The Spark of Genius Series highlights a unique feature of startups and is made possible by Microsoft BizSpark. If you would like to have your startup considered for inclusion, please see the details here.
Quick Pitch: Find a babysitter through your friends and others’ recommendations.
Genius Idea: As any parent well knows, locking down a babysitter isn’t easy. Finding a babysitter in the first place is difficult, frequently leaving parents to trust their kids with strangers that were referred by friends, or friends of friends. And that babysitter won’t always be available, leaving parents to go through the discovery process all over again.
UrbanSitter is designed to make it easy for parents to find and schedule babysitters without picking up the phone, just as OpenTable makes it possible for diners to discover and reserve tables at restaurants, or StyleSeat enables people to locate and book beauty professionals. Parents can browse for sitters by location, availability, price range, experience, education and more. Using Facebook, parents can also locate sitters that their friends have used and recommended, or sitters that have watched children who attend the same school as their kids. Parents can request interviews with sitters ahead of time as well.
For babysitters, UrbanSitter is a way to better advertise their services, as well as organize their schedules and recommendations. Signing up is a simple process: Sitters can log in through Facebook, select the neighborhoods they’re willing to babysit in, and set their availability and hourly rate for one to four children. They’ll also have the ability to display the extent of their with each age group, and children with special needs. They can request reviews from parents they’ve worked for in the past to build up their credibility as well.
UrbanSitter raised $1.75 million in seed funding led by First Round Capital in January. The startup, which is based in San Francisco, has since expanded to New York, Chicago, San Diego, Napa and Sonoma Valleys, Seattle, Boulder, Lake Tahoe, Denver and St. Louis.
Series Supported by Microsoft BizSpark
The Spark of Genius Series highlights a unique feature of startups and is made possible by Microsoft BizSpark, a startup program that gives you three-year access to the latest Microsoft development tools, as well as connecting you to a nationwide network of investors and incubators. There are no upfront costs, so if your business is privately owned, less than three years old, and generates less than U.S.$1 million in annual revenue, you can sign up today.
Image courtesy of Flickr, oksidor
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