By Riley Kaminer
Perhaps there is no more important time in a child’s educational life than when they are youngest, in the six weeks old through pre-K range. Staffing shortages are a major threat to our early childhood education system, but Miami-based EarlyDay aims to soften the blow. The startup has developed a two-sided marketplace, connecting early childhood educators with job opportunities.
EarlyDay just announced that they have raised a $3.25 million seed round to help bring their platform to the next level. Alpaca VC and Struck Capital co-led the fundraise, with additional participants including Revolution’s Rise of the Rest Seed Fund, FJ Labs, and Precursor Ventures.
Co-CEO and co-founder Emma Harris told Refresh Miami that the round came together quickly. “By running a really tight process, we were able to get a term sheet within the first 10 days of fundraising, and by mid-July we had closed the round officially.”
Despite a few sleepless nights, Harris reports that the process went as smoothly as a fundraise could. That was worth it, in her estimation: “It was the right approach because we were able to very quickly return to building the business and continuing our mission.”
This funding comes off the back of a $1 million pre-seed round EarlyDay raised in July 2021, which included Miami-based Pareto, ClassPass CEO Fritz Lanman, FJ Labs, Looking Glass Capital, Duro Ventures, Hyphen Capital, and SuperAngel.Fund.
While the platform is currently available in the New York City and Houston metro areas, Harris and co-CEO Melissa Tran plan to use this funding to further expand the platform to new regions. The first new market, Chicago, will go live in the coming month, with more coming soon thereafter.
This funding will also enable EarlyDay to roughly double their currently 10-person, fully-distributed team. Sales and engineering talent are particularly top of mind. That will enable EarlyDay to further develop their platform from a product perspective as well.
“I’m excited to watch the team grow,” Harris said. “I love to see new hires coming in who are super passionate about our mission and growing the industry and the business together.”
Harris explained that the timing for EarlyDay’s platform is more important than ever. “I think the reality is that we are not going to see more public funding for early childhood education – especially in terms of hiring.”
“Now it’s clear that the private sector needs to step in, whether it’s a new product like EarlyDay or other new businesses that are popping up to support early childhood education,” she continued. “I think it’s incredibly important right now for the private sector to be focused on supporting that growth.”
Harris also underscored the power of the talent marketplace model. “It’s interesting to see other platforms pop up for different verticals outside of childhood education,” she said. “They’re breaking down the larger horizontal marketplaces that have existed for a long time that no longer serve the specific needs of those industries.”
Already the startup has experienced major growth, with over 7,000 early childcare educators having set up LinkedIn-style profiles on the site – a growth of 40% month-over-month. They are currently working with 150 preschool and daycare providers.
Tran and Harris are no strangers to the world of rapidly-growing startups. The duo originally met while working at fitness studio platform GuavaPass in Bangkok in 2014, which quickly scaled to 17 markets around Asia and the Middle East before being acquired by ClassPass in 2019.
READ MORE IN REFRESH MIAMI:
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- EarlyDay’s marketplace connects educators and schools, driving better outcomes for all – children included
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