How Childcare Startup WeeCare Weathered the Pandemic and Came Out Stronger

Keerthi Vedantam

Keerthi Vedantam is a bioscience reporter at dot.LA. She cut her teeth covering everything from cloud computing to 5G in San Francisco and Seattle. Before she covered tech, Keerthi reported on tribal lands and congressional policy in Washington, D.C. Connect with her on Twitter, Clubhouse (@keerthivedantam) or Signal at 408-470-0776.

How Childcare Startup WeeCare Weathered the Pandemic and Came Out Stronger
Photo courtesy of WeeCare

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In 2020, as the pandemic shuttered daycare centers and social distancing requirements made it near-impossible for babysitters to work, Marina del Rey-based startup WeeCare partnered with the city of Los Angeles to provide childcare for essential workers.

Now, the five-year-old company has looked to build on that work by raising $17 million in new funding, according to an SEC filing on Friday. WeeCare landed the money from a total of 14 unidentified investors, per the filing. The new funding follows WeeCare’s $4 million seed round in 2018—which was led by Silicon Valley investor Chamath Palihapitiya’s Social Capital venture firm—and takes the startup’s total amount raised to more than $21 million, according to PitchBook data.

Representatives for WeeCare did not respond to requests for comment.

Co-founded in 2017 by CEO Jessica Chang, CTO Jesse Forrest and CMO Matt Reilly, WeeCare operates akin to an Airbnb for childcare. The company’s platform connects parents and caregivers to thousands of childcare providers in more than 30 states across the country, and helps them find daycare and babysitting options based on criteria such as their schedule, finances, their child’s age and any special needs or language requirements.

WeeCare CEO Jessica ChangWeeCare CEO Jessica Chang

WeeCare advertises its partner daycares as having smaller student-to-teacher ratios, while parents can receive photo and video updates on their children via WeeCare’s app. The startup’s technology is part of the reason it was able to weather the pandemic and keep 97% of its daycares open in 2020, it says: Fever Free, its in-house, AI-based app, allowed workers, parents and their children to submit daily virtual temperature and COVID-19 symptom checks

WeeCare also helps people start daycares by guiding them through the process of getting their homes licensed for daycare services, managing billing on their behalf, helping them create a curriculum and allowing communication to parents through its app.

The coronavirus pandemic was initially a curse for childcare startups, which had to deal with the disruption of social distancing regulations. But the hybrid work model that has emerged post-pandemic has opened a need for flexible and accessible childcare solutions; funding for childcare and pediatrics startups spiked threefold, from $394 million to $1.2 billion, between 2020 and 2021, according to PitchBook data.

Playa Vista-based Brella is another locally-based childcare startup that has benefitted—raising $5 million in January to provide flexible options for parents juggling unpredictable work schedules.

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Energy Shares Gears Up To Bring Equity Crowdfunding to Retail Investors

David Shultz

David Shultz reports on clean technology and electric vehicles, among other industries, for dot.LA. His writing has appeared in The Atlantic, Outside, Nautilus and many other publications.

Energy Shares Gears Up To Bring Equity Crowdfunding to Retail Investors
Photo by Red Zeppelin on Unsplash

The Inflation Reduction Act contains almost $400 billion in funding for clean energy initiatives. There’s $250 billion for energy projects. $23 billion for transportation and EVs. $46 billion for environment. $21 billion for agriculture, and so on. With so much cash flowing into the sector, the possibilities for investment and growth are gigantic.

These investment opportunities, however, have typically been inaccessible for everyday retail investors until much later in a company’s development–after an IPO, usually. Meaning that the best returns are likely to be captured by banks and other institutions who have the capital and financing to invest large sums of money earlier in the process.

That’s where Pasadena-based Energy Shares comes in. The company wants to help democratize access to these investment opportunities and simultaneously give early-stage utility-scale energy projects another revenue stream.

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Why These Ukrainian Entrepreneurs Are Making LA Their Home

Aisha Counts
Aisha Counts is a business reporter covering the technology industry. She has written extensively about tech giants, emerging technologies, startups and venture capital. Before becoming a journalist she spent several years as a management consultant at Ernst & Young.
Why These Ukrainian Entrepreneurs Are Making LA Their Home
Joey Mota

Fleeing war and chasing new opportunities, more than a dozen Ukrainian entrepreneurs have landed in Los Angeles, finding an unexpected community in the city of dreams. These entrepreneurs have started companies that are collectively worth more than $300 million, in industries ranging from electric vehicle charging stations to audience monetization platforms to social networks.

Dot.LA spent an evening with this group of Ukrainian citizens, learning what it was like to build startups in Ukraine, to cope with the unimaginable fear of fleeing war, and to garner the resilience to rebuild.

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