Koru Kids: The childcare startup handing a lifeline to working parents
Inspired by her own experiences of returning to work after starting a family, Rachel Carrell was determined tofind a solution to Britain’s immensely complex? childcare regulation procedures. Afterfounding her own childcare startup, Koru Kids, she is now tacklingthe plight of parents head-on.
Since Spring£2016, Koru Kids has supported working families in London by removing the extensiveadministrative burden of childcare alongsidea range of practical services, such as nanny-sharing and after-school pickups.
The tech company is now backed by two venture capital funds and remains on an impressive path to success. Business Advice caught up with Carrell to find out more about early growth and her plans for the future.
Who are you and what’s your business?
I’m Rachel Carrell, and I founded Koru Kids in March 2016. Were a childcare tech company based in London. We have two services for babies and toddlers, we arrange daytime nanny shares, while for older kids, we have an after school pickup and nanny service.
Nanny share means that children from two families are looked after at the same time, with the nanny working between the houses. Parents save, the nanny gets paid more, and the children get a friend to play with. it’s gorgeous seeing the babies playing together and the nannies find it really rewarding to work with multiple kids.
For the after school service, we recruit and train our own after school nannies, and give them ongoing support and advice. Our nannies are energetic and responsible university students who love looking after kids as a part time job. they’re really fantastic.
For both of our services we also do all the paperwork for the families the contract, payroll, payments, taxes, and so on as we know how busy working parents don’t have spare time for all that stuff.
We’re backed by two venture capital funds and the co-founder of Gumtree, Michael Pennington, and have grown really fast over the past 12 months. We now have over 2, 500 families in our network.
I am a serial tech CEO who founded the company after having a baby and seeing how hard it was to arrange great childcare. I thought, There must be a better way.
How long has your childcare startup been around for?
Weve been around for just over a year. For the first few months it was just me, then I was joined by Rebecca who Id worked with in a previous job.
Now, the team is growing fast weve had three new people join in the past two weeks.
How do you make money?
We provide an all-inclusive service, and for it we take a commission.
Our service includes finding a nanny, finding a share family, doing the contracts, taxes, payroll, payments, and dozens of other boring but essential little bits of paperwork. We don’t charge any upfront fees for registration or membership.
What makes you different and why should people take notice?
it’s so difficult for parents to sort out childcare at the moment, it’s a complete headache.
You have to spend hours going through websites, interviewing, checking references, writing a contract, choosing a payroll company, setting up your nanny’s pension, then each month remembering to pay HMRC, and so on.
Plus it’s so hard to find a great nanny in the first place, especially for after school or holiday care.
Existing childcare options are very piecemeal, and the burden falls on the parent usually, the mum to fit it all together.
All of this while they’re sleep deprived, working hard at their job (and their marriage), and wanting to spend any spare time with their kids rather than on their laptop doing childcare admin!
Our service is different because it’s comprehensive. We take the burden of arranging childcare, which gives families more time for their everyday adventures.
What was key in getting your childcare startup off the ground?
I wasnt sure the nanny share concept was going to work initially. I put up a web site and talked about it a little on social media. No one signed up for a few days and I thought, OK, that was a bad idea.
Then, on about day five, suddenly the phone started ringing. By the end of the week, 37 families had signed up and I thought, “there’s something in this!”.
Praseeda Nair is the editorial director of Business Advice, and its sister publication for growing businesses, Real Business. She's an impassioned advocate for women in leadership, and likes to profile business owners, advisors and experts in the field of entrepreneurship and management.
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