Why We Invested: MyVillage

Impact Engine
Apr 30 · 3 min read

By Elizabeth Coston McCluskey and Sam Abbott

Working families face a number of obstacles when seeking child care, with one of the biggest barriers being supply of high-quality providers. According to the Center for American Progress, 42% of children under age 5 in the US live in child care “deserts” — places lacking adequate access to quality child care options. Due to limited availability, families can face waitlists longer than a year to place their child with a high-quality provider. Affordability is also a major factor, as the cost of child care has increased over 70% since 1985. These challenges have led to over 50% of American parents saying they are unsatisfied with their child’s current care.

Solution

MyVillage creates a community of quality home-based child care businesses benefitting both providers and families. The company is the only one of its kind with a solution proven to work across the country — even in rural, Western states. MyVillage makes it easier for providers to establish and operate high-quality child care businesses by offering access to a suite of resources: a platform to connect with local mentors who can help navigate taxes and regulations, a curated teaching curriculum, business software tools, marketing support, and professional development opportunities. Using MyVillage’s platform, families can search for child care options based on price, location, and program type. They can communicate with and pay providers on the platform, and feel assured that the providers are properly trained, insured, and subject to consistent quality standards.

Why We Invested

In addition to the compelling market opportunity, we are excited to be partnering with MyVillage because of the strength of their team, their early momentum, and their potential for impact.

MyVillage’s team has a proven commitment to making a positive social impact. Erica Mackey, co-founder and CEO, has a track record of scaling impactful solutions to challenging social problems. Before MyVillage, Erica co-founded and was the COO of Off Grid Electric — a renewable energy startup based in Tanzania. Elizabeth Szymanski, co-founder and CFO, was previously the CFO for TENA, an innovative Tanzanian recycling company.

MyVillage’s model has resonated with both existing and new in-home child care providers, and has enabled them to establish a foothold in Montana and Colorado. To date they have recruited 25 providers and have 90 children in care.

The model has the potential to reach underserved communities in both rural and urban settings, giving all children the opportunity to receive high-quality care. While access is a problem across the US, rural and Hispanic communities face a disproportionately high shortage of supply, and affordability is often a challenge for high quality care.

Impact

MyVillage seeks to increase the number of children under five receiving quality child care, to improve the accessibility and affordability of quality child care, and to provide economic empowerment for in-home child care providers. Quality early childhood education is crucial for brain development and prepares children for kindergarten. Roughly half of all low-income 5-year-olds in the US are not ready for kindergarten, putting them at a disadvantage from the very start of their formal education. MyVillage will equip more children to succeed as they enter school.

The company also empowers in-home child care providers to earn up to double their current wage, which averages $11.50 per hour, while monetizing their homes through a meaningful career that supports work-life balance. Through MyVillage, providers can also take advantage of professional development opportunities.


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We are a venture capital and private equity investment firm focused on growing companies that generate positive social and environmental outcomes.