KidPass, a children’s activity subscription service, launched last week in New York City, says The Wall Street Journal. The startup was founded by three New York-based technology executives to provide families with access to children’s activities like sports, music classes, camps, and museums via subscription. The company is backed by leading tech investors of Gilt Groupe, Warby Parker, ZocDoc, Artsy and SailThru.
“We want KidPass to be the starting point for parents whenever they are looking for any kind of activity for their children,” said Solomon Liou, co-founder and chief executive of KidPass, reports The Wall Street Journal.
During the company’s beta period, KidPass subscriptions are available for $49 a month. This plan provides a subscriber with 10 credits a month to be used toward kid-friendly activities.
Parents can choose from the activities listed on the KidPass website. Additional credits are available for $5 each. Activities typically cost one or two credits, but that depends on the activity and the partnership arrangement. Parents who don’t have time to use all their credits in a particular month can roll over unused credits for up to three billing periods, unless they cancel their subscription or put it on pause.
According to the KidPass website, the company’s mission is “to work with exceptional partners to help parents find the best activities that can enrich and transform the lives of their children.”
“KidPass is a new kind of membership that helps parents discover and book amazing children’s activities – including exclusive events, classes, camps, party spaces, museums, and more. We want to make it fun, easy, and delightful to explore your child’s interests,” says the site.
From a business perspective, KidPass partners will receive 50% to 75% less per customer than they would get through direct sales. The benefit to KidPass partners then is the exposure and consistent business from loyal customers, says The Wall Street Journal.
Though officially launched, KidPass is currently only available by invitation in select neighborhoods in New York City. Interested parents can sign-up at KidPass.com. The company anticipates expanding to additional cities in the coming months, according to the KidPass website.
GiveForward co-founder Desiree Vargas Wrigley announced a similar subscription service earlier this week, says the Chicago Tribune. Vargas Wrigley is launching Pearachute on February 15. This service will let parents book classes for their children at 25 Chicago-area partner locations. For $79 a month, subscribers get access to five classes a month. For $99, they get unlimited classes. Vargas Wrigley hopes to raise $1 million of funding in a seed round.
With Pearachute, Vargas Wrigley will partner with activity centers that offer sessions for free play, art, music, soccer, etc. Pearachute will collect subscription dollars, pay discounted rates to her activity partners and keep the difference.
Earlier this week we wrote about Story Surprise, a monthly book subscription service for kids, so start-ups recognize the opportunity to market subscriptions to parents. In a highly digitized world, parents are clamoring for more traditional activities – reading, sports, music classes, museums, etc. – to engage their children, and subscription models make a lot of sense. From a budgeting perspective, subscription products give parents the opportunity to plan regular activities at a price they can afford.
Will activity services like KidPass and Pearachute succeed? In large cities with founders who are familiar with the start-up world, it seems they have the makings of successful ventures. They are starting out slowly and methodically, and testing the market before full-blown launches. This gives them time to gauge interest with subscribers, testing products, services and price points, and get partners on board. We are curious to see if the price points remain level. While they may be a good value, $49 to $99 a month may be out of range for some parents.
One thing we haven’t seen so far, but that could be a good opportunity for such subscription companies, is to offer a discount for multiple children in the same family or to provide family plans, similar to zoo and museum memberships. Perhaps that’s something they’ll consider down the road. For now, we like where they’re headed.