Startup Stories: SitterNote

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Heather Estenson and Erin Matzkin, founders of SitterNote

What does SitterNote do? Tell us about your entrepreneurial product or service.

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Our product is SitterNote, the mobile app for parents and babysitters. We built SitterNote to solve two everyday working mom problems: staying organized and communicating effectively with our children's caregivers. The app ensures that anyone watching the kids has all the information they need – everything from after-school activity schedules, to details on bedtime routine, to full family emergency contacts. Using the app, the caregiver can send one-touch updates, so while the parents are away, they know exactly what's going on at home: the baby just finished her bottle, and the fourth grader is done with his science project.

SitterNote also lets parents schedule babysitters, track how long a sitter has been on the job, pay via phone, and keep a payment history – solving childcare problems routinely faced by busy parents.

What inspired you to launch SitterNote?

SitterNote was created by Heather Estenson and Erin Matzkin, two long-time friends, technology attorneys, and moms with six kids between us. We've spent many hours, over many cups of coffee and glasses of wine, discussing the challenges of balancing career and family. We've found that the day-to-day logistics can be tough – making sure the nanny or babysitter has all the current information on the kids, and making sure we get the end-of-day download on what went on at home. We couldn't find an app that met our needs, so one morning over brunch we decided to build one ourselves.

What problem does SitterNote solve?

We've both been working moms for many years, and we've learned that keeping everything organized and running smoothly with our kids' caregivers can be challenging. Things change constantly – the baby drops a nap, soccer ends but basketball starts – and it's critical to keep everyone on the same page.

Our app not only ensures that caregivers have all the information they need, it also removes the friction from daily communication. SitterNote lets the babysitter access details about the kids' schedules and send one-touch updates that publish to a Facebook-type family feed, so parents know exactly what's going on at home while they're away. We speak from experience – it is easier to focus at your job effectively if you know all is well at home. Nothing makes us happier than getting the quick push notifications that school pickup is done, or that homework is done, or that the baby took a solid nap.

SitterNote also has a booking engine, so if you need a Saturday night sitter, for example, you can send one invitation to all your go-to people at once, see who's available, and book the person you want. You can track how long the sitter has been on the job, pay her from the app, and keep a payment history.

SitterNote is essentially a toolbox for parents to use with nannies and babysitters.

What has been your biggest challenge starting SitterNote and how are you working to overcome it?

Marketing! We are both technology attorneys, so the legal and technical aspects of the business are second nature to us. Marketing, however, is a different animal!

We've been attending workshops and conferences to learn more about this part of the business, and we're involved in a fantastic Facebook group called Jeneration Entrepreneurs, which is a little like PR bootcamp for startups. It's run by Jennifer Berson of Jeneration PR, who really knows marketing, and her advice has been invaluable to us. Although marketing is challenging, it's also the fun part – we both feel we've gotten an education on an entirely new subject.

Give us one word that people might use to describe you.

Brave

What milestone do you hope SitterNote will have surpassed one year from now?

Currently we're iOS only. We hope to be able to build an Android version, which will tremendously help our user base.

How has Project Eve helped you and orSitterNote?

We love Project Eve. Making a giant career shift at this point in our lives can feel terrifying, and the stories we read on Project Eve both inspire us and remind us we're not alone. The “On a Shoestring” resources are just great, too. We run pretty leanly, and we take any smart advice we can get on how to grow our business without blowing through a lot of capital.

Give us an insider tip that relates to your industry or the startup story for SitterNote

Even with an online business in an online industry, in-person networking is EVERYTHING. Go to the cocktail parties and the conferences, and meet people in real life. Connecting face-to-face will make a tremendous difference.

The 411 on SitterNote:

Company Name: SitterNote
Website: http://www.sitternote.co
SitterNote was founded in:
2014
SitterNote is located in:
Los Angeles and Atlanta
Follow SitterNote on social media here:
@sitternote
www.facebook.com/sitternote
Instagram: www.instagram.com/sitternote

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