05 Aug 2019

Meet the Founders: Catapillr

By Will Spurr

Following the closure of the Childcare Voucher Scheme, Phil Robinson identified a gap in the provision of employee benefits to cover early-years childcare. To solve this, the father-of-three developed both the Childcare Cash Advance Scheme and Catapillr – the digital platform that allows employers to seamlessly integrate the scheme into their employee benefits system.

Children are a joy, but like most nice things, they can leave a sizeable dent in one’s wallet. Beyond footing the costs of daycare, baby products, and entertainment; parents also struggle to manage the logistics of planning and paying for childcare. This issue is especially pertinent in light of the Social Metrics Commission’s recent report that 2.3 million children are living below the breadline – and have done for two or more years. Additionally, 73% of children in poverty live in a family with an adult who works – and even in families where all adults work full time, one in six children are in poverty; throughout the UK’s ongoing austerity era, parents have found it increasingly difficult to meet childcare costs.

Phil Robinson’s mission is to help tackle these stressors by helping working parents to afford and manage their childcare costs through Catapillr. Catapillr is a parent-family technology company that partners with firms to facilitate the Childcare Cash Advance Scheme, as well as providing a unified information portal for managing childcare costs. The Childcare Cash Advance Scheme is a new employee benefit which works like an employee travel loan, that is to say, firms provide employees with an interest-free loan to cover childcare, which employees then repay over a 12-month period. As a digital platform, Catapillr makes the Cash Advance Scheme easy and accessible for employers and employees alike.

Drawing upon his own experience as a working parent, Phil initially developed a peer-to-peer lending system for childcare costs, but found more regulatory acceptance after transforming the plan into the innovative Childcare Cash Advance Scheme. Through the scheme, HR managers can help new parents meet the financial burden incurred by their kids, and in doing so improve their employee satisfaction and retention. Moreover, the scheme has scope to reduce the (often strictly gendered) negative impact that having children can have on a career. 

Catapillr was inspired by Phil’s personal experience a working parent

Catapillr was inspired by Phil’s personal experience a working parent

Beyond facilitating the childcare loan, the Catapillr digital platform offers an easy-to-use portal for parents to keep track of their childcare costs; including billing, key contacts, and repayment schedules. The platform also provides helpful articles providing advice, news, and support for parents with respect to childcare. 

Catapillr has the potential to assist thousands of parents throughout the UK; but with a little re-jigging, Phil believes that this model can be transplanted to several other countries, including the US, and can incorporate new facets of childcare expenses, such as sports classes. If you want to hear Phil – who happens to moonlight as a drum and bass DJ – chat in more detail about building a client base, generating B2B sales, and building a team with the correct skillset, please check out the podcast episode below. Alternatively, if you would like the chance to discuss employee childcare benefits in person with Phil, head over to Employee Benefits Live, on October 1-2nd in the ExCel centre.


To keep up with the day-to-day happenings at Catapillr; check out their website, follow them at @catapillr, or catch them on LinkedIn.