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The sitter-finder gets support from Baird, New World Ventures, and others
The babysitting industry is competitive and cut-throat. If you want to make it in this business, you have to be crafty, savvy, and willing to stab your own mother in the back.
Did I say “babysitting industry”? I meant Somalian piracy.
But babysitters have it rough, too. They have to put up with squalling kids, take orders from parents who speak passive-aggressively through their kids (“Tell Miss Faith ‘I need a bath’”), and for what—free reign of the TV after the kids go to sleep and full access to a kitchen bounty?
Sittercity.com helps families fill their childcare needs, and today the company announced that it has closed a $22.6 million Series B round of financing led by Baird Venture Partners and New World Ventures, with help from the State of Wisconsin Investment Board, Western Technology Investment, and existing investors Point Judith Capital, Apex Venture Partners, and I2A.
With over two million caregiver profiles on its site, Sittercity.com helps families find their ideal babysitter, nanny, pet-sitter, or elder caregiver. The site comes with a do-it-yourself screening process that includes checking references, reading caregiver reviews, conducting reviews, and performing a background check using Sittercity’s free background check service.
But what really sets the site apart is its corporate program. Typically, parents have to pay membership fees to access full caregiver profiles and take advantage of the site’s services, but the corporate program allows companies to offer free Sittercity memberships as a benefit to their employees. A number of heavy-hitters have already signed on, including the Department of Defense, Avon, MasterCard, FOX Networks, Pitney Bowes and Monster Worldwide.
In January 2010, the Department of Defense signed up with Sittercity to provide childcare options for hundreds of thousands of Army, Navy, Marine, and Air Force families throughout the U.S. Fully funded by the Department of Defense, the program also serves active duty, reserve, and guard families as well. To better accommodate these families, Sittercity developed a unique portal: Sittercity.com/dod.
"We are excited about the opportunity to partner with the management team of Sittercity and build on the success of their business over the last decade," said Benedict Rocchio, Partner at Baird Venture Partners, in a statement. "Sittercity is representative of the type of business we look to partner with given its strong market position and management team, operating in one of our core subsectors in the information services industry. Further, this investment underscores BVP's longstanding commitment to Chicago and the Midwest, which is fundamental to our strategy." Rocchio will be joining Sittercity’s board of directors, along with New World Ventures Partner Adam Koopersmith.
The company plans to use the new funds to invest in its corporate program as well as focus on U.S. and international expansion.
Image source: Sittercity.com
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