Koru Kids is a highly curated marketplace for childcare, pairing parents with carefully selected nannies, and offering an efficient end-to-end service which allows customers to locate and manage their childcare in one central location.
Founder and CEO Rachel Carrell tells us she started Koru Kids after she had a baby, and quickly realised “just how difficult it was to find great childcare”.
“The absence of great childcare had a profound effect on a lot of my friends”, she explained, “they were making life decisions on that basis – moving out of London when they didn’t want to, or not being able to go back to careers when they did want to, because the financials didn’t work out. Some even avoided having another child because of it, which is a huge decision”.
The current childcare system “hardly works for anyone,” Rachel explains “it doesn’t work for freelance work, or gigs, or if you earn less than £50,000, which is most people”.
Koru Kids aims to “reinvent the whole childcare product from scratch” says Rachel, answering the question of what childcare would look like if it “was based on tech and data, using modern principles of product driven startups”.
“We bring it all together seamlessly” Rachel tells us “and this has two great advantages. The first is that for the customer, they don’t have to put everything together themselves.”
“Working parents of young kids are the most overworked, stressed, exhausted people on the planet – and these are people that before Koru Kids were being asked to patch together a thousand different services and people to make their childcare work.”
The second chief advantage of Koru Kids’ end-to-end approach is access to data. “We can use data and technology to optimise and make the whole journey better.”
Rachel describes Koru Kids’ emphasis on bespoke, in-house training as a “real USP”, and says that they’ve trained more than 3000 nannies so far. That training process is being “constantly improved” based on customer feedback, and is run by a team of 30, “including a qualified early years specialist”.
“Our current focus is on training after school nannies – I’m not aware of any other company in the world who specialises in this, and it’s really important for helping children to develop into whole flourishing individuals, not just educated adults” says Rachel.
“We’ve raised two rounds” Rachel tells us “the first for £600,000 in January 2017, and the second for £3.5 million in March of 2018. It’s a phenomenal cap table – some of London’s top angels and VC funds.”
The money raised has so far primarily been spent on “the tech product and content, at the moment. We’re all about data, technology and content. That’s where the magic of what we’re building is.”
“EIS and SEIS are very useful for raising initial funding, and extremely helpful for the UK system in general” Rachel tells us.
“It really does de-risk investing in things right at the very start – I got some really excellent angels with our first £150,000. That allowed me to get some fantastic momentum going, and from there we were away.”