Mom Trusted, a startup describing itself as a “social marketplace for early education and care” (which for parents means it’s a killer place to find nannies, babysitters, daycare centers and preschools), has raised $1 million+ in funding. The round was led by Blumberg Capital, and saw participation from 500 Startups, Birchmere Labs, and other angels investors.
The company is tackling a problem that every new parent has at some point faced – finding good childcare. It’s also helping parents connect and communicate with each other, while providing childcare centers with tools manage their outreach efforts and communication efforts with their own community of parents.
The company, co-founded by Chaz Giles, formerly of Procter & Gamble, and Angela Conley (both parents themselves), has been flying under the radar a bit since its quiet launch in January 2011 in Cincinnati. Since then, Mom Trusted has slowly expanded to San Francisco, New York, then other states including Ohio, California, Texas, Pennsylvania, Florida, Michigan, Illinois, and Virginia.
“You become a parent, and people or society just expects that you’re imbued with all this set of knowledge, like ‘oh, I now know how to do everything!‘,” explains Giles of the challenge they’re tackling. Any new parent, of course, will tell you that’s far from being the case. (Trust me, there’s a lot of googling involved with parenting.) Giles himself faced the problem that Mom Trusted now aims to solve when he was at P&G – he couldn’t find anywhere he felt comfortable leaving his daughter during the day and simply told the company he would be working from home for a while. Of course, many of us don’t have that same option, which is why Mom Trusted makes sense.
Today, moms (and dads, despite it not being in the startup’s name!!) do web searches, they talk to friends and other parents…maybe they use a site like Care.com or something similar, if they’re looking for individualized care. But finding a good childcare center? Total crapshoot.
On Mom Trusted, parents can search for care providers, save and share the ones they find, access the business info and read the descriptions, and see other recommendations for similar centers below the one currently being viewed. While the site considered experimenting with Yelp-like user reviews, the idea was scrapped, as reviews tend to gravitate towards the negative. Instead, it wants to provide tools to connect parents with other parents for more private communication.
Today, Mom Trusted is open to all – nannies, babysitters, and centers alike – but its focus is on childcare centers. “There’s Care.com, there’s Sittercity, there’s UrbanSitter, there’s things out there that target sitters and nannies, but that’s only twenty-five percent of the market,” says Giles, explaining how Mom Trusted differentiates itself from the competition. “The rest of the market is centers. And no one has focused on solving the biggest chunk of the market because, honestly, it was the hardest to solve.”
With zero marketing, the company has now helped 300,000 parents find childcare (that’s not user registrations, however – Mom Trusted doesn’t require sign-ups. But by analyzing the actions on the site, the company could tell the difference between a parents’ search and those from others). In addition, over 5,000 childcare centers have joined, claiming or establishing their profile page. The site’s listings are currently pulled in through public data sources, mainly by keeping track of business licenses in the states Mom Trusted operates in.
Currently, Mom Trusted is still very much a work in progress. The social features which will allow parents to communicate and network with each other aren’t fully developed. Some regions have more activity than others, and some are lacking social groups, for example. There’s also much in the works on the childcare center side of things, in terms of building out freemium tools to help manage the centers’ marketing and outreach efforts as well as their communication with parents, via a dashboard-like backend. (More on that in the future). The Mom Trusted business model is also still in flux, but will either be a SaaS model and/or on a transaction basis. But, says Giles, the company has already generated over $40 million in revenue for childcare providers, a figure they’ve determined through surveying and sampling their userbase regarding conversions.
The company’s seed round was actually closed this March, but the company has kept it quiet until now. Soon, Mom Trusted will be talking more about the tools it has created for childcare centers, but in the meantime, parents can begin using the site search and social features here.