Genevieve Thiers is the founder and former chief executive officer of Sittercity, America’s first and largest online resource for any kind of care providers. Launched out of Thiers’ dorm room in 2001, Sittercity lets parents find the best babysitters, nannies, senior companions, pet sitters, and tutors in their neighborhood. Users post jobs on the site, review applicants’ profiles and photos, and read reviews by other parents, while Sittercity takes care of identity verification and background checks. A new job is posted on Sittercity every 90 seconds, a family is connected with a local caregiver every 3 seconds, and over 2,000 caregivers join the site every day.
Thiers’ own childhood experiences prompted her to start Sittercity. “I was the oldest of seven kids, and I couldn’t remember a time when I wasn’t a babysitter,” she says. With Sittercity, she made sure she offered something that the average mom could afford. Parents can hire a babysitter or a nanny for as low as $35, and sometimes even for free (try before you buy).
In 2008, Sittercity launched its employer program called SelectPlus, whose services are currently available to millions of employees as part of their benefits packages. SelectPlus’ more than 500 clients include the University of California, MasterCard, Dannon, AOL, and Amazon. In 2010, Sittercity introduced its military program, where memberships to the site are fully paid for by the US Department of Defense for men and women in the Army, Navy, Marines, and Air Force (active duty, reserve, and guard).
Named a Small Business Administration Young Entrepreneur Champion by President Bush, Thiers now teaches entrepreneurship classes, mentors other entrepreneurs, and serves on the board of the Chicagoland Entrepreneurial Center.
For those looking to start their own business, Thiers’ advice is to “look for inconveniences. There is often a company in that.”