Roshni Mahtani is the woman that built parenting over the Internet in Asia

Stuff sits down and chats with the woman behind Tickled Media’s success

Roshni Mahtani’s former work experience in Singapore spanned across the publishing circuit. But for her, one of the most life changing moments happened when she went on to live in New York for a few years.

During her time there, she helped babysit a few of her friends’ kids and realised there wasn’t much information online when it came to caring for children from an Asian perspective. And as a result of that, she founded Asian parenting website, theAsianparent.com, family activity website, Kidlander.sg, and Pregnancy portal, pregnant.sg as part of Tickled Media.

“I was living in the upper east side of NYC (think Nanny Diaries) and I had the unique opportunity to go into different homes and got to interact with a lot of parents and nannies. So people were very shocked with some of the Asian practices, like confinement for example,” she said. 

Another thing that hit her was that people in Asia didn’t quite relate to western publications when it came to advice for parenting. So along with the content you find on these sites, the Tickled Media teams also created an online community portal in the form of Groups where people interact with one another as well as post questions to professionals and community managers. 

Expansion beyond Singapore

Since launching the online publishing house in Singapore some six years ago, it’s expanded to other countries within Asia too – namely Malaysia, Thailand, Philippines, Indonesia, and most recently, India – and is targeting parents living in tier one cities within these regions.  

“Singapore is urban, and there’re crazy Internet penetrations here but in all of these other countries we’ve expanded to, most people have Internet connections through their phones but they don’t necessarily have it at home through their desktops or laptops.

“In that sense, they’re more mobile first than Singapore in accessing content purely from their mobile devices,” Mahtani claimed.

And if you thought that women in these countries were traditional housewives who had no literacy of the World Wide Web, you’re wrong. According to Mahtani, women in Singapore tend to have kids later in life but in these countries, they do so earlier, meaning they’re the generation well versed with the Internet.    

“They’re about 23 years old, making them digitally savvy moms, and they’ve grown up with the Internet. So this is the first generation we can parent through the Internet.”

All about women empowerment

Mahtani is also the co-founder of the Female Founder Network, a non-profit association of budding female entrepreneurs. But what you might not know is that this actually started off as a Facebook group.

“In Singapore, only seven per cent of boards have women that sit on it and that didn’t gel too well with me. So what we do is work with other women networks to help them with grants, in addition to doing research that help change policies around women entrepreneurship,” she added.

Mahtani aims to further build on that women empowerment in the next few years – be it for moms, or girls going into stem education and learning how to code. And, she’s achieving all this at just 31.