Women launching a business while simultaneously managing a family can find the dual roles challenging. However, Santa Cruz, Calif.-based NextSpace, which operates nine California workspace locations, offers a solution: It recently added a NextKids childcare facility to its Portrero Hill location in San Francisco.
Currently, NextKids serves roughly two dozen families, of which 70 percent include an entrepreneur. And the majority of clients using the NextSpace-NextKids shared workspace are women, says Diana Rothschild, NextKids’ founder.
“Most of the startups using NextKids are just getting started and have the founders and one or two more people working with them,” Rothschild says. “Of the companies that join us, they say it’s a big recruiting tool, even if not every member of the team has a child.”
The idea for NextKids arose when Rothschild herself became a new mom. “The reason I picked NextSpace is because they had the demographics of users who would be having kids,” she recalls. “A lot of workspaces have 23-year-old entrepreneurs who don’t need daycare. We attract entrepreneurs, but not 24-year-old programmer moms.”
Mothers – and fathers — can sign up for a NextKids membership and gain 24/7 access to the NextSpace workspace. NextKids also offers day passes, as well as two, three or five-day arrangements that also include access. Back-up hourly daycare is also available too. The program takes infants who are between three and 18 months old, and toddlers who range from 18 to 36 months.
NextSpace and NextKids are in adjoining facilities, but Rothschild says the workspace is relatively soundproof. Parents can go into NextKids at any time, though children aren’t allowed into the NextSpace work area.
The challenge of juggling family life with business is a common thread among entrepreneurs who’ve signed up for NextKids. Odessa Shekar, a San Francisco-based photographer, had considered sharing a nanny or using a babysitter as a daycare solution when she decided to re-launch her photography business after returning to the U.S. from Singapore with her six and a half month old daughter, Lulu.
“I was breastfeeding and didn’t want to pump, so I didn’t want to use a daycare while I worked out of the home. I also thought of a nanny share, but my apartment is small,” she says. After learning about NextKids on Facebook, Shekar enrolled Lulu when she was eight months old. She appreciates having a reliable daycare space available where she can see her daughter any time of the day, but that she can also work in a quiet setting and network with other entrepreneurs.
“Every tech center is on our list for opening a NextKids,” says Rothschild. “The model seems to work and it makes parents feel at ease to see their kids, while knowing the space is designed well to separate the noise.”