Parenting app My First Five Years has raised £800,000 in its latest round of investment as it targets 250,000 paid subscribers inside three years.

The app was co-founded by entrepreneur Jennie Johnson MBE, who 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 with long-term friend and co-founder Alistair Bryce-Clegg and has grown it to 17 staff.

The £800,000 is the Didsbury startup’s third fundraise, following on from £1.4m in 2022 and £200,000 in seed funding in 2021.

The latest fundraise took three months to finalise and is from a mix of new and existing angel investors.

Johnson said: “It’s a really important fundraise for My First Five Years. We’re two years old as a business and 2023 is a critical year for us as we demonstrate market traction and proof that parents are willing to pay for the app.

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“We launched our £4.99-a-month subscription model eight weeks ago and have already had a really good response.

“We want to have 250,000 subscribers within three years and this latest funding will enable us to scale up our journey.

“What’s nice is half the investors are new while the other half have invested before and that gives us a lot of confidence.

“I know that we have a world class idea that can transform the lives of parents with young children and our investors clearly believe it too.

“The app helps parents see and understand their child’s development.”

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 give their child the strongest foundations with their child’s physical, cognitive and emotional development in those all important first five years.

Johnson, who is herself a mother-of-three, said: “Everything on the app has been created by early year experts and recognises that every child is different, even twins.

“The purpose of My First Five Years is to help parents and help children. We’re not trying to make parenting harder, we’re trying to make it easier. That’s why the app has a bank of more than 2,000 hints and tips.

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“The trouble with parenting is we often repeat how we were parented. The app breaks those generational cycles.”

Johnson said the company would be working with influencers to raise the profile of My First Five Years.

“We’re only interested in working with genuine influencers who download the app, use it and believe it,” she said. “It has to be authentic.”