SAN FRANCISCO — Wonderschool has closed $20 million in Series A financing led by Andreessen Horowitz with general partner Jeff Jordan joining its board. The latest financing will be used to add additional products and services to the Wonderschool platform to help educators and caregivers start, operate and grow their own high-quality in-home preschools and daycares.
The funding, with additional participation from Omidyar, Gary Community Investments and First Round, will be used, in part, to help recruit new school openings in existing Wonderschool markets of Los Angeles, New York and the San Francisco Bay Area, key markets where dense population has caused shortages in the availability of high-quality early childhood education programs including both preschools and daycares.
Also participating in the round are Cross Culture, Uncork Capital, Rethink Education, Edelweiss, Lerer Hippeau as well as Angel investors Michael Ovitz, Kevin Hartz and Geoff Donaker. Wonderschool’s total financing is now $24.1 million.
Establishing a small business requires startup capital and expertise that many can find daunting. Similar to platforms like Airbnb or Rover, Wonderschool provides the framework for educators to become small business owners and run their own in-home programs. Wonderschool supports them with operations, licensing, accounting and marketing to attract enrollment, as well as expert and peer support to generate curriculum ideas and work through any challenges they may encounter.
“Wonderschool addresses both sides of the early childhood education marketplace, supply and demand,” says Chris Bennett, co-founder and CEO of Wonderschool. “Our platform provides an option for educators that are all too often priced out of the career they love to continue to develop and teach while ultimately bringing parents more high-quality, local options. With this investment, Wonderschool can continue to scale quickly and not only create more openings for children, but also help experienced educators become ‘edupreneurs.'”
Wonderschool now has 140 schools in operation, nearly 500 educators in the process of opening and a cadence of approximately 70 new school Directors signing on to open their own schools per month. With these new schools opening, Wonderschool and their school Directors have created 5,000 new early childhood education spots that didn’t exist 18 months ago while earning an average of 2.3X the median preschool teacher salary in the US ($78K with Wonderschool vs. $28K according to US News & World Report).
“I’ve had the privilege to have a front row seat to a set of companies whose technologies have created new income streams for millions of people in eBay, Airbnb, and Instacart,” says Jeff Jordan, general partner at Andreessen Horowitz. “Wonderschool is in the model of these impressive companies. Its mission is to create micro-entrepreneurs out of educators by providing services such as facilitating business licensing and finding students, to scheduling visits and enrolling them. In doing so, the company also helps these educators to become small business owners.”
Each Wonderschool program has between six and 12 children and individual schools vary in philosophy; there are language immersion as well as Reggio, Montessori and nature-based schools. Parents looking for the right school for their family can search by city on the Wonderschool website. Wonderschool has a straightforward subscription-based business model where school Directors have access to all the features of the Wonderschool platform, services and community for 10 percent of school tuition fees.