Loving parents always want to know how their children are doing in school. Brightwheel’s daycare management app can help you as it allows parents and teachers to easily interact with each other. Founder Dave Vasen secured an investment deal with Mark Cuban and Chris Sacca on Shark Tank. As of 2022, Brightwheel is worth over $600 million.
About the Founder
Originally from San Francisco, California, Dave Vasen is a graduate of Stanford University. He holds an MBA from the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania. Before becoming an entrepreneur, he gained experience working in a wide range of businesses.
In 1999, he landed his first job in the quality assurance department of Electronic Arts. Then he had short stints at companies like OneCast Media Inc., Morgan Stanley, Cisco Systems, SeasonTicket.com, and Teach for America.
In 2004, Dave became a senior associate consultant at Bain & Company. Three years later, he was hired as an advisor at LookFlow and Tempo AI. He was also chosen to be Vice President of Products at AltSchool.
For his day job, Vasen created software applications for Fortune 500 companies. However, his career goals changed when his daughter, Serena, was born. He wanted to see his daughter grow up instead of focusing on work.
This inspired him to build a program for his schooling. In 2014, he launched a prototype for Brightwheel called KidCasa. Thanks to this management software, teachers can inform parents of everything that is happening in the classroom.
The app was specifically aimed at daycare centers and preschools. When the final version of the app was ready, the startup was rebranded to a more professional name. Dave made incredible growth from the startup and focused on partnering with schools on revenue. Prior to entering the tank, it had already signed up 2,500 schools and raised $2.2 million from angel investors.
Shark Tank Appearance
Dave Vasen almost unwittingly brought his business to Shark Tank. He went to audition for season seven because the filming location was close to his workplace. In 2016, he entered the show, asking for $400,000 in exchange for 4% equity.
The valuation was a little too high for some of the Sharks, but the contractor wasn’t afraid to explain why it was a fair valuation. He said he was reforming early childhood education with Brightwheel.
Both Kevin O’Leary and guest investor Chris Sacca offered $400,000 for a 4.85% stake. After having a small argument with Sacca, Cuban decided to team up with the tech entrepreneur to split $600,000 for 6.67%. Poor Kevin O’Leary was kicked out at the last minute!
After Shark Tank
Brightwheel uses a freemium business model which has attracted more schools. This helped the company raise more funds after the show to fuel its growth.
Through Series A funding round led by Mark Cuban and Chris Sacca, the app raised an additional $10 million in 2017. The following year, it raised another $21 million through Series B funding led by Chan Zuckerberg Initiative, a company run by Mark Zuckerberg. and his wife Priscilla Chan.
Shark Tank followed Dave Vasen in 2018 and he revealed that the app was now used in 25,000 schools. In February 2021, Brightwheel raised another $55 million investment round. The company is just getting started, with sales that recently hit $13.8 million and is currently worth over $600 million!
Since the company was valued at $9 million on Shark Tank, Sacca and Cuban earned a 60x return on their initial investment. No doubt, Chris is annoyed to have to share the advantage with Mark!
Despite the recent downturn in the economy, Brightwell is still hiring and looking to recruit more people into marketing, engineering and product areas.