Brightwheel from Shark Tank

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A daycare management initiative, Brightwheel is designed for parents and professional childcare providers. The program regularly updates the parents about their children, thereby helping childcare providers better manage their operations.

 

Since its inception, Brightwheel has been utilized in schools, daycares, nursery schools, preschools, and even summer camps.

 

Through the daycare management program, users can track room and attendance ratios, share videos and images, track and monitor learning milestones, reach out and respond to parents, send paperless payment receipts and bills, and even manage personnel.

 

The company also offers a Brightwheel Premium option, available at an additional monthly charge. Alongside all the features available in Brightwheel Basic, the premium option also includes check-ins for staff and students, messaging, videos, room ratios, adding an unlimited number of students and staff, and access to phone, email, and chat support.

 

Brightwheel was founded by Dave Vasen; he used to work as a supplier of preschool administration software programs, and in 2014, launched KidCasa.

 

Once Dave’s daughter started daycare, he realized the need for an interactive, high-quality management tool which would allow daycare facilities to streamline administration which, in turn, will help them focus more on developing strong and healthy relationships with parents and students.

 

Dave then launched a beta version of his software, and started a pilot program involving various nursery schools and daycare centers. He has attracted funding from Sherpa Ventures, RRE Ventures, Red Swan Ventures, Golden Venture Partners, Eniac Ventures, CrossLink Capital. In addition, he also has a number of ‘notable angel’ investors.

 

Dave wants to keep the software’s basic version free-to-use, and generate revenue by offering premium features to daycares and schools. Subscribers will be allowed to opt out of these features any time they want.

 

The objective is to create a platform that is speedy, dependable, and intuitive. Brightwheel’s team consists of veterans from the software and education industries, with proven track records in their respective fields.

 

Brightwheel obtained over $2 million dollars from its investors, and spent more than a year developing and promoting the program.

 

Is Brightwheel Still an Active Business?

Yes, Brightwheel is still an active business.

 

How Did the Shark Tank Pitch Go?

Dave Vasen appeared on episode 724 of Shark Tank, confident that the Sharks would share his bright vision for Brightwheel.

 

He was looking for a Shark who could help him expand his business and make the Brightwheel brand more prominent. His investment ask was $400,000, against which he was prepared to give up 4% equity in the business – a valuation of $4 million. The valuation does attract a few sighs from the Shark panel, and Daymond, in particular.

 

Dave begins his presentation, telling about the trial program for Brightwheel that he ran in 2014. The program involved 10 schools, and allowed Dave to identify any flaws in the app and address them, before making Brightwheel available for the public. Currently, Brightwheel is used in close to 3,000 schools throughout the USA.

 

Dave claimed that he was revolutionizing childhood education. He asked the Sharks if their young kids often struggled to explain the tasks that they did at school or how they spent their day. He said that this is a problem with all young parents – a problem that Brightwheel wanted to eliminate.

 

He wrapped his presentation up by saying that Brightwheel had the potential to grow very large, and simultaneously create a positive impact in the lives of children, parents, teachers, and daycare businesses.

 

Kevin O’ Leary is the first to make an offer: $400,000 against a 10% stake in the firm. Dave is grateful, but said that the equity percentage would significantly bring down the valuation of the company.

 

Daymond said that, since he does not have a strong presence in the space that Brightwheel was operating in, he would not be able to contribute much. He went out.

 

Chris had a considerably better offer for Dave: $400,000, in exchange for 4.85% equity in the firm – a valuation of $8.2 million.

 

Dave asked if Chris would be willing to join hands with another Shark so as to increase the investment value. Chris responded that he did not feel that any of the other Sharks would make any significant contributions, to which Mark blurted out to his fellow Shark if he was ‘truly that naïve’.

 

This altercation had allowed Kevin to reconsider, and he was now prepared to match the $400,000 for 4.85% offer made by Chris.

 

Dave is reluctant, and still wants to negotiate a two-Shark deal.

 

Mark Cuban is eager to be a part of Brightwheel and therefore told Dave that he was ready to match Chris’ offer.

 

Dave asked if Mark and Chris would like to join hands in exchange for a bigger investment and equity stake.

 

Chris relented, saying that, assuming that Mark was fine with it, he would like to team up and offer a combined amount of $600,000, in exchange for a 6.67% stake which would be split between the two Sharks. Mark and Dave both agreed to this, and a deal was struck.

 

Our Review of Brightwheel

Brightwheel is one of the most promising childcare management platforms, especially from the user’s perspective. Alongside being visually-friendly, it is easy-to-operate and contains all the features that a parent or teacher might want.

 

Particularly appreciable is the fact that the app allows users to share videos, pictures, and other information with each other. You can also text the school staff at any time during the schooling hours, and check in on your child.

 

Pros of Brightwheel

  • Wide range of relevant features
  • Easy  to use
  • Allows you to share videos, pictures, and other information

 

Cons of Brightwheel

  • The payments section, particularly the ‘Print Invoice’ feature, does not work smoothly for a few users.

 

Are There Any Alternatives?

Yes, Brightwheel has several alternatives, including:

  • Schoology
  • SchoolStatus
  • HiMama
  • Procare
  • EZCare
  • ClassDojo

 

Our Final Thoughts

To sum up, Brightwheel is a child management software program that has the potential to change the face of childhood schooling and education. Unsurprisingly, the company is still going strong, boasting a valuation of more than $600 million.