"I Was Actually Laughed Out Of The Room By VCs"

genevieve thiers

Genevieve Thiers’ business, Sittercity.com is a network that connects parents with over one million caregivers online.

Caregivers are available in many divisions including child care, pet care, senior care, home care and tutoring.

Genevieve shares her experiences.

The Challenge: Sittercity launched in the middle of the dot com crash, and it was next to impossible to get funding.  

Not only did I hear that VCs were just not investing, I was actually laughed out of the room, hearing things like “my wife handles that” and “it’s a babysitters’ club.”  So I had identified a multi-billion dollar industry, but was not able to get funding to grow it.

The Solution: I bootstrapped!  I got 20,000 flyers and flyered 400 dorms in Boston to get the first 600 sitters, hired college friends to build the site, did hundreds of talks in church basements, and literally chased mums in supermarkets.

I just kept thinking that if I had to convert mums one at a time, I would…until enough of them were doing it that I hit a tipping point.

The Aftermath: Sittercity today is America’s first and largest network to connect parents with caregivers. We have won over 16 awards, and the company has appeared on shows such as Ellen, the TODAY Show, The View, and CNN.  

A few years ago, we were in the White House as the Small Business Champions of the Year.  We’ve been on the INC 500 list twice.  And last year we won the bid to serve the U.S. Department of defence.  We’ve be able to form, define and lead the in-home care industry, and there’s no limit to where Sittercity can go!

The Lesson: Only your customer can tell you what they will use and buy!

The Young Entrepreneur Council was founded by Scott Gerber, a serial entrepreneur, internationally syndicated small business columnist and author of the book, Never Get a “Real” Job. The YEC’s mission is to help young people build successful businesses and overcome the devastating epidemics of youth underemployment and unemployment.

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