Shadiah Sigala, co-founder and CEO of Kinside
Shadiah Sigala co-founded HoneyBook back in 2013 as a business management tool for creative entrepreneurs. Under her leadership, HoneyBook helped creatives navigate everything from invoicing to building community. As the company grew, and Sigala with it, she realized that everyone from the company’s employees to its users were graduating into different chapters of their own lives as well.
“Kinside was inspired by my experience as a first-time-founder and first-time-mother at my previous startup, HoneyBook,” shares Sigala, while explaining the inception of her second venture, Kinside. “As a cofounder and as one of the early parents on the team, my pregnancy left me responsible for determining many of our company policies. Soon, more babies would start springing up in our employee population, and our family leave, parental benefits and workplace culture matured to meet the need. However, when we sought out a child care benefit to enhance our efforts, we found that nothing quite fit our modern workforce. So I decided to do something about it and start Kinside out of the famed Silicon Valley accelerator, Y Combinator.”
Closing in on a year and a half, Kinside has graduated out of Y Combinator and has publicly launched with a total of $4 million in VC funding raised over 18 months. The solution it is offering is both for parents and the companies that employ them — a child care app that works for both the person just launching their career to the executive leading the company.
“I’ve learned that the desire to be the best for your children is universal, and it transcends job title, salary, race, personal beliefs, location,” explains Sigala. “Every working parent relies on other human beings to help raise their children. No parent should have to compromise the quality of care and education their little ones need.”
For Sigala the need for equitable childcare is one that’s rooted in her own childhood experience.
“Having grown up poor with a mother who could have used a leg up, I am personally dedicated to helping folks at both ends of the pay scale,” shares Sigala. “We’ve sought out high quality home-based options, affordable enough for someone just starting their career, and negotiated discounts at fancy Montessoris for the extra discerning executive. We even signed up some of the most reputable nationwide preschool brands. We are committed to serving the diverse financial and cultural needs of all employees.”
Below Sigala expands on 4 key areas that played the biggest difference in starting and raising funds for her second startup.
Learn from your past experiences
“My first startup, HoneyBook, was a crash course in scaling a product and company quickly—from learning about organizational best practices to managing teams, and making executive decisions,” shares Sigala. “Today, I have the benefit of pattern recognition in a way that’s doubled our pace. We have gone from 10 beta employers to over 1,000 in fewer than 18 months.”
As Sigala noted, don’t be afraid to use prior experiences and transferable skillsets — whether from past startups or corporate settings — to help set yourself up for success in future endeavors.
The right co-founders
Sigala’s first company, HoneyBook, emphasizes how important it is for creatives to build supportive communities around themselves and how the same can be said for founders of startups.
“My secret weapon is my cofounders,” explains Sigala. “I lean on them to steer the ship, make important decisions, and think through tough challenges. It doesn’t hurt that they are both black-belts, wicked smart, and incredibly funny.”
Figure out what grounds you
An entrepreneur’s journey isn’t full of only highs, figuring out what will ground you during the lower moments is what will help you hold on and keep going. Sigala credits her experience growing up Latinx with helping inform her perspective as an entrepreneur.
“I have a first-generation immigrant experience of making it ‘rags to riches’ [and] while that’s a lovely trope to tell, it’s a bumpy road up close. I learned persistence and grit from the time I was a little girl. It turns out, those traits make for an excellent entrepreneur. Furthermore, my family, who is Mexican-American, taught me that success is not worth much without a community to share it with. And that we all exist in relation to a family and a community. That cultural value has informed every professional decision I’ve made — from attending Harvard to pursue a master’s in public policy to founding Kinside.”
Don’t be afraid of taking on big (profitable) dreams
When asked what her advice would be for other Latinx entrepreneurs, Sigala shared thoughts that all exist under the umbrella of don’t forget to dream big and act on those dreams.
“Make sure your venture has big money potential,” explains Sigala. “I fear too many Latinas get tracked into service-oriented ventures that are either non-profits, or not highly profitable in nature. There is nothing more empowering (to yourself, to your children, to your family) than having financial freedom.”
“Do it. Whatever your dream or idea, you can probably execute even the smallest version of it today. Lots of us have families and responsibilities, so I’m not here to say ‘quit your job and do it!’ I’m just saying, do something today. Prove to yourself that your idea is good enough; and that you have what it takes.”