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Kinside wants families to make the most of their dependent care flexible spending accounts

Kinside founders Rob Bircher, Shadiah Sigala and Abe Han The cost of childcare is one of the biggest financial burdens American families face. Even dependent care flexible spending accounts, pre-tax benefit accounts meant to reduce caregiving costs, can be an extra stressor because they involve filling out many forms. Kinside, a startup in Y Combinator’s current batch, wants to help by automating the claims process. It also serves as a childcare management tool, letting parents pay their care providers with a Venmo-like feature while making it simpler for companies to offer childcare benefits, like matching costs, that can help attract talented employees. Kinside is still in beta, but it’s already been adopted by several tech companies, including Le Tote. Kinside’s three founders—CEO Shadiah Sigala, COO Rob Bircher and CTO Abe Han—were motivated to launch the startup after realizing that dependent care FSAs (which can also be used for other caregiving-related costs, like elder care) are vastly underutilized. “Even though upwards of 70% of companies offer this FSA, we found in our conversations with numerous companies that maybe 10% of eligible parents are using this benefit,” Sigala says. “From an employee experience perspective, we are really taking on a very onerous, traditional FSA product and streamlining the payments process, not only for employers to offer this benefit very seamlessly, but also streamlining the process for parents to take advantage of this benefit.” One reason eligible employees forgo their dependent care FSA benefits is the claims process, which can take weeks to process and involves collecting receipts and uploading them onto a website (snail mail and fax are other options). As parents, Kinside’s founders have experienced firsthand the headache of dealing with dependent care FSA forms at previous jobs. “Some of the products we’ve seen already look a decade old, with multiple screens of input. They are really clumsy, so from a modern Web app and UX experience, Kinside brings it up to speed,” says Han. Kinside also takes advantage of the trio’s past experience in the payments and benefits space. Before launching Kinside, Sigala co-founded HoneyBook, a CRM for entrepreneurs in creative…

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