SAN FRANCISCO--(BUSINESS WIRE)--UrbanSitter, an online service for parents and sitters to connect through people they know, has secured $1.75 million in seed funding. Led by First Round Capital, with participation from Rustic Canyon Partners, Menlo Ventures and several angel investors, the funds will further UrbanSitter’s mission to make booking a trusted sitter as easy as booking dinner reservations. The company has also recently expanded to San Diego, Napa Valley and Sonoma, Seattle, Boulder and Lake Tahoe, and will extend to New York, Chicago, Denver and St. Louis over the next month.
“Parents have always found and booked babysitters through friends. UrbanSitter genuinely leverages the social graph to replicate the physical word-of-mouth experience online, and in the process, turns a formerly cumbersome process into just a few easy clicks,” said Rob Hayes, partner, First Round Capital. “The company’s unique yet simple approach to discovering and booking sitters, along with its talented management team, will combine to capture a leadership position in the lucrative childcare market."
Launched in San Francisco in September 2011, UrbanSitter leverages members' trusted networks to connect families with babysitters. In the Bay-area, the site’s membership has quickly grown to include thousands of parent and sitter members in just a few short months. The additional funding will support new product development—including a mobile component—and further expansion into new cities across the country.
Rob Hayes of First Round Capital and Neal Hansch of Rustic Canyon Partners have been appointed to UrbanSitter’s Board of Directors. Additional investors participating in this round include TripIt cofounders Gregg Brockway and Scott Hintz, as well as Sonja Hoel Perkins, Jennifer Fonstad and Russ Siegelman.
“UrbanSitter is a service that parents actually need. Not only does it put finding a babysitter into a social context, it is also capitalizing on a $10 billion childcare market,” said Neal Hansch, partner, Rustic Canyon Partners. “The company’s one-click, real-time booking engine fills a clear gap in the babysitter arena and leverages mechanics that have already proven to be enormously effective for other successful companies like OpenTable, Fandango and Uber.”
The process of joining and booking a sitter is simple. Parents sign up at UrbanSitter.com and can instantly view sitters known through friends or affiliations—including schools, sports teams and parent groups—and can view each sitter’s availability in order to select a sitter for a specific date and time, or plan an outing when they know their favorite sitter is available. Jobs or interviews can be booked in minutes and parents can contribute written reviews, ratings and Facebook “Likes” to sitter profiles.
“Since launching last fall, we’ve quickly surpassed our membership goals and received overwhelmingly positive feedback from parents and sitters alike,” said Lynn Perkins, co-founder, UrbanSitter. “We are thrilled that this infusion of capital will allow us to bring more features to more markets – making the lives of parents everywhere a little easier.”
In addition to UrbanSitter’s expansion to several cities across the U.S., the company is also exploring additional revenue opportunities, including online payments to sitters. For more information, or to sign up, please visit: www.urbansitter.com.
An online service for parents and sitters to connect through people they know, UrbanSitter makes booking a trusted babysitter as easy as booking dinner reservations. The site enables parents to search, book and review trusted sitters within minutes.
Headquartered in San Francisco, UrbanSitter was founded by a group of Internet veterans who wanted to use technology to power a faster, more personal babysitting service. For more information or to sign up, visit www.urbansitter.com.