UrbanSitter, an online service for parents and sitters to connect, has raised $15 million in Series B funding led by DBL Investors with participation from Match Group, a division of IAC and newly launched VC firm Aspect Ventures, as well as existing investors Canaan Partners, First Round Capital, Menlo Ventures and Rustic Canyon Partners.
UrbanSitter harnesses the power of social recommendations in a space where a friend’s recommendation is critical—child care. UrbanSitter leverages Facebook Connect so parents can view sitters that their friends already know, trust and recommend. You sign up on the site, and connect your Facebook account, and can view sitters known through friends or affiliations—including schools, sports teams and parent groups.
Parents can view each sitter’s reviews, skills and certifications, experience, educational background, response time and the number of repeat families. Parents can also see profile pictures and video of sitters and availability, hourly rates and typical response times are also outlined. The bonus of using UrbanSitter is that it manages all the payments on both ends of the transaction.
Similar to how people use OpenTable for dinner reservations, parents can search for sitter availability by date and time and then book jobs (or interviews) in real-time. After the job is completed, parents can pay online and add reviews, ratings and Facebook Likes to sitter profiles. You can also search for sitters by various filters such as part-time, full-time, etc.
UrbanSitter is available in a dozen U.S. cities, and also offers mobile apps to allow parents to book sitters on the go.
To me, the power of UrbanSitter is taking the offline action of finding a babysitter through friends and recommendations, and bringing that online. Competitor Care.com, which has a broader goal of finding caregivers for kids, seniors and more, just went public at a valuation of well over $500 million so there is clearly a large opportunity here.