Famly buys nursery software company FirstSteps

Danish childcare software company Famly has bought British early childhood software pioneers FirstSteps.

The deal will see more than 600 FirstSteps users transition to Famly, which the company says will make it the largest all-in-one nursery platform in the UK.

Established in 1994, husband-and-wife founders Kirit and Kokila Patel of FirsSteps now plan to retire once the transition to Famly is complete.

Their son Darshan – whose early childhood days inspired the very first FirstSteps database in 1994 – now leads the FirstSteps development team.

The couple launched FirstSteps as an administration database for the nursery attended by their own children. When they first started making software for the younger years, it involved installing the program with a floppy disk.

They have since grown to offer a comprehensive set of administration, journal and communication software to over 600 customers across the UK and Ireland.

All FirstSteps staff will officially join Famly to help transition FirstSteps customers.

Famly was founded in 2013 in Copenhagen by Anders Laustsen and Henrik Møller Rasmussen. They now support over 3,500 early years settings in 10 countries to connect with families and manage their administration. Their software is used by nursery groups including Kindred, Spring, N Family Club, Early Years Alliance, and Bright Horizons, as well as single-site nurseries.

The deal follows a £14 investment in Famly last December, largely from Susquehanna Growth Equity (SGE), a Philadelphia-based growth investor.

Famly CEO Laustsen said: “At Famly, we want to support shared early childhood, where educators and owners work in the closest possible collaboration with their children’s families – to ensure that children have the best possible start in life. I’m so thrilled to finally announce this deal, which has been made possible through a lot of hard work from our team and the new family members at FirstSteps.

Famly CEO Anders Laustsen in Copenhagen (left) and FirstSteps founders Kirit and Kokila Patel and family in Leicester sign the contract

FirstSteps CEO Kirit Patel said: “Famly and FirstSteps started the same way, a father who wanted to make things easier for his child’s nursery staff. As we approach retirement, I wanted to make sure we had the right partner to carry on this legacy and Famly is clearly that partner, with their excellent customer focus, great industry reputation and fantastic modern software.

‘Thank you to all the FirstSteps customers who have trusted us for so many years, your loyalty means a lot. Just as I trust Famly to look after my brilliant team here at Leicester, I trust them to look after you.

Laustsen added: “Above all, I just want to thank Kirit and Kokila for three decades of service to the industry that laid the foundation for Famly to thrive – and for sharing our vision for a better early childhood.”

Dora W. Clawson