Tigers Childcare acquires Tallaght’s Little Fairies

Tigers Childcare embarks on ambitious acquisition drive in next wave of growth with purchase of Tallaght-based Little Fairies Creche and Montessori.

This week Tigers Childcare completed the acquisition of Little Fairies Creche and Montessori – a childcare provider based in Tallaght, Dublin catering for 90 children and employing 13 staff.

The company is on an ambitious growth path, with further company acquisitions and greenfield sites in the pipeline.

“Once a centre is a good fit for us, we step in and continue their legacy”

In January 2020 Tigers Childcare secured a €5m capital injection from DunPort Capital by way of debt capital to help support the company’s expansion in Ireland and the UK.

It is in the final stages of its latest funding round, which is due to be announced in the coming weeks.

“We are doubling down on our growth both in Ireland and the UK, with the aim of bringing the Tigers model of care to even more children,” said Karen Clince, founder and chief executive of Tigers Childcare.

“In the coming months we are looking to acquire more operators that align with our mission to deliver the highest quality service and best developmental outcomes for children backed by a strong team.

“Little Fairies operated a similar service to Tigers Childcare with a great team delivering an exceptional service.”

Scaling and caring

Starting with one after-school centre in Glasnevin in 2003, Tigers Childcare has gradually expanded to become one of Ireland’s leading providers of childcare and early years education.

Tigers Childcare already has 12 centres in the greater Dublin area and one in London, accommodating 2,000 children and employing 183 people. The majority of its facilities operate at 95pc capacity and over.

Its first wave of growth in 2017 saw it acquire three centres from multinational childcare provider, Bright Horizons, and expand its reach into South Dublin.

Three years later, in March 2020, it opened its first UK centre, a 7,000 sq ft facility in Elephant and Castle, London.

Clince said that some of the challenges brought on by Covid are causing smaller providers to ask if it is worth their while continuing in business.

“The restrictions that applied to running childcare centres during the pandemic, as well as the continued professionalisation of the sector, have put added pressures on smaller operators – with many looking to exit. Staff recruitment and retention has become a major issue for the vast majority,” said Clince.

“Once a centre is a good fit for us, we step in and continue their legacy. We remain passionate about treating our colleagues well and ensuring the highest quality care for all of our children.”

It was an emotional week for Anne Byrne, owner of Little Fairies Creche and Montessori.

“It is with a heavy heart that I let go of this setting in Tallaght and part company with my great staff members,” Byrne said.

“When I met with Karen I immediately knew she was someone who would carry on the legacy I have already built up there. She has retained all of the staff, which was also very important to me.”

“I admire the Tigers Childcare ethos. their focus on excellence in childcare provision and am confident that they will continue to deliver a great service and build on what we’ve created.”

When it comes to acquiring other providers, Clince says they are attracted to how Tigers Childcare can streamline their business and continue to develop premium childcare services for them.

“From our management and IT systems to HR and operations on the ground we have the requisite systems and specialists in place to help streamline any childcare business,” said Clince.

“Furthermore, our commitment to staff training and our unique structured pay scale system means we are able to deliver benefits that many others can’t, to ensure consistency in care and a fair compensation system for those working in the sector.”

Tigers’ Karen Clince: ‘Childcare is a strategic industry’


Main image: Karen Clince, founder and owner of Tigers Childcare