EmpowerHER 2024: An Interview with Kiddocare Founder, Nadira Yusoff

20 March 2024

In honour of recognising and empowering women throughout March, Gobi Partners (Gobi) is hosting a month-long celebration for women entrepreneurs and leaders. Aligned with International Women’s Day 2024’s theme of “Inspiring Inclusion”, this initiative started on 1 March 2024 with our EmpowerHER event and will continue to feature two additional women empowerment events and content spotlighting selected women founders.

The urban idea of being a “superwoman” fosters the ideal of a woman who wears multiple hats: a respectable career, a responsible mother, and a filial daughter, on top of being her own person. However, the phrase comes with lofty expectations of women both in the workplace and at home, particularly about managing to stay on top of it all.

Luckily, for Kiddocare Founder and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Nadira Yusoff, these preconceived expectations are immaterial: “It’s okay to not conform to those societal expectations that you have to be super every time, it’s okay to accept that.”

Established in 2019, Kiddocare is an on-demand digital babysitting platform that provides parents access to trained and certified childcare and early education services, with plans to venture into care for senior citizens down its pipeline. Nadira, who is a mother of six herself, started Kiddocare as a means to solve a problem already faced by women, especially working mothers. 

Drawing from her own experiences, Nadira agrees that caring for children “takes a village”. Because of this, she sees Kiddocare as a professional extension of her long-held principle of being able to rely on others for help: “You must accept that you cannot do things alone, and that’s something we’re trying to promote, it’s about making sure that you have all kinds of support to take care of the things or people in your life. We make sure to help you to the best of our abilities because we want you to know that it’s okay to seek help when you need it.”

This firmly-held idea is what has helped Nadira achieve success as a female founder and entrepreneur, specifically when it comes to obstacles such as fundraising and organisational growth in a landscape where only 1% of women-led businesses receive funding.

“I used to think of gender as a setback when I was younger,” she admits. “But instead of letting that stop me, I used it as something to fuel me, to go out and inform myself, train myself, develop myself, and establish my own little “girls’ club”. It’s influenced the way I’ve built myself up, and built my company up.”

Having been an entrepreneur for over two decades, Nadira recognises the challenges in financing a business and the gendered barriers when it comes to finding investors. Relying on crowdfunding to get Kiddocare through its initial stage, Nadira then was able to demonstrate the tangible demand for such services and secured investments from prominent investors later on with this data.

Nadira credits her years of experience and dealing with a variety of investors throughout her career for this foresight. “What I’ve learnt is that investors ask the questions they ask simply because they know what it takes to build a business,” she states, adding that it’s due to this that she no longer takes rejection personally.

The one condition she has is for investors to truly question their reasons for rejection, and disclose them openly, especially when it comes to women entrepreneurs – to help guide entrepreneurs in addressing any gaps in their pitches.

“When men get rejected, they’ll tell their friends and can fall back on them for feedback. But women don’t have that, because we don’t have enough women who’ve successfully secured investments, or who have enough experience to give you that type of help or assist with knowledge-sharing in that way,” Nadira observes.

Having been on the other side of the coin, Nadira persists in urging rising women entrepreneurs not to give up: “Fuel yourself with purpose and passion because you want to see your vision realised. Arm yourself with knowledge, build up your skills and surround yourself with a support system that helps you grow.”

Kiddocare is a Gobi portfolio company through its Khazanah Nasional Berhad-backed Gobi Dana Impak Ventures (GDIV) fund.