When Hannah Feldman was planning a growth strategy for her family edutainment platform Kidadl, she hadn’t factored in a global pandemic.
She founded the London-based tech platform with Sophie Orman after realising there was a huge demand from parents keen to discover the best ideas and resources to entertain and educate their kids.
Then COVID struck – and Feldman had to balance home-schooling her three young children with running a successful but demanding business.
“The business is like my fourth child and a very demanding one at that,” she jokes. “A lot of businesses in our space went under after the pandemic hit, and we had to double down, innovate and pivot to survive.
“In the past 18 months I have worked more intensively than ever before, and it has been quite a rollercoaster ride.”
Pivoting the business has been little short of transformational. “Before the pandemic we were an app serving 50,000 users monetising through transactions and bookings,” she says. “In March 2020 we pivoted to a new business model and now serve 3.5 million users a month via our web interface, Kidadl.com.
“Since pivoting we’ve scaled the business from 2,000 monthly page views on our website to over 5.1m monthly page views, and we now monetise through a whole host of new revenue streams. Our revenue increase month-on-month is over 40% currently.
“At the same time much of our competition in the family ticketing and booking space ceased trading owing to pandemic pressures.”
At the heart of Kidadl is a brilliant business idea that serves a rapidly growing audience of families across the globe with premier free content and resources designed to help entertain and educate their children.
“Kidadl is the go-to platform to discover the best ideas and resources to entertain and educate your kids,” explains Feldman, who previously worked for 18 years across investment banking, corporate law and media.
“Our mission is to help parents unlock a world of possibilities to fulfil their child’s potential and we want to become the one-stop-shop that gives you trusted information and inspiration for your time together as a family.
“Whether you want ideas for fun and learning at home, or whether you want to go out and explore, you simply ‘Kidadl’ it!”
As part of the company’s expansion plans Matthew Crummack joined as a non-executive director following a series of high-profile roles with GoCompare, Lastminute.com and Expedia.
Feldman explains: “We’ve attracted some incredible advisors as our business has scaled. Matthew joined Nick Mercer on our board, who was previously commercial director of Eurostar and on the founding team of AirMiles.”
Today 54% of Kidadl’s business comes from the US. “You meet a lot of would-be advisors when you’re on a startup journey and it is super important to find the right people who complement you and your business,” says the co-founder.
“We’ve now established a brilliant board with a stellar blend of expertise and the business has gone from strength to strength since Matthew and Nick joined Sophie and I.
“We have a five-year model which serves to highlight to would-be investors the global scale that Kidadl can achieve and what the accompanying revenue trajectory of the business looks like.
“In terms of operations, we have planned and resourced for the next phase of our growth to deliver to business KPIs, but with our numbers increasing way faster than our model anticipated we’re now thinking, ‘can we ramp up other revenue streams faster?’ to take advantage of market opportunities ahead.”
Feldman says all her experiences – good and bad – of running a business have shaped her as a person.
“There’s no playbook,” she admits. “As a founder you have to find your own way but there comes a point when you realise what you do know. If I had not gone through what I have on the frontline for the last four years, learning from scratch, I wouldn’t be where I am now.
“Sometimes it is important to look back and realise how far you have come, and then get back to driving forward to meet ever greater goals”.
What is her top tip for growth? “Chase success rather than money from your customers. When we pivoted mid-pandemic we focused solely on what our customers needed for us at a critical time in their lives, and this strategy has really delivered and set us on a path to become the go-to platform for family edutainment globally.”