A new parenting app co-founded by entrepreneur Jennie Johnson has raised £1.4 million in its latest funding round.
Based in MediaCity in Salford, My First Five Years supports a child’s unique development and received funding from GMCA and five high net worth individuals.
Johnson sold her previous business Kids Allowed to Kids Planet in January 2020 but came out of retirement to launch My First Five Years.
She launched the new venture in January 2021 after joining forces with long-term friend and co-founder Alistair Bryce-Clegg and has grown to 14 staff.
The £1.4m is in addition to initial funding by the founders followed by a round of £200,000 seed funding in 2021 and followed more than 30 presentations to individuals and companies.
Johnson told BusinessCloud: “As any startup founder will know, it’s a huge relief to have concluded the funding and I’m incredibly grateful for the support we have received.
“It’s a real sign of confidence in what we’re doing at My First Five years and will enable us to accelerate our growth.
“I’m absolutely convinced that we have a world class idea that will be transformative for parents of young children.
“We’re getting lots of exciting opportunities and can’t wait to get the app launched.”
The app has been designed with support from Manchester digital agency Apadmi and gives parents an understanding of the learning that is taking place and allows them to enjoy their child’s first five years more whilst giving their child a strong foundation for their future learning.
“The app helps parents see and understand their child’s development, allowing them to marvel in the moments not just the milestones,” explained Johnson.
The startup has identified more than 2,600 skills and activities children may acquire in their first five years and the app works by helping parents support their child’s physical, cognitive and emotional development.
Johnson said: “The feedback we have been getting from our pre-launch test community has been brilliant. The funding will give the product the exposure it requires and continue the next phase of app development.”
The entrepreneur called for more support for pre-revenue tech startups.
Help for startups
“It seems to me this very early stage funding is almost entirely done by high net worth individuals (HNWs), and there’s an institutional funding gap that needs addressing,” she said.
“I worry for first-time around founders, as I have no doubt our previous experience and reputation has helped us open doors and get this round away.
“I think a percentage of any fund should go into the early stage startup ecosystem.
“If we can’t get the UK to do more to support startups, I fear we’ll get left behind.”
Councillor David Molyneux, GMCA lead for Investment and Resources, said: “GMCA was impressed with Jennie’s experience and the way technology was being adapted to improve the lives of parents and young children.
“The continued development of My First Five Years supports the growth of Greater Manchester’s thriving digital economy. The growth of the app will also create a number of new good-quality jobs in the sector for the city region.”
My First Five Years’ app launches this week. For more information go to mffy.com