As a lawyer with three children under five, Andrea Christie-David saw a massive gap in the market to offer more flexibility in childcare. So she put her legal career aside to enter the startup world, creating Leor In Home Early Learning.
That was back in 2018, enabling her to initially support the needs of parents requiring care for multiple kids at once, by bringing highly experienced and qualified early childhood educators into the home to provide early learning.
Now G8 Education has announced that it will acquire Leor, in a multi-million dollar deal (including an upfront consideration of $2 million followed by a potential consideration of $7.5 million over three years) with the ASX listed entity looking to support more children with complex needs and enable the platform Christie-David created to further meet demand.
Leor will become a new Specialist Care division within G8 Education, aiming to provide more “joy, learning and play” to more children who would otherwise miss out due to living remotely, or experiencing illness or having a disability.
It’s a deal that highlights the incredible value of entrepreneurs and investors aiming to meet the challenges of caring sectors — sectors that are absolutely ripe for more innovation and solutions now and into the future.
For Christie-David, the business needed a much bigger partner in order to meet the demand for the Leor service — demand that has only grown since Christie-David told Women’s Agenda back in 2019 that her own children were on the waitlist.
The deal also highlights the value of supporting women in entrepreneurship.
Having followed Christie-David’s entrepreneurial journey since the beginning, one thing that’s always stood out is how the childcare tech startup evolved from her own needs as a parent. In her case, it was the costs associated with having three kids in early childhood education at the same time — why couldn’t she instead access subsidised early learning in her own home?
Another thing that has always stood out about Christie-David is her strong desire to do things right. Part of that surely comes from her experience as a human rights lawyer and equality advocate, who has spent years working with the most vulnerable and disadvantaged members of society.
From day one, Christie-David was always set on paying educators above the teachers award, and also ensuring they had access to continuous learning and professional development. These educators can also access flexible and part time work.
Just as important, was the vision she had for urgently filling the gaps in early learning for children who can’t physically go into traditional childcare centres, for a variety of different reasons. She evolved Leor into an innovative model of early intervention and disability support, specifically tailored to meet the needs of every individual child. Leor’s early learning integrates the recommendations of allied health professionals, including speech therapists and occupational therapists to support kids in getting the best early learning opportunities possible. It also aims to support families living across remote and regional Australia where traditional services are lacking, as well as for families with parents and carers working irregular hours.
When asked about this next stage for Leor and her career, Christie-David described it as a huge compliment to have been approached to not only acquire her business, especially given it was created for her own children, but also not to have the opportunity to further grow the business and support more families with complex needs across Australia.
“I am also humbled to be appointed to G8 Education’s Executive Leadership Team to lead the newly established Specialised Care Division, celebrating and strengthening G8 Education’s diversity and inclusion, but also enabling me to help lead how the organisation and sector supports children and families with complex needs.”
I remember meeting Christie-David back in 2018, when she said “I don’t do anything I’m not passionate about.”
That passion fuelled her work at a not for profit law firm, and later into launching an innovative startup giving children more early childhood education flexibility.
It’s passion that’s clearly been noticed, with G8 seeing the opportunity to expand on this space by acquiring Leor and appointing Christie-David to a new leadership position.
As G8 Education CEO Gary Carroll said on announcing this partnership, it was Christie-David who identified the massive gap in addressing the children missing out on critical learning and development opportunities.
“We see an opportunity to support future growth and also offer our team members new career avenues where they can use their skills and passion for educating young children to make a difference,” he said.
“We have a lot to learn from Andrea and her team of educators, instilling some of the educational practices that will benefit children in every one of our centres, particularly those with additional needs.”
Christie-David proves the too often undervalued opportunity in investing in women, especially those women aiming to innovate to address the gaps and challenges in the care economy.