Sittercity is a platform that connects parents with babysitters and has been around since 2001. It is well versed with the problems faced by parents and to solve all these problems, Sittercity came out with Chime, an on-demand babysitter service app in the year 2014. Children are one of the most important things for parents and they want a trusted professional babysitter whenever they have to leave their kids on their own due to some work. Babysitters are required at such times who can take care of your little one. But it is never easy to find a babysitter for your little ones due to many reasons. It can be too expensive, it is difficult to trust someone with your little one, and sometimes it is just impossible to find a babysitter on short notice. This is where Chime comes in to help parents in need. Here are some facts about Chime and its interesting startup story.
Startup Vertical: On-Demand babysitter service.
SitterCity Founded in 2001
Chime App Founded in 2014
Founder: Genevieve Thiers.
Cities Present In: Boston, Chicago, New York City, Washington D.C.
We had a conversation with the Chime team about this amazing idea and here’s all that they said.
Q) Starting an on-demand babysitter service is definitely a great idea. Tell us a little about Chime and your personal motivation for starting this service?
Sittercity was founded in 2001 by Genevieve Thiers while she was attending college in Boston. We have grown to almost 6 million members with sitters in every city across the country and an average of 3,000 new sitters joining daily.
In August 2014, Sittercity branched out into the world of on-demand babysitting and launched the new service we now call Chime in Chicago. At Sittercity we saw first-hand the demand among busy parents for an easier way to find great sitters without having to do all the heavy lifting involved in interviewing, vetting, and setting dates and times.
Over the last year, we have worked to develop a product that allows parents to seamlessly find, book, and pay a sitter who is expert-vetted, parent-reviewed, and guaranteed to be available. No more worrying that you won’t be able to find someone when a last-minute need comes up. And no more time-consuming calls to family, friends, and every sitter you have ever used asking for help.
Q) Can you give us a rundown of how it works?
Just go to hellochime.com or download the iOS app and tell us where and when you need a babysitter.
- We’ll show you three top-rated sitters who are available.
- Browse their profiles, watch videos and read parent reviews.
- Book the right sitter for your family in just a few taps.
- Payment is processed after you come home.
- And next time you need a sitter, Chime makes it easy to rebook your favorites
Q) What is the value proposition you are offering to the customers?
Chime makes it possible for parents to instantly find, book, and pay the best sitters in their neighborhood. Sitters are expert-screened and reviewed and rated by other parents in their community.
Q) You are present in many states across the US. What is your strategy while launching services in new regions?
We have launched Chime in four cities to begin with: Boston, Chicago, New York, and Washington DC. We will be expanding to more cities in the near future—and in the meantime, our parent company offers access to millions of sitters in all US cities via Sittercity.com.
Q) Could you shed some light on the technology and tools used to build Chime?
For the iOS app, we use Apple’s standard tooling, Xcode, and code is written in Swift. The web app is built in Ruby on Rails, and the platform is a mixture of Ruby and Go Lang.
Q) What is one particular Marketing Tool or process which you swear by, that has helped you gain more users on the service?
Chime has grown immensely through word-of-mouth, local parent influencer groups, and community bloggers. It’s already clear that the best endorsement of our product comes from a mom or dad who has had a great experience with Chime suggesting it to their friends or family.
Q) There are definitely a lot of companies similar to Chime floating around right now. What are you doing that differentiates you?
Our goal is to build the best service from beginning to end, including both the technology and the human experience. We feel we already have a strong advantage in the level of curation and screening that we provide—this gives our parents greater confidence that they and their kids will love Chime sitters.
Q) What is your onboarding process for babysitters, if any? Are they on a contractual basis or full-time basis?
Chime sitters are not employees of Sittercity. They are paid directly by the parent, and we facilitate that payment. Sitters are able to work as much or as little as they choose.
Although Sittercity does not employ Chime sitters, we do follow a rigorous vetting process. This includes an in-person meeting with a member of our staff, video profile creation, an enhanced background check, identity verification and a social media screening.
Q) What is Chime’s biggest achievement to date? How did you go about accomplishing this?
We spent almost a year beta-testing and proving out the concept and service in Chicago and New York, and seeing parents begin to use and rely on Chime has been an incredibly rewarding experience. We know that we have something special that really fills a gap for parents and are now thrilled to be aggressively rolling it out in more cities.
We also recently launched our iOS app in the Apple Store and it’s already accelerating the adoption of Chime among both existing and new parents.
Q) Where do you see Chime in five years?
The simple answer is more cities, more users, and more features that make the sitting experience better. But the real answer is that we see Chime becoming a ubiquitous tool that allows parents to make time whenever they need it—for the things they need to do and the things that make them happy.
Q) Any advice for startups trying to make it big or join the On-Demand space?
We feel our success will be driven by our ability to focus on creating a childcare experience that is truly light years better for both parents and for sitters at every step. Everything else follows from that simple goal.
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