A Chat with Ari Last, Founder and CEO at Flexible Childcare Provider: Bubble

Ari Last, Founder and CEO at Flexible Childcare Provider: Bubble

Bubble is an app that connects parents to trusted and approved childcare sitters, both for short notice cover and regular childcare needs, within their local areas.

Our app contains 100m+ relationship ‘nodes’ between members of our community, and we utilise that data to serve parents with local sitters and nannies that are recommended by other mums and dads they trust.

Through the app, we’ve taken a very simple ‘real-world’ dynamic – parents want childcare that is backed up with a personal recommendation so we’ve used technology to make the process of getting those recommendations more efficient.

Our USP is all about digitising trust, and our tech brings parents the convenience-features we all associate with on-demand apps such as cashless payment, insurance, and the end-to-end booking management process.
Bubble - Find Childcare Now – Apps on Google Play

How did you come up with the idea for the company?

I previously worked at Betfair and MarketFinance, two great marketplace businesses, and saw how much value marketplaces give customers in terms of user experience, transparency and price. Additionally, after starting my own family, I understood first-hand how painful it was trying to find childcare, especially at short notice, and knew how much of an impact it has on parents’ lives.

Bubble was a fusion of my time working at marketplaces, albeit in very different sectors, and my personal experience as a parent of just how broken the childcare market was. We realised that in childcare, trust is derived almost entirely from social validation; parents want to book the people their friends know and trust.

This is something that can be digitised, which is why we built the app on top of our own social network. We’re digitising trust and we’ve approached the problem in a completely different way than what came before us.


How has the company evolved during the pandemic?

The great people working here and our business itself have shown a lot of resilience. As a childcare marketplace, our business traditionally relied on parents going out and having people in their homes whilst they do it. These two social norms have been largely off the table during the pandemic, yet we still performed strongly with more parents booking daytime sits than ever before.

We also developed new service lines like our Bubble For Work and permanent childcare services, and launched a volunteer childcare service for NHS workers that’s seen over 10,000 hours of childcare requests through it. We’re especially excited about our B2B service, as a growing number of employers want to support their working parents and mothers in particular, who were hit incredibly hard by the pandemic

We’re continuing to invest in our product and technology, which is at the heart of what we do and we’re hopefully coming out of the worst of things in a stronger position than we were going into it. This is a testament to the team which has grown 300%, and the talented people we’re lucky to have here.

What can we hope to see from Bubble in the future?

COVID has shone a light on how fundamental childcare is to a properly functioning society and economy, and the UK market, in particular, is so broken, but we are determined to fix that. In this next phase of growth, we plan to expand our core service to more families across the UK, along with new platform enhancements that make life easier for parents.