Childcare in the UK is a big problem, especially where it concerns working parents. A poll of more than 20,000 parents, executed by parenting advocate Mumsmet a couple of years back, revealed a third of them devoted a greater share of their budget to paying childminders or nurseries than they did on rent and mortgage bills.
More flexibility in booking childcare may help. A London-based startup, Pebble, claims to be building the country's first childcare marketplace, allowing parents to find activities and care providers from across town and book at their convenience.
Pebble recently raised £5 million in what is billed as a seed extension, aimed at expansion into more UK cities. The round is led by a Canadian investor in Koru, the venture foundry of Ontario Teachers' Pension Plan Board.
Pebble's platform currently offers access to 11,000 activities and 500 nurseries, working alongside major providers such as Busy Bees, which claims to be the UK's largest nursery network.
Launched in 2021, the platform is currently used by more than 27,000 UK guardians to arrange flexible childcare, and has seen 22% month-on-month growth in terms of new users.
Lance Beare, CEO at Pebble, commented: "We are on a mission to give parents and guardians a unique experience by allowing them to easily discover, book and manage child care and activities in a single place.
"The additional funding will enable us to connect with thousands more parents, activity providers and carers seamlessly through our technology.
"Activity and childcare providers will also continue to grow their revenue streams at a time when increased revenue is crucial to riding out the recession.”