When Jessica Eggert moved to Seattle from Florida, the cost of her son’s day care jumped from $800 to $3,000. And she was one of the lucky ones who actually got a spot.
Once her son started school, nailing down child care got even harder. Oliver is on a two-year wait list for after-school care at his school. Don’t even get Eggert started on the summer-camp scheduling nightmare: Last summer, she found numerous fantastic camps, but they all ended at 3 p.m.: Not happening for this working mom.
Sound familiar? For busy parents, finding child care that fits your hours and location can be frustrating and time-consuming. You’re going down a rabbit hole of Google searches, recommendations from friends, clunky websites and the purgatory of being on hold with the community center.
Imagine if there was an Expedia for childcare, where all the day cares, extracurricular activities and school-break camps are consolidated in a single, easy-to-search database. LegUp aims to be that resource helping parents find child care faster.
It’s launching this month, with more than 3,200 providers to beta wait-list members. LegUp is free to sign up and search — all you need is your email address (and a transaction fee, to be determined.) Geographically, the service covers the Seattle regional area, from Everett to Kent and Bainbridge Island to Issaquah. The providers are vetted by LegUp, and parents can search by availability and reviews.
“Leg Up is all about convenience,” says Eggert, the startup’s CEO and co-founder. “Instead of having to go to five different sites, you’re doing everything in one place. We are that one-stop shop.”
Eggert and her LegUp co-founder Jonna Bell researched labor statistics and surveyed more than 375 parents. They figured out that parents spend 50 hours a year finding child care. And both agree: It’s a burden that falls disproportionately to women.
“It’s time for technology to solve this,” Bell says. “We have so many startups solving issues that men face every day, because men have the VC money. It’s time the technology steps up and deals with the issues mothers face.
“It’s a much bigger mission that we have around starting LegUp. We’re passionate about opening doors and breaking down barriers for women to pursue their greatest potential in what they want to do.”
Six-year-old Oliver is already doing baseball, soccer, theater and piano; that juggling act is about to get even trickier, with a new baby sister due in August.
“We started LegUp because having one is incredibly hard,” Eggert says. “Having two, and managing everything? I can’t imagine what parents are going through. I guess I will find out very soon.”
Diversity and inclusion are at the core of LegUp, both in the workplace and in their product, says Eggert. For example, parents will be able to search for childcare with tuition assistance, or a place that supports kids with disabilities.
“A lot of our career has been focused on helping women or underserved populations. We’re building our company to focus on inclusion and equity,” Eggert says. “We’re really diverse founders: two women. The CEO is a black and Hispanic pregnant woman!”