Written by Andrew Seale
If you ask CubbySpot co-founder Regnard Raquedan, being a father and running a startup aren’t mutually exclusive.
“If I’m not feeling so good about my family situation, I’m not as effective or as focused in terms of CubbySpot,” says the CEO of the startup, a mobile platform that connects parents and daycares. And that sentiment extends to the work culture he and Liza Ong, his wife and co-founder have tried to create at CubbySpot.
“You have a vision for the kind of company you want to be and for me as a parent I wanted CubbySpot to be for parents and also for the parents that work here to have work-life balance,” he says. “There’s commitments you need from people when you create a startup and when you’re parent (it’s) a lot ask of your family too.”
But CubbySpot has always been parent-centric, ever since Raquedan and Ong struggled to find a daycare spot for their daughter. Inspired by the pain-points associated with getting on waiting lists for spots in the City’s daycare ecosystem, Raquedan, who has more than 15 years experience designing apps and websites, and Ong, who has a computer science background, decided to launch the platform and app.
In hindsight, balancing a newborn and a baby at the same time was a major undertaking. Especially given that Raquedan had never run a startup like CubbySpot before. So he turned to the Toronto Founder Institute. Raquedan graduated from the incubator in 2015 and launched CubbySpot.
“We knew that we had to be a part of something larger (before) jumping into the ecosystem… we'd been in Toronto for only five years,” he says. It went just beyond the networking aspects of joining an incubator. “(It was) having mentorship… people who run businesses in the city, who’d scaled.”
Drawing information from open source government data and registered daycares that have signed on (the platform has both parent-friendly and daycare-friendly functions) parents can pick their preferred location and receive notifications about daycare availability through their phone, while daycares can manage their waitlist.
“We have 13,000 listings of registered child care centres across Canada,” says Raquedan.
The startup has also immersed itself in the ecosystem.
“We’re a part of the Centre for Social Innovation and Community Innovation Lab– we’ve got a lot of good traction with that community,” he says. “We’re not just a pure for-profit, we’re a startup with some social impact, that is very critical for us.”
The CubbySpot co-founder says he doesn’t think the company would be in this space if they’d started in a different city.
“Apart from the childcare being an issue in Toronto, the startup support system here is great as well,” says Raquedan.
As the company turned two this February – and Raquedan’s family grows, he and Ong now have two daughters – the entrepreneurial father continues to reflect on running a startup and raising a family.
“It’s challenging at times but at the heart of it, before anything else I’m a father, I’m a husband and that’s me,” he says. “CubbySpot has to work for me at the fundamental level so that I’ll be able to provide for my family – (but) there’s more to life than work.”