Meet Rachel Carrell, Founder and CEO of Koru Kids

April 30, 2023

Rachel Carrell is the founder and CEO of Koru Kids, a childcare marketplace that connects parents with vetted childcare professionals, like part-time nannies and childminders. Launched in 2016 in response to the substandard childcare solutions for families in the UK, Koru has delivered over 2 million hours of childcare since its inception. 

In 2022, Koru closed a £3.5M round from Nesta Impact Investments, to continue their mission to build the world's best childcare service. 

Why did you and the team build Koru Kids? 

It was only when I had my first child that I realised how difficult the childcare system in the UK is. Good childcare is hard to arrange and incredibly expensive, with no one leading 'brand' out there simplifying it for parents .In fact, we have one of the most expensive childcare systems in Europe and it is an utter shambles. It’s bad for our children, bad for women (who are more likely to be the primary caregiver) and bad for society overall. When women are forced to choose between childcare and their careers, we have a situation where fewer women are in senior roles in the judicial system, government, and in business. This leads to more unbalanced decisions, alienating 50% of the population and enforcing gender stereotypes. So what we are doing is incredibly important for multiple reasons.

I was so frustrated by this, that I quit my job as the CEO of a healthcare company to build the kind of childcare I wished existed for my kids. Together with my team, we’ve dedicated ourselves to solving this massive problem that will impact 80% of all adults in the UK - parents.

How is Koru Kids different?

The economics of childcare simply don’t work. Parents spend over half their salaries on nurseries, yet childcare workers visit food banks, and nurseries are closing in record numbers across the country. Against this dismal backdrop, Koru has built a system which actually works for families, childcarers, and kids. 

Through the Koru Kids platform, parents pay less for our childminders than they would a nursery. Our childminders get paid significantly more than nursery workers (some earn over £50,000 a year - which in some cases is twice as much as the Deputy Manager of a nursery). 

But the best thing about our approach is that childminder settings have been proven to be better for kids, as they benefit from strong attachment with a single caregiver in a home setting which supports their emotional development and school readiness. 

The Koru Kids team and technology facilitate this and we charge a healthy commission, so everybody wins, which is unheard of in the childcare sector. 

How does the Koru Kids platform work?

Koru Kids recruits, vets and trains nannies and childminders. We create profiles for each childcare worker, which can then be filtered through by parents looking for childcare.  

Parents fill in their preferences, then search on our platform to find the best childcare for them. We offer hands-on support to help them hire the best childminder for their needs and we organise the payments, tax and insurance between the two parties. 

What’s next for Koru Kids?

The word ‘Koru’ means ‘loop’ in Māori. We want our offering to be a loop of care around our families and childcarers. It’s always been the vision from day one.  

We’re building a childcare ecosystem that works for both families and childcarers. An ecosystem that also focuses on the development of the childminders. A babysitter could start by earning some extra pocket money via Koru, they then might develop into a part-time nanny picking kids up from school, before training as a childminding assistant specialising in early years care, and then qualifying to open their own setting, earning up to £70k a year.

So, plenty to do in 2023 then!

Forward has been fantastic. Right from our first day with them, they have given us practical and emotional support and community. We’ve drawn on their experience on everything from strategy to product to talent to growth and marketing. It’s a partnership we really value.

To connect with Koru Kids, head to their website here or connect with them on their social media here.

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April 30, 2023