Episode 12: Chris Bennett of Wonderschool
If you have been paying close attention to the news, childcare has become a big issue. COVID-19 revealed how crucial accessible and affordable childcare is for all sectors of society and the economy. Where I work I noticed how it has impacted some of our co-workers.
Even our elected officials in Congress are tackling this issue by proposing legislation like H.R.1911, the Child Care is Infrastructure Act. This bill establishes grants for child care facilities and higher education loan repayment and scholarship programs for child care educators, among other provisions. Recently, President Biden proposed free universal preschool in his Build Back Better Bill.
Tech entrepreneurs have tried to tackle this issue, including Priya Amin, our guest in episode two of Diverse Disruptors season two. Unfortunately, her solution for on-demand childcare couldn’t get the funding she needed to scale. Our next guest, Chris Bennett has created a unique approach to the $59 billion childcare problem.
From 88Nine Radio Milwaukee, this is Diverse Disruptors, a podcast about leaders, entrepreneurs and trailblazers who found their own way to innovate and did so with inclusion and accessibility at the forefront.
In 2016, Bennett founded Wonderschool, a platform where people like educators and childcare providers, can start infant and toddler programs and preschools out of their homes. Some have called his idea the Uber or Airbnb version of childcare. In 2018, with the help of the renowned venture capital firm Andreessen Horowitz, Wonderschool raised $20 million to scale and build out its platform.
I wanted to know what inspired the Wonderschool founder, who is a child of Honduran immigrants and himself never worked in childcare, to build a business in this challenging industry. But I begin with his childhood -- in one of the most diverse zip codes in the nation.