Connect Childcare unveils software growth plans and new chairman following £4m investment
Connect Childcare has secured a £4 million investment from Mobeus Equity Partners to roll out a Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) solution, launch a new streamlined payment offering, accelerate functionality for existing users, and strengthen its sales, marketing and customer success teams.
The funding assistance also sees the childcare management software specialist – which supports 14 of the top 25 UK nursery chains, nurseries and pre-schools – welcome experienced leader Bill McCall as its new chairman, with Ashvin Pathak stepping down after nine years in the post.
Directing more than 60 companies throughout his investment banker career, Bill has chaired three successive childcare groups – Careshare, Asquith Nurseries and Giraffe – and is principal of strategic corporate finance advisory business McCall and Partners.
He will play a pivotal role alongside the 56-strong team at Connect Childcare to streamline complex and time-consuming admin processes for its 3,000-plus nursery and childminder settings, enabling practitioners to focus more on child development.
A key driver of achieving this goal will be the launch of a new SaaS platform called ‘foundations’ in the first quarter of 2021. The planned launch will target smaller childcare providers initially, as the business continues to accelerate the development of enterprise-level functionality over the course of 2021. The solution has been developed from the ground up to help Early Years (EY) employees decrease their paperwork and log child events – such as meals and sleep – more easily.
Despite a challenging 2020 for the EY sector as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic, Connect Childcare has continued to provide ongoing support to its customers – including financial assistance, the streamlining of parent processes, and launching both home-schooling app ParentHub and nursery-focused admin platform, StaffPlan.
Commenting on the turbulence experienced throughout the industry, Chris Reid CEO of Connect Childcare, said: “It was a tough year for everyone as we all faced so much uncertainty. We too were forced to make difficult decisions, with limited information, and we had to be resilient.
“Some of our innovations in 2020 have proved to be vital in how customers have been able to tackle further unpredictability this year. By focusing on the areas that would deliver to customer needs in real-time – and adding value to our existing platforms – we’re on the front foot for 2021.”
Having already hired a manager to lead its growing customer success team – and with plans to increase the Connect workforce to around 70 employees by the end of the financial year – Chris believes the investment has come at the perfect time.
“This funding gives us both security for our customers – because it shows we’re here for them and will be continuing to innovate and enhance their platforms – and also for our staff. We know we can deliver our plans,” he said.
On the upcoming launch of foundations, Chris added: “Helping our existing customers and showing our commitment to them is of paramount importance. We must continue to understand their pain-points and challenges, and accelerate the next generation of products to provide a ‘platform of the future’ – foundations is exactly that.”
Rowan Grobler, investment manager for Mobeus and who will be joining Connect Childcare’s board, said: “I’m excited to be backing such a high-quality team that has demonstrated both a long-term, customer-focused strategy as well as agility and focus during the pandemic.
“This is a fantastic time to be investing in Connect. The business has a well-established, market-leading position and is now seeking to capitalise on that by commercialising and rolling out new generation solutions to its committed client base and beyond.”
The investment follows further good news for Connect, having recently renewed its contract with the Busy Bees nursery group for another three years. Connect successfully deployed its software across an additional 180 of the UK’s leading childcare provider’s sites – in under eight weeks – at the end of 2020.
Simon Irons, Global CEO for Busy Bees, concluded:
“Our partnership with Connect is a vital part of how we continue to help our settings to operate more efficiently and facilitate better engagement with our parents. The team is always on hand to help with any queries and goes above and beyond to ensure our customers are equipped with high-quality solutions.”
Notes to editors
Speaking about his chairman role at Connect Childcare, Bill McCall said:
“The childcare space is set to become even more important in the years ahead. So, assisting to define the key data and processes – with their client providers – is an obvious slot for an exemplary support services company like Connect. My goal is to coach and encourage the team to do things they haven’t thought of yet.”
Commenting on new chairman, Chris Reid, CEO of Connect Childcare said:
“Bill is a heavyweight in the industry, his knowledge of the childcare technology sector will prove to be instrumental in how we serve our customers, innovate our products and continue to build our UK presence.
“Ashvin Pathak did an amazing job helping us to grow the business while he was chairman. His governance and leadership were imperative when it came to our next step plans, so we are thankful for his service.”
About Connect Childcare
Connect Childcare is a leading nursery management software firm with over 15 years’ experience within the early years education industry.
The company’s software products are designed to make nursery and childminder settings – including their administrative processes – more efficient, so that staff can spend more time developing children and provide the highest quality childcare.
For more information about the content in this press release, please email: [email protected] or call: 07808 217238.
We are a team of investors with a 20-year track record, providing £2 million-£15 million to UK SMEs across all sectors. We partner with talented and determined management teams of companies with strong growth potential. www.mobeus.co.uk
Investor Press Release
London, 14 January 2021
Mobeus has invested £4m into Connect Childcare, the UK’s leading Nursery Management software. Its market-leading technology solutions provide a single, comprehensive, end-to-end system for nursery administration.
14 of the top 25 UK nursery chains, nurseries and pre-schools use Connect Childcare to manage nursery activities, including logging observations of children (meals and naps), invoice and payment management, and parent communication. This allows nursery staff to focus on providing the highest-quality childcare and to spend more time developing the children in their care.
The new investment will be used to support the launch of a new payment offering and a Software as a Service solution. The SaaS product can be installed remotely and integrates easily with third party applications, making it more flexible and scalable. As part of the investment, the business will strengthen its Sales and Marketing team, develop product marketing and drive further growth from its market-leading position.
To support the high quality management team, Mobeus has introduced Bill McCall as Chairman. McCall was the Chairman at ASL, the independent managed office services supplier that Mobeus exited successfully in 2019. Bill previously chaired a number of large nursery groups within the UK.
The Mobeus deal team comprised Jane Reoch and Rowan Grobler, who originated the transaction. Rowan Grobler, Mobeus Investment Manager who will be joining the Board comments:
“This is a fantastic time to be investing in Connect. The business has a well-established, market leading position and is now seeking to capitalise on that by commercialising and rolling out new generation solutions to its committed client base and beyond.”
Founder and CEO, Chris Reid commented on the deal
“We’re thrilled to welcome Mobeus to the team and feel that the transaction and reinvigorated board represent a very exciting new chapter for the business. The company vision is to develop technology solutions that improve outcomes for children and the investment will enable us to cement our position as the UK’s market leader, build out an already strong team and deliver our ambitious growth plans.”
Mobeus was advised by Cripps Pemberton Greenish (legal), Consilium Chartered Accountants (Financial), Intechnica (IT) and Billy Hodgins (CDD). Connect Childcare, a Deepbridge Capital investee company, was advised by Bermans (Legal).
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Editors Notes: About Mobeus
We are a team of investors with a 20 year track record, providing £2 million – £15 million to UK SMEs across all sectors. We partner with talented and determined management teams of companies with strong growth potential www.mobeus.co.uk
In 2020 our growth team made two new and four follow-on investments, totalling more than £20m to drive growth at UK SMEs, and exited six businesses, generating over £70m of cash profits for the Mobeus VCTs.