SAN FRANCISCO, Jan. 11, 2022 /PRNewswire/ — Wonderschool, the fast-growing childcare management platform, today announced it has raised $25 million to reduce “childcare deserts” by scaling access to high-quality, flexible care for children and families. The Series B round was led by Goldman Sachs as part of its One Million Black Women initiative, a $10 billion commitment to narrow opportunity gaps for Black women over the next decade. Citi Impact Fund also joined the round, along with participation from existing investors including Andreessen Horowitz, Uncork Capital, Unusual Ventures, Imaginable Futures, and Gaingels.
Each year, the U.S. spends billions of dollars on early childhood education, and yet, 51% of Americans live in “childcare deserts” without a sufficient supply of licensed childcare providers. For Black families, the challenges are even more acute. Black mothers, even pre-pandemic, are more likely to lack access to affordable, quality child care and face less flexibility in their jobs.
“Even before the pandemic, the absence of quality, affordable early childcare education undermined the careers and economic mobility of many Black women, in addition to the development of their children during crucial years,” said Margaret Anadu, the Global Head of Sustainability and Impact for Goldman Sachs Asset Management. “Wonderschool is harnessing the potential of technology to provide comprehensive support to home-based care providers, enabling them to create high-quality environments while also helping parents in need of childcare solutions with an accessible marketplace.”
The Wonderschool platform, which has been deployed statewide in New Mexico, Indiana, and Nevada, provides childcare entrepreneurs with the tools and infrastructure needed to establish, support, and sustain their programs. Using the platform, providers can access help with operations, licensing, accounting, and marketing to attract enrollment, as well as expert and peer support to generate curriculum ideas and work through any challenges they may encounter. States are increasingly relying upon the Wonderschool platform for insight into childcare gaps across their state, helping to inform policy and funding decisions to generate the critical insights necessary to make smarter, more targeted investments in childcare deserts.
“Child care is, perhaps, our most important public investment. And yet, we have historically relied on a fragmented, outdated system to make good on its promise,” said Chris Bennett, founder and CEO of Wonderschool. “Policymakers have precious little data to understand where public funds are having an impact. Empowering providers to serve families and children and providing state leaders with better data to understand what’s happening are two sides of the same coin.”
Just four years after incubating the company at a preschool, Wonderschool now serves nearly 1,700 programs. Wonderschool directors earn an average of $78,000, or more than twice the median salary of a preschool teacher salary in the U.S., according to data from U.S. News and World Report.
The new funding will allow Wonderschool to accelerate its impact through enhancements to improve the user experience; bolster support to government leaders who are increasingly relying on the platform’s insights; and expand the teams dedicated to helping childcare providers access platform-wide insights and best practices that can improve the quality of their programs.
In addition, Wonderschool will expand its Board of Directors. Anadu, of Goldman Sachs, will join the board along with Ken Coleman, chairman at EIS Group, and Shane Metcalf, founder of 15Five.
Wonderschool is building the largest network of high-quality early education programs. Wonderschool offers a diversity of options and combines engaged teachers and thoughtful education with the warmth of a family program while maintaining standards that go above and beyond state requirements. By providing dedicated support, technology, training, mentorship, and community, Wonderschool lets teachers focus on what they do best—teaching—and allows them to earn a sustainable living in the field they love. Learn more at www.wonderschool.com.
About Goldman Sachs’ One Million Black Women Initiative
Goldman Sachs’ One Million Black Women initiative is a $10 billion investment strategy alongside $100 million in philanthropic support to help narrow opportunity gaps and positively impact the lives of at least one million Black women over the next decade. Launched in partnership with Black women-led organizations, this initiative from Goldman Sachs, One Million Black Women, will drive investment in housing; healthcare; access to capital; education; job creation and workforce advancement; digital connectivity; and financial health.