Breastfeeding app shows subscription opportunity for non-profits

In partnership with Zuora, the leading cloud-based subscription management platform provider, technology company Small World Social has created a subscription-based breastfeeding support app connecting health professionals with new mums.


Launched this month in Australia, New Zealand and the U.S., the HelpMe Feed app makes it far easier for new parents to get the help they need through lactation consultants, coaches and a library of educational resources, online.


Project Lead and Director of the HelpMe Feed Foundation, Maddy Sands, says that breastfeeding rates in Australia – and indeed across the world – are lower than most people realize. This, she says, was one of the central concerns behind the development of the app.


“Eighty to 90 percent of women plan to breastfeed but drop off. By six months only 16 to 18 percent are breastfeeding exclusively.”


Maddy, in collaboration with lactation consultant and now HelpMe Feed Foundation’s Head of Maternal Child Health, Karina Ayers, believed part of the reason for these worrying figures was due to a lack of, or difficulty accessing, support for mums during the first few months after giving birth.


HelpMe Feed, they felt, was a missing technological bridge between lactation experts and new parents, many of whom didn’t want to seek help via phone calls or use paper-based resources.


After years of testing and research, they knew they had a concept that would work. What they didn’t have was a subscription model. This is where the Zuora® platform came in.


“We’re a non-profit. Our revenue goes back into improving the platform, boosting community engagement or delivering resources. It’s important to be self-sustainable and not rely on grants, so early on we decided to charge health professionals on a subscription-basis, not parents, and make sure people valued our information,” Maddy explains.


“I knew we wanted to charge but I didn’t know how we wanted to charge. Flexibility was important – we wanted the ability to adjust down the track. Another important question for the organization we were going to work with was ‘How do they handle large volumes of users?’”


The HelpMe Feed team began speaking with Zuora in November 2018 and quickly realized they had found the right partner.


Zuora’s Vice President and General Manager of the Asia Pacific Region, Iman Ghodosi, says HelpMe Feed Foundation approached his company with a complex set of requirements.


“HelpMe Feed intended to work with multiple currencies, multiple credit cards, transfer fees… they wanted to handle different products, different types of subscriptions. The Zuora platform was able to help them through a complicated process,” Iman says.


“They’re a small team, and they told us that one of their most significant needs was automation. They didn’t want to hand-hold each employee through the use of a subscription platform. That was a major focus for us as we developed our solution for them.”


Maddy says the most important result to come from their partnership with Zuora is more mums confidently breastfeeding for longer. As well, however, she sees Zuora as offering non-profit companies a different way of running their enterprises.


“We don’t just get an improvement in health metrics, but a better way of viewing those metrics. Dashboards make it very, very transparent. One problem the industry has is getting data out that is useable. ‘Why are people not converting from their free trial to their paid subscription?’ ‘What am I supposed to do to solve that?’ We can answer those questions now.”


“More than that, this subscription model gives us a stable income. Rather than having to rely on grants, and to employ someone who just writes grants, you can have a predictable income. And we can take that money and invest it into the community.”


To learn more about Small World Social, check out this article in Subscribed MagazineThe Future of Tech for Social Good: Small World Capital

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