Bümo has secured $3.5 million in seed funding, WWD has learned.
Influencer and entrepreneur Chriselle Lim is behind the growing business — which encompasses an online educational platform for kids called BümoBrain and an upcoming coworking space offering licensed child care, BümoWork, located on the second floor of Westfield Century City in Los Angeles. There’s also a podcast: “Being Bümo.”
Lim, a mom of two young children, decided to invest in the idea after she was unable to find a child care business in a coworking space that met her needs. (BümoBrain, on-demand classes for ages 6 months to 7 years old starting at $28 a month, was launched as a pivot during the pandemic.)
“There were a few places that had unlicensed child care, and they never really mention that it’s unlicensed until you ask them,” said Lim, chief marketing officer at Bümo. “That is the biggest difference. If you’re unlicensed, the child can only be at the location for no more than two or three hours. They can’t change their diapers, can’t feed them. And so, even though that is better than no child care at all, I knew that it wasn’t a long-term solution for a working mother like me.”
Joan Nguyen — a friend, fellow working mom and chief executive officer at the company — could relate, and the two decided to partner (with chief project officer Elijah Kim) to launch Bümo, meaning “parents” in Korean.
“We also saw holes in the licensed child care model that we wanted to fix,” said Nguyen.
BümoWork offers longer and more flexible hours than most child care businesses, she explained. Sunday through Wednesday, it’s open from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m., and Thursday through Saturday, from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. There’s also a “weekender” membership option with three-hour camps, along with earlier drop-off and pick-up times (8 a.m. and 8 p.m. on weekdays, respectively, depending on availability).
There’s also the added benefit, for the parents, of being situated in one of L.A.’s most popular malls, a 1.3 million-square-foot open-air center with over 200 shopping and dining options. Available for kids aged 6 months to 6 years old, BümoWork is accepting applications now and opens May 21.
Lim and Nguyen hope to use the funds to grow Bümo, they said, which currently has a team of 24 full-time employees and 40 contractors.
“We’re definitely doubling down on growth strategies,” explained Nguyen. “And then beyond BümoBrain, the physical concept BümoWork is also thinking about how BümoWork and BümoBrain can complement corporate America, where there’s an exodus of working women for the workforce. How do we help create infrastructure physically and digitally to support working parents, from building on-site child cares into corporate offices and parks to offering working parents a membership to BümoBrain?”