Investing in WeeCare: Improving Access to Childcare Benefits

M13 led the $12 million Series A for WeeCare, which connects employers to affordable childcare benefits.

WeeCare connects employers who want to provide childcare benefits to their workforce with the largest network of in-home childcare providers, nannies and babysitters in the United States. We’ve known the WeeCare team since 2019 and have watched them navigate difficult market conditions over the past two years. They’ve not only survived but are solving challenges exacerbated by the pandemic to launch an expanded strategy that perfectly meets the needs of today’s workforce, employees, and childcare entrepreneurs.

WeeCare is sitting at the intersection of several important trends:

The last two years have illuminated the strain on working parents. People struggled to show up to work while managing pandemic-induced childcare challenges. Employers have now embraced the fact that childcare is an essential benefit they must offer. Pre-COVID, just 7% of employers offered childcare as a benefit; today, 42% either offer it or are actively looking for an option to help their employees access high-quality, affordable childcare.

Work patterns have changed so dramatically that the old model of daycares installed in downtown office buildings no longer work for much of the workforce. Employees need flexible childcare options, located near where they live and where they work. WeeCare’s distributed network of over 3,200 in-home childcare providers offers the geographic coverage for the greatest number of employees.

Record numbers of entrepreneurs are being drawn to at-home childcare as a career option. During the pandemic, women have famously fled the workforce in droves and are looking for alternate sources of income that offer more flexibility, including the ability to care for their own children simultaneously. Teachers are also leaving to go into the childcare business, whether as a nanny or starting their own in-home daycare. At the same time, parents are increasingly comfortable with in-home childcare as a high-quality and viable alternative to corporate daycare chains. There was a time not long ago when consumers didn’t feel comfortable sleeping in one another’s homes or getting rides in one another’s cars. It’s hard to imagine that time now, and childcare feels like the next wave in the widespread adoption of peer-to-peer services.

WeeCare launched in 2017 as a consumer marketplace connecting parents who needed childcare with a network of licensed, in-home daycare providers. Following her early career in private equity, CEO Jessica Chang launched and still owns a small chain of daycares. She understood the challenges for both parents and childcare providers firsthand. Jessica recruited CTO Jesse Forrest and CMO Matt Reilly as co-founders; all three had a prior history of working together, which we always love to see in a founding team.

During the early years of WeeCare, the team built a full operating system that allows in-home childcare providers to run their businesses along with a comprehensive curriculum system. While the consumer business was growing nicely pre-COVID, the pandemic hit the childcare industry hard and that gave the team an opportunity to reevaluate the strategy and offer an employee benefit solution.

When done correctly, managed marketplaces provide tremendous value to all the parties. Employers love WeeCare’s solution: it’s affordable, flexible, and has demonstrated impact on both reducing absenteeism and increasing retention. Employees appreciate the ultimate flexibility of being able to choose location and schedule for their childcare needs from week to week. And for the childcare providers, WeeCare offers a complete operating system, curriculum resources, and a steady influx of customers.

We’re excited to announce that we’re leading WeeCare’s $12 million Series A alongside existing investors Amplify, Fika Ventures, and Equal Ventures. Asset management firm Gopher also joined the round. If you’re looking for a new childcare option for your family—or for your company—check out WeeCare’s offerings. Jessica, Matt, Jesse, and team: Welcome to the M13 family!