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Activities site launches out of San Carlos: Kidfully aims to make finding programs for children easier
April 29, 2014, 05:00 AM By Angela Swartz Daily Journal

Kidfully co-founders Alicia Jao and Mike Khaw work on the website in their San Carlos office.

Parents struggling to find summer activities for their kids can now look no further than the new San Carlos startup Kidfully.

Kidfully is a local community site for parents to the get information on activities for their kids like Chinese classes, tennis lessons, preschools, summer camps and more. The site, launched in beta in March, allows parents to find listings of activities in their local area, along with reviews from friends and other parents. The site also includes program ratings of items of interest such as student-to-teacher ratios, age ranges, customer service, facilities, curriculum and pricing.

“Our biggest goal is we really want to save parents’ time by doing the homework for them,” said Alicia Jao, co-founder of Kidfully. “We spend a lot of time categorizing and making sure information is accurate.”

Jao started talking about the idea last summer with her co-founder Mike Khaw, who she worked with at Goldman Sachs. Khaw, a father of two, saw challenges in trying to find activities for his kids. Now, they have more than 1,000 listings in San Mateo, Belmont, San Carlos and Redwood City.

“People rely heavily on neighbors and friends for programs,” Jao said. “But it’s not really a tried-and-true solution.”

The two talked to a lot of parents about issues parents have with finding the right programs for their children.

“It’s a two-pronged problem for all parents,” she said. “It’s hard to find what’s available in area. There are a lot of options, but it’s hard to choose. These are our children. They’re our future, so quality is important to parents. … Parents are the real experts.”

Both Khaw and Jao have extensive technology backgrounds and both have worked in Silicon Valley. Jao received her MBA from Stanford University, while Khaw received a master’s degree in electrical engineering from Cambridge University.

“This is my first startup on my own,” Jao said. “There are challenges. I have worked for a startup as early as being the sixth employee or so. It’s really tough when you have such a small team to get everything you want to get done done.”

A passion for the site’s goals is what attracted Jao to the project though.

“As we started to get a little bit older, we were at a stage where we wanted to do something that was more fulfilling that would truly help people like us,” she said. “We realized this is such a huge need for parents. … We were shocked to find out people still do this manually. It’s a really painful process for parents.”

Once Jao and her husband have kids, she will be so happy because she will already have this to find activities, she said.

“It’s going very quickly just by word of mouth,” she said.

For now, the startup is sticking to four cities, one of which is San Carlos, where the business is based out of now.

“We decided to make sure we did a great job in the first few cities we launched in,” she said. “We launched in our own area, but are working on an expansion. We’re still going to be Bay Area targeted.”

For now, the company remains bootstrapped as well.

“We’re considering seeking funding, but we’re really just focused on addressing all the needs of the community first. As we start to scale larger, we will consider our options.”

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Tags: parents, activities, really, startup, kidfully, their,

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