Tiney, a London-based startup with a mission to unlock the potential of every child, has raised $6.5 million to revolutionize early years care.
The funding round was led by Index Ventures, and participated by venture capital firms LocalGlobe and Jamjar Investments.
Founded by Brett Wigdortz, Tiney provides a platform that sources individuals who are passionate about becoming brilliant child educators, trains them to offer childcare from their own homes, and then connects them with parents who are looking for their services. Tiney gives childminders world-class early-years training and make sure every aspect of their home nursery meets its Ofsted-approved quality check. Its platform facilitates parents to search home nurseries near them and helps them find the one that meets their unique needs. Tiney home leaders foster a love of learning by providing an exciting, play-based curriculum, tailored to each child’s needs.
Tiney aims to make the highest quality childcare accessible to more families, and fit with a wider range of personal and professional circumstances. Its services are built in partnership with some of the most trusted names in early-years childcare provider like Mumsnet, Annabel Karmel, Action for Children, among others.
Explaining the problems in the early childcare system, and how it got him interested in the sector, Brett Wigdortz, Founder and CEO of Tiney, told TechCrunch,
“The big gap was that kids weren’t getting good preschool educations. We were finding that a lot of kids in year one weren’t verbal and just weren’t ready for school. In some cases, parents are working all the time or really struggling. They (childcare providers) weren’t treated as professionals. They just didn’t get good professional development and support. Realizing how broken it was is what got me interested in the sector.”
Since going by the usual route is not ideal in terms of providing any kind of continuous training or monitoring of the childminders, Tiney takes a tech approach to solve the problem by providing a platform that trains individuals and then connects them with parents looking for their services. Tiney streamlines the process of finding a childminder while at the same time creates a platform for more enriched training – which involves both in-person and online coursework – before people get started as childminders. It then provides more continuous development and support to them. When childminders are ready to work, they get listed on Tiney’s site, booked through there, and Tiney handles all of the messaging and invoicing between childminders and parents after.
Tiney said its system is not just about bringing in more people into the childminding profession, but about making the whole concept and opportunity more open to more people. The company said it is currently adding around 25 new childminders per month, and the latest funding will enable them to onboard more and grow faster.
Commenting on the funding, Hannah Seal, Principal at Index Ventures, said,
“After improving primary and secondary education for millions of children through Teach First, Brett is now tackling some of the biggest challenges parents, children and the society face in the very early years. For parents of young children, sorting out childcare is often a struggle with limited often-costly and inadequate options. For educators, there is not always an easy path to a career in early-years education, which has led to rapidly declining numbers of childminders across the UK. We’re excited to partner with Brett to address this growing crisis and create a system that puts more focus on children during the most critical years of development.”
Tiney is an Ofsted-registered agency, so it is licensed to register childcare professionals on their behalf.