WeeCare Believes Tech Could Solve the Childcare Crisis - GO.CO Blog

When it came time for Jessica Chang to return to work after maternity leave, the tech executive ​​​​found it difficult to secure quality childcare at a reasonable price. The Los Angeles-based mom ​​​​discovered every option to be extremely expensive, while​ the​ ​limited availability of childcare spots ​​made it virtually impossible for her to juggle career and motherhood. So she quit her job as VP of Marketplace at RadPad, a venture-backed fintech company, and opened her own childcare facility.  

​​While running her own business, she saw firsthand all the hurdles and inefficiencies that came with running a caregiving center, especially for smaller or family-run operators. ​In 2017​,​ she took another career leap and teamed up with co​-​founders Matt Reilly​ (currently CMO of WeeCare)​ and Jesse Forrest (who currently serves as CTO​ of WeeCare​) ​to build a platform that streamlined the administrative, marketing, and bookkeeping work so that business owners could focus on providing quality care to little ones. That’s how WeeCare was born. Little did they know, they were also embarking on a journey towards ​find​ing​ a larger solution for the childcare crisis, a crisis that would only ​be exacerbated​ three years later due to the Covid-19 pandemic.  

“Our mission is to make affordable, quality childcare accessible to all families​, not just those who can afford it,” says Chang.  

But the country’s economic and societal frameworks are failing millions of families. According to the Center of American Progress, half the country’s population lives in childcare deserts, where low-income families and communities of color are disproportionately affected. Meanwhile, according to PBS NewsHour, ​in recent years ​the number of licensed in-home childcare providers has dropped about 20%. 

The WeeCare mission aims to tackle this massive and complex issue through three channels; first, by helping child care providers with operating sustainable businesses through a technology-based marketplace. WeeCare also helps employers of all sizes offer employees ​childcare benefits​. Third, WeeCare’s next chapter is focused on working with local governments to facilitate child care subsidies.  

“We are a tech solution that can eliminate waitlists and streamline subsidies for providers and connect them with families in need of services quickly,” says a WeeCare spokesperson. In Los Angeles County, the statistics speak for itself: only 6% of eligible children receive subsidies which means the rest are running into hurdles or not receiving the information they need.  

Chang admits that “building WeeCare wasn’t a walk in the park.” The platform serves not only childcare businesses, but parents and caregivers as well.  

It leverages technology to find efficient solutions for modern families, which means designing a practical tool for busy, working parents.  WeeCare allows parents and caregivers to do virtual tours as well as schedule in-person tours, and facilitate enrollments and payments. It addresses common pain points when it comes to finding childcare, by ​displaying real-time availability data for childcare spots and ​requiring facilities to be transparent about rates and fees.  

​​​When the startup went live online, Chang and team chose .CO for their business website domain, weecare.co. “It is easy to remember and it is relatively new,” she says, “and it is also used by up-and-coming innovative startups.” The company has also built an app with a user-friendly interface that relies on WeeCare’s proprietary algorithm to find the best childcare options in their area.  

​​WeeCare would face its biggest obstacle in 2020. The long-overlooked childcare crisis would become amplified during the pandemic. At the time it became obvious that families stuck indoors no longer had access to schooling or daycares, and working mothers especially ​bore​ the brunt. WeeCare further shaped itself as a valuable tool for retention and recruitment, giving employers an opportunity to be part of the solution to the childcare crisis. To date, the WeeCare network has partnered with more than 100 ​US employers​ to subsidize childcare for employees​ including companies like JCPenney, Chobani, Dollywood, Goodwill, and many more​. ​WeeCare​ now has presence in all 50 states, and last year raised $12 million ​in Series A ​venture capital funding. ​Recently, WeeCare announced the expansion of its BOOST program which supports childcare providers in maximizing their earning potential, thriving in the industry they love, and attracting new talent.​​​​ 

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​​A​s a mom of two, ​Jessica ​is currently immersed in her role as an advocate for early childhood education and care. Chang says this passion has served as a North Star throughout her startup journey for WeeCare. “Keeping your end goal in mind can help you remember why you’re doing what you’re doing,” she says. “Remembering our mission of making affordable, quality childcare accessible to all families helps me push through the toughest of times.”  

Chang shares her best advice for aspiring entrepreneurs, especially for female founders aiming to disrupt an industry that mostly affects women. “It takes a certain kind of mindset to endure the ups and downs of a growing startup. It’s important to take things one step at a time and not let the challenges consume you … There will always be obstacles and setbacks, but that’s just part of the process.”  


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