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Wonderschool

Airbnb for preschools & child care

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Suzy Ryoo
Hunter
@suzywillow · Atom Factory & Cross Culture Ventures
Wonderschool (formerly One Preschool) was announced to the public today, rightfully so after Father's Day. They also announced $2M in seed funding from First Round Capital, Cross Culture Ventures (us!!), SoftTech VC, Lerer Ventures, Funders Club & Edelweiss (See VentureBeat article) Met Chris (CEO) in 2016 and was impressed with his clarity of vision and execution, & his thoughtfulness around "what would you work on for the next 10 years?". He, Arrel (CTO) and Rebecca (Head of Partnerships) were focused & mission-driven towards educating millions of kids before kindergarten - no matter what zip code they were born in. Then, they were working with <10 schools in the Bay Area & LA, now they are working with 50+ schools & growing nationwide. PARENTS ARE HEROES. For years, I've been hearing from friends about how crazy difficult and nearly impossible it is to find childcare that's 1) close to home/work 2) trustworthy & of high quality & 3) even somewhat affordable. Wonderschool is making it possible for early educators to become education entrepreneurs & start preschools/daycares in their homes. On wonderschool.com, there are French, Spanish, Russian, Chinese immersion / bilingual schools, play-based or montessori-inspired schools, to daycare for infants, by schedule, price, age range & location. Chris & team -- Why is this work important to you?
Chris Bennett@chris_bennett
@suzywillow Thanks for the question! My appreciation for education goes back to my parents, working class, Honduran immigrants who did whatever they could to ensure that my sister and I had access to an excellent education—from attending quality preschool to graduating from Penn. We want to ensure that all children have access to the same opportunities to reach their full potential. We also care deeply about the impact we are able to have to empower educators as entrepreneurs. Teachers - especially in places like the Bay Area - are struggling. The average Preschool Teacher salary in California is approximately $14.09 per hour, which is 22% above the national average (Source: Indeed), but still barely more than minimum wage in most areas. This average hourly rate is hardly a living wage and many educators are choosing to leave the field or cannot afford to live in the same cities in which they work. In SF alone, for example, less than 1% of local homes for sale were found to be affordable to teachers. What’s more, many educators can’t afford childcare themselves, many dropping out of the workforce when they have kids. Wonderschool makes it possible for these new moms to earn enough to care for their children and also earn additional income by providing enriching childcare and education to other children in their neighborhood. We just did a study to understand the income and employment of our program directors before they partnered with Wonderschool to start their own programs. Here’s what we found: - Right now, the bulk of our partners are located in the Bay Area and Los Angeles, two areas with high costs of living. - The average annual income of our partners from their jobs before joining Wonderschool was less than $38,000 before taxes (76% of our partners have a bachelor degree and 32% have completed graduate school) and they make close to double that after joining Wonderschool. - Many of our partners had actually left the workforce after having a child or children of their own since the cost of childcare was about the same as their income. - More than a third of our program directors were stay at home parents at the time they decided to work with Wonderschool to start their own in-home program. We were thrilled to learn this because it shows we are actually helping to grow the supply of childcare and preschool by helping teachers start their own businesses and programs in their homes. Our entire team is highly motivated to expand our work so that we can continue to empower more educators and childcare providers, provide families with more options, and help enrich and support even more young children!
Josh Valdez@joshvaldez · Product @ Pattern
What a rockstar team working on a worthwhile mission. Congrats on the launch @chris_bennett and crew!
Eugene Schneur@eugeneschneur · Co-founder of Omni New York LLC.
Wow, amazing idea! Wish you the best of luck!
Ashish Aggarwal@ashish_aggarwal · Always creating new stuff for consumers
@8ennett-- awesome awesome idea! quick question-- how do you convince parents regarding the safety aspect ? which must have also been an early problem with AirBnB but since these are kids, the risk is prob much higher
Chris Bennett@chris_bennett
@ashish_aggarwal @8ennett Unlike Airbnb in the early days, we are in a heavily regulated space. All of our programs have a license from the state and to get a license everyone in the home has to pass a background check, the state sends an analyst to inspect the home for safety, if you are applying for a certain license you need to have a fire marshall visit, and the state sends someone about 1-2 times a year unannounced to inspect the home and make sure the Director is staying with the strict regulations of the state.
janfsauer@janfsauer · Sr. Global Director, SAP
Great opportunity to make a difference! Best of luck.