SPRINGVILLE — Parents often don't have options when it comes to child care, but with help from Utah venture capital companies, a local startup is expanding further to help in more neighborhoods and communities.
Momni, Inc., which launched its care-sharing app earlier this year, has received $1.75 million in funding to expand.
The application links moms for babysitting services, allowing them to buy and spend credits based on their own needs.
"Few things are as socially significant as what Momni is focused on," said Nate McBride, a partner at Tamarack Capital, which provided support to Momni in the latest round of funding. He said the female-led startup is "making a difference for families worldwide by harnessing technology to both improve the quality and accessibility of childcare in our communities — all while allowing moms an additional source of income to improve their own lives."
Fewer startups by women gain traction as quickly as Momni has, as female entrepreneurs got 2.2 percent of all venture capital funding last year, according to a June article in Fortune magazine. The article states that female-led startups, however, provide for larger investment returns in the long-run.
A recent article in the Deseret News also notes that women business owners, in particular, face significant prejudice, or bias, in the venture capital world.
Tamarack, however, looked past that for Momni execs, and McBride said they were "impressed with the Momni team, their product and the impressive traction they've generated so quickly."
"They are a very talented team working on a significant challenge, and we are proud to work with them in solving it for good," he said.
Karmel Larson, founder and CEO of Momni, as well as a mother to eight children, said she, too, has struggled with finding care when she needed it.
"I think there's a lot of moms who rarely, if ever, get a true break," she told the Deseret News in August.
Her idea of care-sharing extends far beyond the close-knit families and well-networked neighborhoods within Utah. Momni exists for moms in developing nations, as well. In 2017, Larson heard stories of mothers tying their children down or drugging them so that the moms could work and earn a living for the family.
The Momni app digitally connects people who either need child care or can give it, making it easy for parents to schedule things for their family. Membership requires a background check and users set their own rates.
Larson said she is grateful for all the support the company has received so far.
"I'm encouraged by the overwhelming interest we've received to help moms worldwide support one another with a cutting-edge and network-based child care platform," she said.
Other recent Momni investors include Utah venture service firm RevRoad and angel investors.