they can be listed on sitterLUV. This listing procedure was actually developed in collaboration with Yayasan Chow Kit, a non-governmental organisation that advocates children’s rights and safety.
Once the web-based platform has launched (slated for June 2019), parents can also see reviews of the nannies. Only the parents who have actually used a nanny’s services can leave a review, to ensure that these are genuine.
Other features planned for the app include allowing parents to monitor the babysitter and child via live video, and also to track the whereabouts of the babysitter via GPS.
To Hit The Ground Running
Thus far, JK is proud of his team and what they’ve achieved since the startup was officially established.
He said that seeing the platform take shape especially in such a short period of time, is one of the most fulfilling moments in his life.
He feels that sitterLUV is currently unique in the childcare space, as their focus is on home-based nannies, with a strict listing procedure.
When it comes to predictions of growth, JK told us, “For the first year, sitterLUV is looking to hit a modest RM0.5 million in revenue, with expectation for a double-digit growth year-on-year.”
One particular space that sitterLUV is looking to disrupt is untrusted referrals.
“While looking to hire nannies or babysitters to care for their child, many young parents rely on referrals from total strangers through Facebook. While there is nothing wrong with doing so, the sad truth is the majority of the referrals are fake and cannot be trusted. This is because the referrals are normally closely related to the referee, who is thus biased.”
They believe that their platform can help to eliminate such bogus referrals with honest and unbiased reviews, all to help parents make better hiring decisions for the sake of their children.
- You can find out more about sitterLUV on their website here.
Feature Image L-R: Mahathir Azmi (Advisor On Business Development)., Diana Othman (Human Resource), JK Peng (CEO & Founder) & Vince Peng (Advisor On IT).