CareLuLu Raises $1.7M in Seed Funding
SAN FRANSICSCO, CA, Online marketplace that connects parents with child care and preschool programs, has raised a $1.7 million seed round.
CareLuLu, an online marketplace that connects parents with child care and preschool programs, has raised a $1.7 million seed round. The round was led by Khosla Ventures with other notable investors participating including Crunchfund, The Startup Factory and 500 Startups. CareLuLu launched in Washington D.C. a year ago, and will use the funding to expand to new markets and grow the team.
The company was co-founded by parents, Patrick Matos and Evgeniya Usmanova, after they experienced firsthand the challenge of finding a daycare for their own daughters. 'We had recently moved to Washington D.C., and expected to find a website that would help us find local daycare centers,' says Patrick Matos, founder and CEO. 'We were surprised to find no single place where we could easily find all the information and compare options. In the end, we called dozens of places and had to visit 16 child care centers.'
Together with co-founder and CTO Gabriel Marques, they built a platform that simplifies the daycare and preschool search process. While there were great tools to find babysitters or nannies, websites to find group child care were essentially directories with limited information and personalization. Parents had to go through the laborious process of calling each daycare to gather information. With CareLuLu, parents can do a criteria-based search to quickly find a daycare that fits their family's needs in terms of budget, hours, age of their child or even a peanut free environment if their child suffers from allergies.
'Thank you! Your website is wonderful... It's truly a godsend after trying to find a needle in a haystack on Craigslist!' says Ann Brameyer, a mom who used CareLuLu to find child care. The platform provides key information including tuition rates, details on the facilities, services provided, teaching philosophy and photos. CareLuLu obviates the need to spend hours searching Google, calling daycare centers, or driving to physically visit preschools. CareLuLu also conducts in-person visits of some programs (called Verified child care providers on the site), offering verified photos and detailed reviews. Parents can easily save their favorite programs, compare options and schedule a visit.
CareLuLu also helps child care providers grow their business. Many daycare centers are small businesses, which have no online presence, and CareLuLu helps them fill their openings (although daycare and preschool programs in some areas like San Francisco have wait-lists, the situation is different in most other places.) 'We are a child care center in D.C. and CareLuLu has been a great marketing tool for us. We are a loyal customer, thank you!' says Milena Mattingly, CareLuLu customer and owner of Kiddie Academy of DC child care center.
CareLuLu's full platform is available in the Washington D.C. area. They've also built a nationwide directory of licensed child care and preschool programs and will use the funding to expand the full platform to new markets.
CareLuLu is an online marketplace that connects parents with licensed child care and preschool programs. Launched in August 2013 in Washington D.C., CareLuLu makes it easy for parents to find the perfect daycare in terms of budget, hours, or age of their child. The platform features a personalized search along with detailed information on child care providers such as tuition rates, teaching philosophy, photos and parent reviews. CareLuLu participated in the 500 Startups accelerator program (batch 10), and has secured investment from Khosla Ventures, Crunchfund, The Startup Factory, and 500 Startups. For more information, please visit: http://www.CareLuLu.com
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