Diversity Woman Magazine

SUM 2017

Leadership and Executive Development for women of all races, cultures and backgrounds

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d i v e r s i t y w o m a n . c o m S u m m e r 2 0 1 7 D I V E R S I T Y W O M A N 21 We Mean Business > The start-up veteran made life easier for moms when she launched a company while taking time off to be with her children By Katr ina Brown Hunt I n 2011, Lynn Perkins took a break from the tech world to spend qual- ity time with her small kids. In doing so, she came up with her next start-up idea—and got a unique insight into her future customer base. "I had connected with the mom community," says the Bay the United States, with a field of 150,000 sitters and nannies. e company has benefited not only from Perkins's connection to mom groups, but also from her background in start-ups, like the fashion site she found- ed, Xuny, as well as her stint as director of real estate development for Joie de Vivre. Diversity Woman spoke with her about the wisdom she's gained from both big and small companies—from how to shop for real estate to the upside of be- ing fired. Diversity Woman: What made you think UrbanSitter would work? Lynn Perkins: I've always loved to match- make—spouses, jobs—so I had become this nanny-babysitter matchmaker for my mom friends. I knew my next thing would be in tech, where we were seeing more peer-to peer transactions, like Air- bnb, and tech companies using custom- ers' social media profiles. If there was ever a marketplace ripe for using this kind of innovation, this was it. I ran the idea by a few programmers, and one dad said, "Sure, I can do this." DW: What were the challenges in launching the business? LP: I was starting the company at a dif- ferent point in my life, when I had two young kids, so it was both crazy and ex- hilarating at the same time. And in the beginning, pitching UrbanSitter was tough because the investors were typi- cally men, and they were more removed from their child-care solutions—making those decisions often falls to women. It's tougher to pitch to an audience that doesn't use your product. LYNN PERKINS The Mommy Entrepreneur Area–based CEO of UrbanSitter. "ese mom groups had these online lists, look- ing for sitters or nannies. I found it fas- cinating that people would take advice from the people in this group—that they felt less guilty leaving their kids if they had some connection to that sitter." Not long after that, UrbanSitter.com was born, a website where members ac- cess child-care referrals through common connections and groups—schools, play- groups, swimming programs, and more. (Sitters, meanwhile, are vetted with mul- tiple levels of background checks, includ- ing social media use.) Today UrbanSitter. com is available in more than 60 cities in CEO Woman

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