Warsaw-based female startup secures €3.4 million in seed funding for EC app
A Warsaw-based female-founded team are revolutionising approaches to early education through an app which aims to be an ‘all-in-one marketplace’ to support parents and encourage crucial child development.
The Village Network has secured €3.4 million in seed funding which saw participation from Movens Capital, 500 Startups, Tilia Impact Ventures and Credo Ventures to develop a tech-led platform that empowers the creation of “parent-led micro-schools,” which has the capacity to completely shift the way early childhood education and care (ECEC) is conducted.
Offering an SaaS platform, edtech products, an application for running nurseries, preschools and schools, and The Village marketplace, the app will allow parents to access high quality education within their own communities, and will address statistics which show that 78 per cent of children miss out on pre-primary education.
“With a notable shortage of affordable childcare options, women are disproportionately impacted and often left with the impossible task of deciding between prioritising their career or childcare,” the founders note.
The Village Network aims to improve childhood experiences for enhanced development, to support parents, and to support early educators. Founder Aleksandra Kozera has a background in education, having studied at Harvard, and is a parent herself.
“From the beginning, the vision and goal has been to create a village all over the world with committed mothers, parents, nannies and teachers – enabling children to have an equal start,” she said.
Education in so-called “villages” makes this early start possible.
“We are already achieving the snowflake effect, when some parents learn about the villages from others, enrol their children in them and open their places,” she continued.
“We want to enable multi-dimensional support to open and run villages. That is why we build edtech products and create a marketplace.”
The Village Network creates quality centres for childcare that are empathy and creativity-centric. The nanny-shares, micro-nurseries and preschools are parent-led in so-called ‘villages’ – based in community hubs.
Parents and teachers working in the villages participate in the original The Village Way courses and regularly improve their qualifications according to the philosophy of nonviolent communication and Reggio Emilia pedagogy.
Aside from forming quality childcare and education, the startup is focused on supporting women’s professional development and fostering gender equity in parenthood and entrepreneurship. The development path for Village owners is structured and holistic so that entrepreneurial mothers gain knowledge and tools in all areas needed to run a business.
Essentially, the startup has developed a marketplace for parents where they can find proper childcare in their neighbourhood, and at the same time be supported in their own professional development, as well as providing childcare job opportunities. It’s an end-to-end solution supporting parents in solving the difficulty of finding high-quality child care through technology, content and community.
“Childcare means more jobs and more women working,” the founders explained.
“Rich experiences in early education are the foundation of democracy and equal opportunities in society. The private sector sees the problem and wants to solve it. If parents want to go to work and have no one to leave their children with, this is an area that needs to be addressed.”
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