Founded by Angela Solomon, Hassan Baylon and Stephanie D’Arc Taylor, Jaleesa is a Lebanon-based social impact business that connects busy parents with experienced and trusted child carers.
We had a chat with Angela to better understand the startup’s solution as well as the team’s experience with the TIP program so far.
Q: Why did you choose to apply to the TIP program and what were you hoping to achieve/benefit from the program?
A: We were attracted to the TIP program due to Touch being one of the biggest tech companies in Lebanon, and to learn from such a company was really exciting for us. A second reason is that the TIP program is also very much focused on how a corporate organization, like touch, can help startups.
One of our priorities this year at Jaleesa is to develop a corporate childcare package, which we are hoping to do alongside touch. For that reason, we would like to learn from touch’s HR and business departments and test how best to help corporates offer a better parental package to their employees.
Q: What problem is your solution working on addressing?
A: The problem that Jaleesa is addressing is that more and more women are working, which is great for the global economy, but is a huge challenge because there isn’t enough trusted childcare out there to meet parents’ needs.
We are trying to solve this problem by creating an easy-to-use platform where parents can meet vetted, trained, and trusted child carers, read reviews that parents have given on nannies and babysitters, chat with the child carers themselves, as well as make all the needed arrangements with ease.
We handle all of the stressful tasks such as payments, insurance, and all the legal duties; so all the parents have to worry about is choosing the right carers for their children.
Q: What’s the current state of your startup?
A: We are in a phase where we are increasing our user base, building scalability, and growing. So far, we’ve worked with over 150 families across Beirut and Mount Lebanon. We’ve witnessed interesting growth in which 50% of our sales to date have happened in the last few months. We have more and more families joining the platform every single day showing that there is a real demand for the service and solution that we provide.
We offer two different types of babysitting: the first is regular babysitting where we provide a nanny who comes to your house (full-time or part-time), and the second is ad hoc if parents need someone just for the evening. In the past two weeks, we have seen record sales of ad hoc babysitting meaning that parents are taking the opportunity to take a break, do social activities, and spend time with their spouse because they know they can rely on our services.
Jaleesa is currently based in Lebanon, but we have begun some testing in other MENA markets because we would like to expand, and the concept of connecting families with child carers is much needed across the MENA region and even in Europe and other continents.
Q: What are your users saying about your solution?
A: We’ve received great feedback from parents so far. Regarding the usability of the platform, a parent once told me that it was really good before and is much better now. We also have parents who said that we’ve changed their lives.
With the attention that Jaleesa child carers provide, reports showed that children have accelerated their learning and are doing better at school or kindergarten. When parents book with Jaleesa, they aren’t just booking someone to watch over their kids, they are booking somebody that will engage with them and nurture them.
Q: What have you benefited from the TIP program so far?
A: We’ve attended the workshops that have been organized by the program and especially enjoyed the workshop on sales which was really interesting.
We have also began to engage with the HR department at touch to learn more about their business needs to develop and hopefully pilot a package with them offered to touch employees. We are at the stage of gathering information at the moment so we are working with them to better understand what the challenges they face are.
Q: Would you advise this program to other startups?
A: Yes I would. One thing we, and other startups, can benefit from is the practical office space at touch labs which is a really good place to work. I suggest that startups who aim at working with corporates will benefit the most from joining TIP.
The program is also interesting from a gender perspective. For instance, I’m currently pregnant and have to be in the UK to deliver in July. The program has been very supportive and understanding of my situation and with the team’s resilience while I’m away for my maternity leave. Programs don’t always offer this flexibility wherein I can still be part of the program even if I’m not in the country.