Meet Willow Li, Founder of AyiConnect.
Before AyiConnect, Willow was the deployment lead and product manager for GigNow, an EY internal contractor recruiting and engagement platform. While there, she grew it to over 50 countries and 100K+ members. She also spent a number of years as an advisory consultant in various industries. With these experiences, Willow was able to hone her ability to connect talent to job opportunities using online platforms across many different cultures.
AyiConnect: Born out of a personal pain point
As an immigrant living in the US raising two children, Willow is no stranger to cultural differences. She wanted her children to learn more about her culture and immerse them in Mandarin Chinese with the help of a caregiver. Later on, when her dad was diagnosed with cancer, Willow wanted to prepare his arrival with a companion caregiver who could communicate about his needs in his home language.The process of finding the right caregiver proved unnecessarily difficult and time consuming with limited choices and options.
After months of searching online and offline, she was able to find someone with the right skills, but these experiences made her realize that there has to be an easier way for multicultural/multilingual people to find caregivers. She decided to test out the market by setting up a side hustle, evaluating customer prospects with her own multilingual caregiving service.
Willow’s initial customers were very thankful to have found her service. At the same time, Willow was able to learn more about the non-medical multilingual caregiving communities and their desires to upskill and contribute to the local societies. She learned that caregivers wanted to utilize both their caregiving skills and language ability to take advantage of more job opportunities and make a better living.
Willow often received requests for different kinds of caregiving needs, in many other languages such as Spanish, French, Korean, Tagalog, and Vietnamese. She knew that she couldn’t support all of these requests herself, so the idea of a platform with a service offering was born.
In November 2023, the AyiConnect app soft launched a community feed feature where families can post jobs, caregivers can post their availability, and both sides can post questions for each other. The app is available in English, Chinese, Spanish, Vietnamese and Indonesian.
The new community feed feature helps families find qualified caregivers who speak their language and understand their cultural needs, and helps caregivers find jobs that match their skills and schedule. It reduces time to match and increases interaction.
The platform bridges the gap in communication by using the users’ preferred languages. To date, they have made over 50K+ connections with a 4.6 TrustPilot rating.
AyiConnect is a multilingual care platform that makes it easy for families to find caregivers who share their heritage and language. It's more than a job board; it's a community where users can interact and support each other.
Families can post jobs, invite applicants, and chat with them directly. Caregivers can post their availability, browse job postings, and apply. They can also ask questions in the community before engaging further. If there is a language barrier, the app can translate to reduce communication gaps. Once a match is found, families can make offers and pay through a secure system.
AyiConnect’s target audiences are:
- Families who want childcare help with second language requirements
- Families with first-generation immigrant parents who need caregiving communication in their native languages
- Families who want caregivers who can understand and assimilate cultures and backgrounds
AyiConnect offers a free tier with limited features and paid tiers with additional features. Community interaction is always free.
For professionals who are too busy to look for caregivers themselves, AyiConnect provides a concierge service that has over 95% of success rate.
With more than 20K members joining AyiConnect, Willow and her team believe that their concept has been proven successful. They are ready to grow through more offerings and partnerships with companies.
How You Can Help
AyiConnect is looking to expand to other service areas, including domestic worker payroll. You can help by:
- Spreading the word about AyiConnect to help them grow
- Offering partnership opportunities
- Suggesting new languages and service areas
They are currently preparing to raise funds for their pre-seed round.
Learn more on their website.
Advice to Fellow Founders
"The journey is long, but perseverance is key. When critics try to put you down, remember your mission and the good customers you are serving. This will help you push through." – Willow Li, Founder of AyiConnect
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