Upkid, the on-demand marketplace for childcare centers and teachers, announced a $1.7 million pre-seed investment from various venture capital partners.

Upkid raises $1.7 million pre-seed round to attack the labor shortage

Lehi — Upkid, the on-demand marketplace for childcare centers and teachers, announced a $1.7 million pre-seed investment from Newfund Capital, Corazon Capital, and Beehive Venture Partners. Upkid will use the capital infusion to hire key staff and expand into new markets. 

“We are thrilled to partner with passionate investors to expand on Upkid’s early traction and make real inroads in a market that impacts so many people so profoundly in America,” says Upkid Co-founder and CEO Tyler Morgan. “The nation’s childcare crisis can’t wait. We need decisive action now, and we’re committed to using all our resources to be part of the solution.”

Upkid is a two-sided online marketplace that matches qualified child care workers with licensed facilities and preschools. The company was founded by Morgan and Drew Allison, who joined Utah-based Owlet during its earliest days and helped the startup grow into a publicly-traded company. Morgan and Allison formed Upkid in response to the Covid-19 pandemic’s exacerbation of an already challenging child care problem for American families:

  • Four children need child care services for every one spot available (Center for American Progress)
  • The number of women in the US workforce dropped by 1.8 million amid the pandemic, the lowest number since 1988 (US Bureau of Labor Statistics)
  • 62 percent of parents say they struggle to find affordable child care (Pew Research)
  • Daycares have room for more children but operate at half capacity due to staffing shortages (National Association for the Education of Young Children)

“This problem hits close to home because I was raised by a single mother during my formative years and spent 10 years in daycare,” Morgan says. “My mother gave so much of herself to ensure I was taken care of in less-than-ideal circumstances. Millions of families today face the same challenge, with fewer child care options available.”

Child care facilities are state-regulated and must maintain certain teacher-student ratios. Worker shortages have put pressure on the nation’s 850,000 child care facilities, forcing them to operate well under capacity and denying these crucial services to millions of American families. 

Upkid allows child care providers to operate more efficiently and flexibly by hiring from a network of state-certified teachers on-demand. At the click of a button, child care providers can schedule last-minute or long-term temporary teachers based on their changing needs. 

Formed in 2021, Upkid was part of the Techstars Atlanta Accelerator 2021 class. Upkid launched in Salt Lake City and plans to expand to multiple states following its pre-seed funding round. 

“The childcare sector is already a massive $136 billion industry and projected to expand to $167.8 billion from government-side growth,” Morgan says. “The industry is constrained by the supply of qualified, credentialed teachers. We’re unlocking the latent value of the industry for child care centers, teachers, and families who desperately need these services right now.”

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