Upwards Gets $21M Series B Round

Upwards Gets $21M Series B Round

On its way to growing its platform to connect parents and guardians with childcare providers, Marina del Rey-based WeeCare Inc. has closed a $21 million series B funding round. The company, which does business as Upwards, hosts a provider-listing platform on which parents and guardians can find daycare centers, babysitters and nannies in their area.

Upwards was founded in 2017 by chief executive Jessica Chang, chief technology officer Jesse Forrest and chief product officer Matt Reilly. With this new investment, Upwards has raised $43.3 million to date, including a $12 million series A round in 2022. The series B round was led Westwood-based Alpha Edison, with participation from existing investors Santa Monica-based M13 and Culver City-based Fika Ventures.

In addition to its platform on which providers can list their services – structured similarly to HomeAdvisor or Airbnb Inc. – Upwards helps parents and guardians evaluate their eligibility for government-provided financial assistance. These subsidies can cover some, or potentially all, of a parent’s childcare costs based on criteria such as income and number of children in a household. Upwards allows providers to advertise if they accept subsidies and, in some cases, will assist with paying for a portion of the childcare costs.

“While billions in public and private funds flow towards childcare annually, hundreds of millions of families still struggle to find quality, affordable care and participate in the workforce, highlighting clear gaps in the system,” Chang said in a statement. “The growing demand from employers and governments shows that Upwards’ ecosystem-based model and tailored care solutions are making a true difference.”

The company has partnerships with employers at more than 520 companies including Chobani, Panasonic Holdings Corp., Goodwill Industries International Inc., P. F. Chang’s China Bistro and Delta Faucet Co.  

Upwards said that its services help increase employee retention and reduce absenteeism and turnover.

Upwards said the new capital will go towards expanding its platform and caregiver network. As part of the new investment, Alpha Edison managing partner Nate Redmond will join Upwards’ board. The board currently includes Anna Barber, investing partner at M13. Redmond said in a statement that while almost every family needs childcare, it remains unavailable or too costly for many.

“The result is a large pool of latent demand,” Redmond said. “Upwards uses an innovative business model and product to make trusted, convenient care affordable for many more people. Jessica and the talented Upwards team are quietly building a category leader and already bringing joy to millions of families across the county.”

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