M13 partner Anna Barber (R) with WeeCare CEO and cofounder Jessica Chan. WeeCare is changing the … [+]
The pandemic amplified the pain points of childcare. Between the cost and a recession looming around the corner, families can no longer afford the stress of finding quality care. According to Zippia, Americans with children spend, on average, at least 10% of their household income on childcare. Additionally, 58% of working parents rely on child care centers—about 6.38 million parents nationwide. Companies like WeeCare are tackling the $54 billion industry from the customer and business side of operations.
Jessica Chang, cofounder and CEO of WeeCare, along with her partners, Jesse Forrest and Matt Reilly, started the company out of frustration to make affordable, world-class daycares accessible to all families. During the pandemic, the company shifted its business model to help organizations provide childcare as an employee incentive. It recently announced a $12 million Series A round led by Anna Barber at M13.
WeeCare is a consumer marketplace while also bringing employers into the business model. The Great Resignation and women leaving the workforce in droves underscored the Nation’s childcare crisis. Every day, more companies realize they have to be a part of the solution to keep turnover rates at a minimum. WeeCare has built the support organizations need to make childcare an employee benefit through an employee stipend and tax credits for companies. As a result, there are 30% fewer employee absences after offering childcare benefits and a 60% decline in employee turnover. Chang and her team have partnered with name brands, including Dollywood and Clubhouse.
“We actually kept 90% of our daycares open throughout Covid,” Chang states. “We got a lot of calls from families saying they still need daycare. I was like, ‘Well, I thought everyone was staying at home?’ They’d respond, ‘I’m an essential worker. I need to be at work. I can’t stay at home.’ We asked what their employer was doing. A lot of them said, ‘nothing. They’re giving us more backup care. But that might not be worthwhile. I need stable childcare. And my childcare is closed.’ It snowballed from there. We asked why weren’t employers involved in this decision? We have health insurance. Why don’t we have childcare?”
Chang earned a degree in early childhood development. However, she worked in finance for ten years as a way to be financially stable. As she approached the point in her life when she wanted to start a family, she found it difficult to find quality daycare, which led to her becoming a childcare provider herself. She …….