Organic Growth Masterclass: Kids Planet, backed by BGF

Taking a minority stake as a supportive investor and driving a three-pronged growth strategy helped transform nursery and education business Kids Planet says Neil Inskip, investor at BGF.

When BGF first identified Kids Planet in 2016, it was already a leading provider of nursery care and education, with 17 nurseries across the UK. With “Outstanding” accreditations from Ofsted across each of its nurseries, it immediately stood out, which was clearly a credit to its leadership team.

Following six months of talks with CEO Clare Roberts, BGF quickly recognised that the passion and insight of the leadership team was a key driver of the business’s successes to date, and agreed on an initial £10m investment.


Neil Inskip says: “With our minority investment, we positioned ourselves as a supporting investor. Rather than change what was already a successful business, we aimed to support, and boost the company with a three-pronged growth strategy.

The first was Kids Planet’s dedication to excellent service which, through word of mouth and online reviews, we knew would drive organic growth, with further families flocking to the existing nurseries, boosting occupancy rates.

The second was to establish entirely new sites – building nurseries from the ground up, or converting buildings from old police stations into nurseries, for example, in communities that were lacking high-quality nurseries at the time.

Finally, we saw an opportunity in introducing Kids Planet’s established, successful approach to running nurseries to existing sites and nursery groups, making quality nursery care available to more and more families.”


Neil says: “As a minority investor, our role was to support the management team in any way we could. Over the first few years, we helped spur rapid growth, first through individual sites, going up to 23 total nurseries in 2018.

The first year of the pandemic naturally proved to be a very difficult one, as only key workers continued to need nurseries. The array of acquisitions we had helped Kids Planet make in the four years prior, provided a benefit of scale, allowing us to move resources around from site to site to match needs. This minimised losses and maintained positive relationships with the families, who returned as parents went back to the office.

The large number of Kids Planet branches provided career progression opportunities, including roles like head of site, or area manager, and allowed the business to hold on to talented caregivers. This increased job retention fed into the business’s continued high quality of service. Over the course of the holding period, we invested over £40m.”