Why Childcare is the Next Frontier in Fintech

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Jonathan Kirst, Co-Founder and CTO

Originally published August 7th, 2017

In the past five years, fintech has gone from being a niche technology category to a industry-altering juggernaut. Companies in the space have connected consumers to mortgage, student, and personal loans and with more simplicity, speed, and transparency than was available ever before. These innovations have helped consumers access capital to invest in themselves and their futures.

While there have been major advances in the technology, the financial side of “fintech” has largely stood still. Fintech has simplified the process by which we access capital, and with P2P lending, even opened doors for who can provide it. But the loan products themselves are the same ones that banks have been offering for decades.

That’s why I leapt at the opportunity to join the BridgeCare Finance team as a co-founder and CTO. BridgeCare is the first company I’ve seen truly invent a new category of financial product, one that will help a generation of families access high-quality childcare and early education for their young children. When I first met CEO Jamee Herbert, and she described BridgeCare’s mission, it struck me as so obvious and unambiguously right that I knew immediately that I wanted to be a part of the solution.

I believe the change BridgeCare is bringing is essential, because as it stands today, the economics of childcare are nearly impossible for most families. In a country where 57% of families can’t afford an emergency $500 bill, monthly childcare tuition routinely exceeds $1,000, and is even higher in urban areas. Jamee has an excellent article about how these costs force families, and usually women, to make difficult decisions that can affect their earnings for a lifetime. The reality in the U.S. is that leaving the workforce can be brutally punishing to the long-term earning potential of female professionals, but many don't feel they have a choice. With BridgeCare, they will.

BridgeCare offers a simple loan product that brings a family’s monthly childcare cost down to an affordable level by giving them the opportunity to pay over a longer period of time. BridgeCare’s goal is to give parents the choice to remain in the workforce, while having access to higher quality childcare and educational options then they could otherwise reasonably afford. And as a family grows and their financial needs change, BridgeCare will grow and adapt with them.

I’m excited to have the opportunity to build a new category of financial product, and the potential positive impact of BridgeCare for children, parents, and providers is far more than I can cover in one article. But we're only just getting started.

As of this month, I'm thrilled to say that we’re already lending to qualified families in the state of Washington, with more states opening soon. If you or someone you know wants to make their childcare more affordable, visit https://www.bridgecarefinance.com/ to learn more and apply!

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