London startup looking to revolutionise early-years childcare raises £5m

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Tiney, a London startup which sources people interested in being childminders, trains them to run childcare services and then arranges opportunity for them, has raised £5million in funding.

The funding was led by Index Ventures, with LocalGlobe and JamJar Investments also participating. The raised funds will help the company scale up.

Founded by Brett Wigdortz, also the founder of Teach First, Tiney is taking a tech approach to create a platform that trains childminders, and then connects them with parents looking for their services. 

It is trying to streamline the process of finding a childminder while creating a platform for more enriched training, made up of both in-person and online coursework, before people get started as childminders.

When childminders are ready to work, they get listed on Tiney’s site, are booked through there, and Tiney handles all of the messaging and invoicing between childminders and parents after. 

One part of the problem, according to Wigdortz, is that early-years care is not often thought of as early-years education, with insufficient focus on fun activities that help with child development.

In 2000, there were 100,000 registered childminders in the UK. Today, there are only 40,000.

While all of the training, onboarding, development and ongoing support are free, Tiney makes a 10% commission on every job/contract booked through its platform. 

Tiney is currently adding around 25 new childminders per week, Wigdortz said, which is small but growing. The idea is that with this funding, it will be able to onboard more and grow faster.

Hannah Seal, Principal at Index Ventures, told TechCrunch: "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."