Provide is a software-based back office that automates child care providers’ compliance. Our service increases providers’ incomes, reduces the time they spend on administration, and makes it easier for them to accept government subsidies.
Provide’s mission is to help entrepreneurs build stronger child care businesses. Child care providers offer a service that benefits their entire community, yet their work is systematically undervalued. Providers face complex regulatory burdens on top of long hours and low pay. These problems are more severe when providers choose to serve low-income families who pay with government subsidies. Preventable administrative errors cause providers to lose thousands of dollars per year, discouraging them from serving the families who need them most.
The Provide Solution
Our software includes three verticals: public funding, licensing & credentials, and expense tracking (to maximize tax deductions). Key functionality includes:
-Subsidy Processing. Providers use an online dashboard to quickly see the status of and update their families on the subsidy. Text message reminders ensure providers never miss an application deadline. Pre-filled forms ensure applications are complete and accurate. Our application wizard simplifies the process for new families applying for the child care subsidy.
-Licensing & Credentials. Checklists reconcile and prioritize the overlapping requirements of multiple agencies. Policy updates make it easier to track changes in rules. Pre-filled forms save providers time and ensure accuracy. Text message reminders ensure that providers monitor their compliance consistently and efficiently.
-Expense Tracking. Providers send images of their receipts via text message, which Provide then tracks and categorizes. This simplified process ensures providers track expenses regularly and completely, so that they can easily claim all the tax deductions for which they qualify.
Provide is unique among daycare software. No existing solutions comprehensively address providers’ compliance challenges, despite heavy industry regulations. Moreover, unlike more complex enterprise software, Provide is designed to integrate seamlessly into the daily lives of small business owners. This includes being mobile first and relying on text messaging.
We launched our prototype in Illinois in May 2017. To date we have over 40 home-based child care businesses enrolled in our service. We will begin charging for our service in 2018 when our Minimum Viable Product is completed. Providers will pay a monthly subscription fee, tiered based on the size of the business.
Provide has obtained $96,000 in funding from the University of Chicago, including a $66,000 first place prize from the Social New Venture Challenge; $20,000 from the Tarrson Fellowship; and $10,000 from the Polsky Summer Accelerator.
Market and Growth
Provide is a profitable, scalable investment opportunity in early childhood education, female entrepreneurship, and economic development. Nationwide, there are 1.1 million child care businesses serving 10 million children for a total market size of $460 million. Our initial target market is family child care providers, who operate a total of one million daycare businesses from their homes. We will then expand to daycare centers, a market consisting of 129,000 businesses. After validating the business model in Illinois, we will begin our national expansion by launching in five additional states by 2021.