Making it Work

The Baby Academy plans to keep on growing after raising €3m in funding

The company, which aims to be a ‘one-stop shop’ for parents from preconception up to pre-school, has accelerated its expansion across Britain and the US

Susan Hogan and Tom McGovern, co-founders of the Baby Academy: ‘Our hope is to be the global provider for educating parents.’ Picture: Bryan Meade

The Baby Academy, an Irish parent education company founded in 2019, has raised €3 million in the last year as part of a move into the US market.

The company, which has support from Enterprise Ireland, aims to be a “one-stop shop” for parents from preconception all the way up until their children are starting pre-school.

“That’s our goal,” Susan Hogan, one of the three founders of the firm, told the Business Post. “At the moment, we’re not fully there yet – but we do support through pregnancy and after, up until the baby is about eight months old.”

The business has enjoyed rapid growth since its establishment, and now employs 14 people in addition to a roster of 92 expert instructors who work on a contract basis. Some 800,000 parents have registered for its classes in the last three years.

The Baby Academy was founded when Hogan met Tom and Brian McGovern, the educational entrepreneurs who founded the Dublin School of Grinds, now the Dublin Academy of Education.

They realised that there was a gap in the market when it came to a comprehensive educational package for parents. That was where Hogan, a qualified midwife and childbirth instructor, came in.

“When we were starting, it was clear that there was no real one-stop shop that parents can book into,” Hogan said. “Some hospitals will offer good services, and out in the community, you could be lucky if you found a nice midwife.”

But, she added, the vision that The Baby Academy’s founders shared was “that there would be just one place where parents could go to gather all the info they needed”.

The Baby Academy markets itself by offering mothers a free baby care workshop which provides them with “stellar, up-to-date, evidence-based information”, Hogan said. It then hopes they will sign up for further classes to help them through pregnancy and childbirth.

“We launched in Ireland first, and then we rolled out in the UK, the US and Canada,” Hogan said. “And in each country we have a team of health professionals that are individual to that country. We only have health professionals teaching our classes.”

Using its seed funding round, The Baby Academy has been able to accelerate its expansion across Britain and the US. In America, it has started launching new B2B partnerships with hospitals and healthcare providers.

Its aim with those partnerships, Hogan said, is to “augment the perinatal services of OB-GYN (Obstetrics and Gynaecology) facility or maternity hospital”.

“We educate their expectant parents so that the OB-GYNs, who are really busy, can outsource it to our experts who will happily take it on and do it really well. That’s something we’ve more recently started building out in the US, and we’re growing it.”

In the long run, the company believes that B2B sales will help it provide educational services to a higher number of parents, with the system provided through healthcare providers rather than requiring parents to seek it out.

“Our hope is to be the global provider for educating parents and empowering parents, from preconception to pre-school,” Hogan said.