Finding and providing childcare is one of the biggest challenges parents face. kinside simplifies this process by not only providing a market for verified caregivers, but also helping parents use their Flexible Spending Accounts (FSA) and other benefits to afford care. The company today announced that it has raised $12 million in Series A funding, which was entirely mother-led. Among them are Sasha McKenzie of Wellington Ventures; Joanna Drake of Magnify Ventures; Alda Leu Dennis of Initialized; and Sarah Despande of Maven Ventures. This round brought Kinside’s total funding to $16 million. TechCrunch first coated alum Y Combinator when it announced a $4 million seed round led by Initialized in December 2019.
Brittney Barrett, co-founder and chief marketing officer of Kinside, told TechCrunch that the round’s lineup came together seamlessly.
“Investors are naturally attracted to businesses that deal with problems that they themselves have experienced or have experienced. This is why representation is so important in the venture capital world,” she said. “We weren’t just looking for mothers, but working mothers are familiar with the painfully inefficient process of seeking help. They also know how much families spend on care every month, so they understand the scale of the financial opportunity.”
Kinside was founded in 2018 after co-founder and CEO Shadia Sigala spent weeks calling kindergartens and preschools trying to find a place to accommodate her young son and three-year-old daughter. Since launching in 2019, the Kinside marketplace has grown to thousands of childcare centers and is used by parents of over 3,000 employees who use it to find open childcare locations and get pre-negotiated tuition prices. To qualify for the Kinside Market, caregivers must be licensed by the state and must also pass a Kinside security screening. Barrett explained that the company has been working with state licensing experts to develop its own statewide verification system, which evaluates years of licenses and visit history, and has a national bounce rate of 5%.
Barrett said Kinside uses the scope of the employer-based system to pre-negotiate rates with suppliers. It integrates with FSA Dependent Care so parents can use their pre-tax funds as they come in, and combines them with secondary payment methods like their bank account. This eliminates the need for claims and reimbursements, making it easier to pay for child care with benefits.
Kinside takes an agnostic approach to the employers it works with. For example, Barrett said they range from technology employers with 20 employees to manufacturing sector employers with 20,000 employees.
The latest round of funding will be used to expand the functionality of the Kinside marketplace and develop new tools that will further expand its dynamic inventory as the company aims to expand to 10,000 employers and one million parents. Dynamic inventory means the company knows in real time when space becomes available at the center, helping parents with their search. In the long term, Barrett said, Kinside plans to use this data to create the right amount and type of offering in the right areas, reduce childcare deserts, or help independent childcare owners expand to second or third place.
In a prepared statement, Magnify Ventures’ Drake said, “Finding affordable, affordable, quality childcare has long been an undue burden for working parents in the US, and the pandemic has shed a bright light on the critical importance for employers to address the issue urgently. for the needs of child care workers.
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