The nation’s Child Care sector is on the brink of collapse. Since 2018, the economic impact of the child care crisis has more than doubled, severely impacting parents, employers, and taxpayers. With a majority of U.S. families not having access to quality, affordable child care, 85% of parents say that it is impacting their ability to work, reducing business productivity. Meanwhile, child care providers are struggling to make a living wage with few resources to help keep their programs open. Child care is no longer just a family issue, it’s a business issue!
To solve the challenge, one company is revolutionizing the child care industry to make it accessible, affordable, and on-demand. TOOTRiS helps companies provide turn-key child care benefits through its unique technology platform, allowing parents and providers to connect and transact in real-time, while employers benefit from increased productivity, retention, and recruiting. Alessandra Lezama, CEO of TOOTRiS was with the CEO Views team to share details about the company.
Tale of Inception
As a veteran technology executive, Alessandra Lezama’s hands-on leadership across industries has earned her a reputation as a rainmaker, disruptor, and a true game changer. She has re-engineered the business model at every company she has led and has driven exponential growth by transforming regional entities into technology powerhouses.
As a single mom and immigrant to the U.S., quality and adequate child care were a constant struggle for her, often causing her to be passed up for big promotions.
Quality child care isn’t just about rebuilding our economy – it’s about creating a better future.
When Alessandra founded TOOTRiS, she set out to reinvent child care so that every working parent – especially women has an equitable opportunity to thrive in the workforce by having access to affordable, high-quality child care.
“As every economic sector has established technology to meet the digital demands of today, the child care industry had been the exception,” Alessandra said. “I recognized that in order for the industry to advance to the next level, it needed to be rebuilt from the ground up using technology.”
Much like how AirBnB revolutionize the hotel industry, TOOTRiS uses their real-time technology to connect all the key stakeholders parents, childcare providers, employers, and even subsidy programs on a unified digital platform exchange.
Challenges and Milestones Along the Journey
There is no evolution without disruption, and there is no disruption without overcoming challenges. The devastation and uncertainty of the pandemic was a key challenge for TOOTRiS. As an early-stage tech company just about to lift off, the company had planned to do an aggressive marketing launch but quickly had to pivot because of COVID-19. Alessandra redirected the marketing dollars and created the TOOTRiS Emergency Grant Fund Initiative to first, and most importantly, help Family Child Care providers stay open as their enrollments dramatically dropped and their operational costs increased due to new CDC safety guidelines. Secondly, the fund helped essential workers pay for child care so they could continue to support our communities around the clock and to purchase and distribute FREE PPE kits that, to this day, help keep tens of thousands of families safe.
When the company first launched the above initiatives in 2020, TOOTRiS supported less than 100 childcare providers. Today, it has become the nation’s largest childcare platform achieving several key milestones:
- Growing to nearly 200,000 licensed Child Care providers – the largest network in the country
- Supporting 38 million parents searching for Child Care options
- Expanding the network into all 50 states
- Providing the first and only turn-key Child Care Benefits solution to SMBs and Fortune 500 companies
FIRST and ONLY Tech Solution that Unites Key Child Care Stakeholders
What TOOTRiS has done to revolutionize every aspect of the child care system is truly extraordinary. It offers the ONLY technology solution that unites all the key child care stakeholders – parents, providers, employers, and agencies – in one single platform.
- For Employers: TOOTRiS provides a turn-key solution to seamlessly incorporate child care as a benefit to help attract and retain top talent especially women while increasing productivity and transforming company cultures to be more family
- For Parents: TOOTRiS gives them access to search, vet, and enroll in the most choices of child care providers to fit their specific needs, schedules, and It’s also the only system that tracks, publishes, and forecasts child care availability in real-time.
- For Providers: TOOTRiS provides free access to a complete technology portal and mobile app, enabling them to manage enrollments, cash flow, and run their small business 100% digitally – reducing their operating costs and increasing.
- For Public Agencies: TOOTRiS helps maximize funding by giving access to previously unavailable technology that provides real-time, historic and predictive, visibility, analysis, and reporting of instrumental key data intelligence to determine
The impact TOOTRiS technology makes for each segment on its own is significant, but what it does as a unified platform that allows all stakeholders to connect and transact on a real-time exchange is revolutionary.
Approach Towards Breaking Industry Trends
Solving the child care crisis needs more than simply relying on federal, state and local resources and funding. Alessandra said, “My goal through TOOTRiS was to transform the antiquated child care industry with modern technology. To achieve this, we needed to be agile in our approach and create a digital solution connecting all stakeholders including public subsidy and employer sponsored programs in one place so that it serves everyone. I believed this was the only way to empower child care providers and get more women to return to the workforce, while also helping to close the racial, gender, and economic inequality gap in our communities.
Through our unifying technology, we’ve now been able to break those barriers that have been holding parents, providers, and employers back.”
Built So All Businesses Can Support Working Parents
Before TOOTRiS, employers had limited options to help with the childcare needs of their workforce. Traditional solutions like on-site care required heavy HR burden and were only offered by large organizations with deep pockets. But now, businesses have the power to completely change the course of child care in the U.S. while dramatically transforming workplace cultures to be more family-friendly. With TOOTRiS, employers have a platform specifically design-built as a turn-key benefit solution allowing them to easily provide meaningful support to working parents with zero HR admin. Now companies of all sizes can compete for top talent by giving parents access to the most comprehensive childcare options while removing barriers to equitable advancement.
As Alessandra said, “Quality child care isn’t just about rebuilding our economy – it’s about creating a better future. TOOTRiS is a purpose-driven organization and for me, it all goes back to supporting and strengthening our community starting with quality and affordable child care for all. By continuing our focus on redesigning the entire child care system, we can help the economy move forward while creating a better quality of life for everyone.”