Talking Entrepreneurship with YFE

Last night, I had the pleasure of being the featured guest on the Young Female Entrepreneurs (YFE) weekly show. I always enjoy talking entrepreneurship, but especially when it’s with young women who, like me, are looking for ways to balance running a company with raising kids. YFE Director, Jenn, asked some great questions, touching on all aspects of entrepreneurial life from funding your company to working with your co-founder(s) and even to dating.

You can catch the full interview here:

SittingAround Launches New Babysitter Vetting and Booking Service

BOSTON, MA — For millions of parents, the ever-present stress of finding and scheduling a sitter is about to become a thing of the past.

SittingAround is launching a first-of-its-kind marketplace for vetting, booking, and sharing babysitters.  SittingAround’s Sitter Marketplace takes a modern approach to childcare, leveraging existing social networks to create trust. Parents can build their own robust networks of babysitters and book those babysitters directly on the site.

“As soon as you become a parent, finding a babysitter completely controls your social calendar,” says Erica Zidel, SittingAround Founder and CEO.  “Our goal at SittingAround is to end that. By revolutionizing the way parents both find and schedule sitters, we are going to remove the phrase “if I can find a babysitter” from the parenting experience.”

The SittingAround Sitter Marketplace is the first online sitter tool that utilizes parents’ and sitters’ existing relationships (e.g. friends on Facebook, connections on LinkedIn) to pass trust along the social graph.  Gone are the days of picking up the phone and asking your neighbor for a referral. Now, you can see who she would recommend just by logging in.

The Sitter Marketplace also removes the need to hunt down individual babysitters to check their schedules.  A unique and easy-to-use calendar allows sitters to post real-time availability.

“Until now, babysitting technology hasn’t caught up with how we live the rest of our lives,” says Zidel. “SittingAround is giving babysitting a much-needed modernization.”

Part of that modernization means making it easy and affordable for sitters and parents to make sure others are who they claim to be. SittingAround has partnered with leading employment screening provider, TalentWise, to provide initial background checks to all users free of charge.

The SittingAround Sitter Marketplace officially launched this week in six cities: New York, Boston, DC, Philadelphia, Chicago, and Seattle. Sitters in the six launch cities have been quietly allowed to request an account since December, and SittingAround boasts a waitlist of over 1,000 sitters in these markets. While not officially launched in other locations yet, the Sitter Marketplace is open for anyone to sign up.

About SittingAround

SittingAround, founded in 2011, is a provider of network-based babysitting solutions with a presence across the United States, Canada, UK, and Australia. SittingAround was honored by the White House in 2011 as a company that is “winning the future through innovation” and was featured on the December cover of Entrepreneur Magazine.

Erica Zidel, Founder and CEO



Welcome to Sitting Around!

Welcome to Sitting Around! I’m Erica Zidel, the founder.

It was over two years ago that Ted and I first started working on what would eventually become Sitting Around, a site that aims to ease the burden of childcare for millions of families across the country. On March 7, 2011, we opened Sitting Around up for beta, and I have been overwhelmed and humbled by the great response we have received.

Sitting Around is more than just a tool to make starting and managing a babysitting coop as simple as it ought to be. In my mind, Sitting Around is an introduction to the very concept of babysitting coops themselves.

My son was three years old when I first learned about coops, groups of families who trade free babysitting with each other. The questions I kept coming back to were, “Why wasn’t every single parent in the United States doing this?” and “Who was keeping this whole coop thing a secret?”

Turns out, there were two problems. First, there wasn’t a good way to manage coops. Most coops were using an amalgamation of cobbled together tools — excel spreadsheets, yahoo groups, email lists, etc. Definitely not best practice. Okay, Ted and I thought, we’ll build an easy to use website for babysitting coop management.

But the second problem was not as easily solved. Like myself just two years ago, most parents don’t know much – if anything – about babysitting cooperatives. Since joining my own coop, my quality of life had improved substantially (free sitters, new friends) and I was inspired – no, make that determined – to share the message of coops with as many parents as I possibly could.

The real goal of Sitting Around is to change the way people think about and interact with childcare. It is to make babysitting less about money and scheduling, and more about easily sharing responsibilities with other families in your community.

As you explore the site and start your coop, please let us know if there are features you’d like to see added or things that would improve your experience here. I love hearing ways to make Sitting Around even better, and I hope you’ll enjoy your coop as much as I enjoy mine!