With more than 1 million Australian children (and many more around the world) in childcare and more women joining their male counterparts in the workforce, finding new ways for working parents to keep in touch with their kids is becoming increasingly important. Entrepreneur Mark Woodland, owner of Woodland Education, consisting of two large childcare centres in Melbourne city, strives to improve childcare by integrating education with progressive technology.
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Childcare App Xplor
The Xplor platform was created by Mark, who spent five years developing the ideal eco-system to assist both educators and parents. The platform has revolutionised the day to day operations of childcare centres and saves valuable time with its digital reporting and management software. Parents will benefit by being able to look at videos and photos of their children at any time of the day.
Xplor provides a platform for parents to connect with their children in real time. Each child has their own profile which is updated by staff throughout the day with photos, videos, meal times and other observations as well as sleep tracking. Milestones such as first words and steps are be recorded and added to the child’s timeline, allowing the parent to watch live and share securely with others. Parents are also able to pay childcare bills directly through the app for no extra cost and send messages to the educators instantly. Gone are the days of printed journals, clunky e-portfolios or scribbling on a whiteboard.
Childcare centres are required to compile extensive paperwork each day and report to the Department of Social Services, documenting each child in their care. Any childcare centre, regardless of size, can utilise Xplor’s CCMS software for free, and access 24/7 support. Powerful practice management software allows for a live and transparent view of what’s happening in the centre. The software is secure, ensuring all sensitive information is protected. Centres will save time by eliminating lots of paperwork, which means they’ll have the opportunity to improve their service offering or in some cases reduce costs. The app comes at no cost to the child care centre. It is paid by the parents for $2.50 per week.
“We believe that children have the power to transform the world. They create new ways of thinking and sparking ideas. I’m proud to work alongside educators and children to re-invent what it means to teach and learn,” says Mark. Xplor is one of the first apps to integrate iBeacon technology into its design. This means parents automatically sign their children in and out of the centre just by walking their smart phone past the beacons instead of fussing around with sign in and out sheets. The app also automatically updates inventory, making the purchase of nappies, toilet paper and other items seamless and automates rostering and meal plans for the centre.
Xplor creates new opportunities for childcare centres as they can save time and resources however anyone can download the app to use within the home by nannies and babysitter. It’s also ideal for any parent who wants a secure network to share their child’s photos and videos with family and friends. Launching in July 2015, Xplor has rolled out across 200 centres nationally.
While bring together this fantastic childcare app that I think is a must for any modern childcare centre, Mark also looked for international investment to make this happen. When talking to us Mark gave us 5 great tips for budding entrepreneurs who want to gain international investment for their brand.
How to Gain International Investment For Your Brand (or Childcare App):
Have a strategy to entice investors:
Xplor created investor kits that include an iPod Touch and Estimote Beacon for potential investors. These generated hype on social media, creating more opportunities for investors to discover Xplor.
The importance of networking:
The Web Summit provides an unrivalled opportunity for entrepreneurs and innovators to meet and reach out to investors. Mark has taken full advantage of the opportunity and has kept his networks updated through social media every step of the way and formed new connections with like-minded people across the globe.
Stand out from the crowd:
With over 22,000 people from over 110 countries attending the Web Summit, entrepreneurs need to be creative in how they can stand out from the rest. Xplor has used their social media presence to connect with everyone at the summit from CEOs to volunteers which has resulted in Xplor making the digital influencers list.
Give people a compelling reason to believe:
As a blogger for the Irish Tech News covering the event wrote, “those startups with a strong story to tell seemed to be finding lots of investor interest, with some (Mark Woodland) being in the fortunate position of turning many away.”
Mark describes Xplor not just in terms of its technical benefits but that it can be “magical” and highlights the emotional connections it can create.
Never give up, persevere and enlist help from mentors:
Every entrepreneur knows that the journey is never completely linear. Years of development and hard work can pay off but always push through hurdles and seek help from good mentors.
In my opinion what Mark has done with his childcare app is just one example of how technology is and will totally change every industry in the world over the next 5 years. So I look forward to bring you more of these examples and guides of the new processes people implementing to grow their businesses.