The mobile phone revolution already enables smartphone users to rent cars, book airplane seats, or lease apartments with the stroke of a finger. Now, thanks to a Long Beach company, they can stay in touch with their children the same way.
Kangarootime is streamlining child care services for parents and early education providers by automating checking in and out at day care centers, sending photos from classrooms, and digitizing paperwork with its cloud-based app.
The startup has signed up nearly 500 child care centers nationwide – 30 of them in Los Angeles County – since launching in January 2015, and founder Scott Wayman intends to double that number by the end of this year. The company also plans to nearly triple its employee count to 30 from the current 11 by 2017.
Kangarootime received $500,000 in seed funding from Boston investment firm Micro Capital last year and is on the lookout for new investors.
“We Uberized the classroom and automated this business,” said Wayman. “Our platform alleviates so much work and that means teachers can dedicate more time to a curriculum.”
Through the online app, teachers can track attendance, share notes, and send photos, while school administrators can manage classrooms and bill parents for tuition.
Wayman declined to disclose the company’s finances but said the app generates revenue by charging a 3 percent fee from all transactions using the software.
Personal tragedy prompted Wayman, 41, to come up with the idea to build the child care app.
He was 33 years old when both of his parents died in the same year, leaving him as the legal guardian of his 10-year-old brother.
While dealing with outdated enrollment systems at traditional child care centers, he came up with an idea to create software that would digitize the enrollment process and help parents monitor classrooms.
Parents can connect in real time with a teacher, scroll through a photo gallery, or check a lunch menu. The app also sends parents real-time updates and photos from the classroom. Instead of signing lots of papers as in the old days, parents can open the app and say “yes” to an online authorization form. A teacher sees a child’s face on their smartphone and approves the request. Wayman said the app helps teachers and school administrators save up to 40 hours a week.
The app offers an option for other family members to pick up a child from school without signing an authorization form. A friend can take a selfie and upload it to the app, while a parent can share a photo of that person and submit it to a center’s page, signing an online form.
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