Tigers Childcare raises €5m to fund expansion into London

Creche and after-school care service operates 13 centres in Dublin and Meath for 1,250 children

Tigers Childcare chairman Cormac Tobin with Lilah Mahon and Karen Clince, managing director. Photograph: Conor McCabe Photography.

Tigers Childcare chairman Cormac Tobin with Lilah Mahon and Karen Clince, managing director. Photograph: Conor McCabe Photography.

 

Irish creche and after-school care business Tigers Childcare has secured €5 million to fund expansion, including the opening of its first centre in Britain.

The company says it will open its first overseas facility in London next month as part of an urban regeneration project in Elephant and Castle, having won a tender to operate a 7,000 sq ft facility owned by property group, Lendlease.

Tigers founder Karen Clince said she saw strong potential for her company’s model in London where demand for childcare is high but she intends also to continue to expand her Irish business.

“Our plan is to continue to build on the number of Tigers Childcare centres in Dublin and its surrounds, through a combination of acquisitions and new centre openings, and cater for the increased demand for both full-day care and after-school services,” said Ms Clince.

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Tigers is one of Ireland largest childcare providers, with 13 centres in Dublin and Meath. It employs 112 people and has spaces for 1,250 children.

Established in 2003 in Glasnevin in north Dublin, it expanded substantially in 2017 with the acquisition of three childcare centres from multinational provider, Bright Horizons. The company says all its Irish operations are running at full capacity.

“The capital support and expert advice from DunPort, combined with its track record in supporting high-growth SMEs make it the perfect fit for us.”

DunPort director and cofounder Ross Morrow said the childcare sector was of critical importance to the underpinning of the broader economy.

“Tigers is well placed, as a leading player of scale and quality, to grow its service offering to help address the current level of under-capacity in the sector,” he said.

DunPort, which was founded in 2017, by Mr Morrow and Pat Walsh is a non-bank lender, specialising in debt finance for SMEs looking to scale up their business. It targets businesses with revenues in excess of €5 million. It raised a €283 million fund in 2018.