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Summary:

[qi:012] Broadband is the best friend of those who use the Web2.0 to reinvent the boring, the old fashioned and the antiquated. That theory of ours has been proved by the early success of SpreadShirt and Threadless. And of late, we are seeing an increasing number […]

[qi:012] Broadband is the best friend of those who use the Web2.0 to reinvent the boring, the old fashioned and the antiquated. That theory of ours has been proved by the early success of SpreadShirt and Threadless. And of late, we are seeing an increasing number of start-ups, Moo.com, for example, join the party.

One start-up that has impressed us most is Care.com, a Waltham, MA.-based outfit that connects families to “qualified care givers with a national network of trusted providers.” The company which has raised $3.5 million in Series A funding from Matrix Partners, is also the latest investment by Reid Hoffman, godfather of Web 2.0 start-ups, and also co-founder of LinkedIn. We are still waiting to hear from him about why he invested in Care.com.

If you are a busy parent in desperate need for a baby sitter or a nanny and don’t have time to get in touch with agencies, then Care.com is your one stop shop.

You can find care professionals in your zip code, access their resumes and read reviews of their past performance. Of course there is a $10-a-month fee to pay for this ease of use, but the idea is so ridiculously simple, that you wonder why there hasn’t been an exchange like this before.

The idea came to Sheila Marcelo, a former executive at TheLadders (read disclosure at the bottom of the post), a NY-based recruitment service, when she moved back to Boston and joined Matrix Partners as an entrprenuer-in-residence.

She had a tough time finding a nanny and after some research realized that this was a problem for modern parents, juggling many different roles. Since launching in May 2007, the year-old-service has attracted a few thousand “parents” who are happy to pay the $10 a month fee.

Marcelo, was reticent about sharing the revenue numbers, but given that the service is only three-months-old, we will cut her some slack. So what’s next for this company? How about health care professionals for the aging baby boomers?

  1. How about something to help aging baby boomers care for their parents? That, too, is coming…

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  2. I think we have something even better than care.com – please see CareSquare.com

    A free social network connecting parents directly to caregivers, allowing for peer-review and real-time booking of care.

    Elder care slated for release end-of-year. Would love to hear your thoughts.

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  3. Sitter City has been doing this for a while – for baby and pet sitters. While people may pay the $10/month until they hire a sitter, there is very little incentive to continue paying the subscription fee after a sitter is found, since you don’t hire 3 different sitters to take care of your kid or aging parent – each coming in at different time of day. However, there is a definite benefit to the service provider, who may be willing to pay for this service.

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  4. Seems like a commodity service – hard to see people paying $10/mo. for it. Think they should switch to a “premium sponsorship” basis.

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  5. [...] of Care.com, Sheila Marcelo, to find out how her new start-up is making a business by caring. (My article on the company can be found here.) Plus, my new ultra-short, summer haircut. (My barber really doesn’t like me it seems.) You [...]

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  6. I’m here scouting, I confess, for back links but some days I think the real bonus of trawling through the blogs like this is that I discover things going on in the world, not just in my sphere of employment, but all kinds of things, that are of great interest and otherwise I’d simply never hear of. It’s very interesting to read about these developments in our industry, I’ll be passing the details back to the office.

    BB

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  7. I took a look at care.com. It appears that they need to do a lot more to help senior service providers market their services more effectively and efficiently. Perhaps reaching out to in-home care providers might be a better option.
    Valerie VanBooven

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  8. I think this fills a void in an elder care system that looks like swiss cheese!

    My company provides professionally trained caregivers at reasonable rates, but there are still many families out there that can’t afford our level of care.

    Care.com could be a great database of names for recruiting new caregivers!

    Great Post – Thanks!

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  9. No, this wasn’t a new idea, Sittercity has been around for a long time and Sheila is probably discovering that recruiting babysitters isn’t the same as lawyers – probably glad she is burning through someone else’s cash.

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  10. Well, here I am back again a year later… the world’s turned a little but I see people are still posting here. It’s interesting again how some pages last on the web, this one and its content remain topical.
    We’ve opened up, not a care agency, although you could describe the Nanny aspect of the service as caring, I suppose, but an agency to provide household/domestic staff in general but with a distinction we believe to be unique to the UK – no agency fees. Please, feel free to check us out.

    BB

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