New Harbor was early in identifying the compelling drivers of the early childhood education market and its significant potential for secular growth: the increasing importance of education in a knowledge economy, a heightened awareness of the strong causal link between early education and academic achievement, parents’ increasing desire to provide their children with competitive advantages, and accelerating demand for quality programming. We believe these sustained trends combined with the lack of public programming for early age groups (ages 0 – 3) creates substantial opportunity for private sector solutions. New York Kids Club (“NYKC” or the “Company”), a premier operator of preschool and early childhood enrichment programming with an extensive footprint in the highly desirable New York City market, remains at the cutting edge of meeting this demand.
In 2015, New Harbor partnered with NYKC founder Pam Wolf and her team. Pam, an entrepreneur and mother of three, opened the first NYKC location in 2001 after being unable to find adequate programming for her young children. Over the next 15 years, the Company quickly grew to 11 locations and 225 employees serving ~40,000 children annually. The Company’s core offering of prestigious NAEYC accredited preschool program for children ages two to four is supplemented by a diversity of enrichment classes (e.g., cooking, gymnastics, dance), camps, open-play and birthday parties for children ages two months to ten years. The array of offerings is designed to foster superior facility utilization while expanding the addressable age group and ensuring sufficient programming novelty to retain students for multiple years. This, combined with the Company’s leading reputation for academic excellence, high-end hospitality orientation, and unrivalled geographic footprint made NYKC a standout platform in the industry.
“New Harbor’s experience growing education businesses makes this an exciting partnership for us. Their industry-specific expertise coupled with their strategic and operational know-how will be extremely valuable as we implement our growth initiatives.”Pam Wolf
New York Kids Club, Founder
Our investment management plan focused on accelerating the Company’s development of new locations within the existing New York market, expanding into a new geography, and further developing the leadership team to support continued growth. Since New Harbor invested, the Company has approximately doubled the number of locations and created a highly replicable playbook for facility site selection and launch that allows NYKC to consistently open multiple sites per year. In addition, the Company expanded into its first new geography (Chicago), and substantially developed the organizational leadership to effectively manage the rapidly growing operations (e.g. President, Director of Preschool, VP of Marketing, CFO, strategic board of directors). Numerous organic revenue growth and operational efficiency improvement initiatives combined to create significant runway for growth.
Since New Harbor invested in 2015, we believe the demand for early childhood education services has continued to grow each year. At the same time, the operating environment has become more complicated with increased compliance requirements and greater expectations. With a twenty-year track record of academic excellence, an acute focus on quality and compliance, and an outstanding reputation, we believe NYKC stands out amongst its competitors and well-positioned to continue addressing the expanding market demand.