“the other saas solutions in the childcare space have gone after the providers first and that’s been really hard and challenging because it’s a very fragmented market and it’s really hard to get traction,” mauskopf said. the startup’s service hopes to help childcare centers grow and manage their businesses, not just fill empty seats. and for the customers that may already have their own websites, winnie thinks it can help by giving centers a landing page — full of reviews, program details, education types, licensing information and verification — where parents are already heading. the company is now pursuing a saas-like model in which it charges a monthly fee, which ranges based on the capacity of the center, for these new services.
previously, winnie made money based on how many parents it sent to a childcare center, or the pay-per-lead model. “one of the things we saw recently was that a lot of providers were limited by staffing challenges, so they were like, i can’t take any more leads right now.” the company is now pursuing a saas-like model in which it charges a monthly fee, which ranges based on the capacity of the center, to help businesses with marketing, enrollments and even staffing. for example, winnie could tell a business that parents in their geography are hungry for drop-in care and advise them to hire accordingly to service demand, and eventually increase revenue. “i think there was a part of us, before the pandemic, that always wondered, ‘what if every employer just had childcare on site?’ sort of how healthcare is provided by an employer,” she said.
but i’ve had a nanny and done part-time preschool, so i’ve had to find multiple, different kinds of solutions. we started in san francisco, where we are based, getting information on every licensed day care and preschool, many of which weren’t online at all before winnie, so a lot of the smaller, in-home child-care options were not listed online and parents had no way to find them. i was told you have to network and ask around and find the right mom friends who know of the nanny who’s going to be available or the day care that’s going to have an open spot.
a: one of the things we learned is that every day care and preschool is licensed and inspected regularly by the state. in the states where we’ve done this integration, such as in california, we list the licensing number, and we link to the licensing database so that parents can see this information and find out if a provider is not licensed. this was another thing that was just so hard for me when i was searching for child care: to actually find other parents who had used a particular provider and could say they had a great experience. we have a lot of providers on winnie already and using the database, but not all of them.
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