On a mission to create a connected community of quality childcare that supports parents around the world, Warsaw-based The Village has secured €3.4 million in Seed funding. The startup is using tech to create an all-in-one marketplace that supports parents and encourages crucial child development
Research has proven that access to early-stage education is pivotal for a child’s development. From the third trimester of pregnancy to around the age of 5 is when about 95% of the brain is formed, making it a crucial moment of development and learning. However, on a global level, many children are missing out on pre-primary education. Missing this crucial moment of brain development can impact the rest of their lives.
Based in Warsaw, The Village was founded to address this, providing a tech-led platform that empowers the creation of parent-led micro-schools. The startup just raised €3.4 million in seed funding which saw participation from Movens Capital, 500 Startups, Tilia Impact Ventures and Credo Ventures. The female-founded team are revolutionising approaches to early education with its marketplace which offers a SaaS platform, edtech products, an application for running nurseries, preschools and schools, and The Village marketplace.
“All these tools will better support parents to have the access to high-quality education in their neighbourhoods.”
Childhood experiences are vital to brain development, and children need to be encouraged to explore, form relationships and be given time to form curiosity about the world around them. Pre-primary education can help encourage this, however, currently, it’s reported that 78% of children globally are missing out. It’s a phenomenon that deepens systemic inequalities and also is an inherently gendered issue – childcare tends to fall on the shoulders of women. With a notable shortage of affordable childcare options, women are disproportionately impacted and often left with the impossible task of deciding between prioritising their career or childcare.
This is why The Village has been launched with the mission to tackle this – aiming to improve childhood experiences for enhanced development, to support parents, and, support early educators. Founder Aleksandra Kozera has a background in education, having studied at Harvard, and is a parent herself.
“From the beginning, the vision and goal has been to create a village all over the world with committed moms, parents, nannies and teachers – enabling children to have an equal start. And education in so-called “villages” makes it possible. We are already achieving the snowflake effect, when some parents learn about the villages from others, enrol their children in them and open their places. We want to enable multi-dimensional support to open and run villages. That is why we build edtech products and create a marketplace.”
The Village creates quality centres for childcare that are empathy and creativity-centric. The nanny-shares, micro-nurseries and preschools are parent-led in so-called ‘villages’ – based in community hubs. Parents and teachers working in the villages participate in the original The Village Way courses and regularly improve their qualifications according to the philosophy of nonviolent communication and Reggio Emilia pedagogy.
Aside from forming quality childcare and education, the startup is focused on supporting women’s professional development and fostering gender equity in parenthood and entrepreneurship. The development path for Village owners is structured and holistic so that entrepreneurial mothers gain knowledge and tools in all areas needed to run a business.
Essentially, the startup has developed a marketplace for parents where they can find proper childcare in their neighbourhood, and at the same time be supported in their own professional development, as well as providing childcare job opportunities. It’s an end-to-end solution supporting parents in solving the difficulty of finding high-quality child care through technology, content and community.
Speaking about the importance of the project, the team commented:
“Childcare means more jobs and more women working. Rich experiences in early education are the foundation of democracy and equal opportunities in society. The private sector sees the problem and wants to solve it. If parents want to go to work and have no one to leave their children with, this is an area that needs to be addressed.”
Edtech is a growing sector at the moment, but what The Village is setting out to achieve is certainly unique. It is driving impact in three key areas – childcare, gender equity, and job creation – and we are excited to see what’s to come.