Genevieve Thiers is the quintessential example of today's new- aged "mompreneur." Faced with the recurring question all college students confront "what will I do with my life?" Genevieve has now provided her own answer. As the founder of Sittercity.com, America's first and largest network to connect parents with sitters. Genevieve had humble beginnings in the her Boston College dorm room.
[Driven Episode: Multi-Million dollar business started with less than 100 dollars]
In 2001, the Sittercity.com "empire" was launched in Genevieve's breakthrough moment watching a soon-to-be mother struggle up 200 steps posting flyers to find a babysitter at her college campus. Genevieve recalls thinking "Gosh, this should be so much easier. Why can't someone just put all the caregivers in the country or the city together in one place?" And, that is exactly what Genevieve went on to do. Today, Sittercity.com has over a million registered caregivers, makes a parent/sitter match every 3 minutes, and is used by the US government and millions of eager mommies in search of that special sitter.
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Assembling all the caregivers in the country in one central location was no easy task - especially for a college student.
With a hundred dollar loan from her father Genevieve purchased the domain name and paid 2 friends a few thousand dollars to build a website. Genevieve then hit the grounds of college campuses throughout the Boston Area with 20,000 fliers. The result? More than 600 registered sitters — primarily college students — in just a few months.
Sittercity.com expanded quickly, employing more than 15 people after several years in business, but Genevieve desperately needed strong investors to take the business to the next level. "When I first pitched Sittercity to investors I was laughed out of the rooms. One guy went so far as to tell me that his wife handles that," recalls Genevieve. Adding insult to injury, Genevieve was about to face one of the most difficult times in her life. The collapse of Lehman Brothers spawned a domino effect with investors retracting across the board. "It was like garage doors slamming down, I thought I was going to lose everything. "
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But as fate would have it and armed with the motivation that babysitting is not just a "woman's problem," Genevieve rallied a team of bold investors, unafraid of recession pressures who believed in Sittercity. The investment team raised 5 million dollars - a long way from the loan Genevieve's father gave her some six years before.
Today, Genevieve is co-founding three more start-ups with emergent women leaders. She is happily married to the man of her dreams, is the new mother of a set of twin boys and continues to watch Sittercity.com prosper. "I've watched it go from hundreds of thousands, to multimillions, to tens of millions." With accolades from "INC. 500 Entrepreneurial Superstars" (2008) and Crain's Magazine "Top 40 under 40" (2007), Genevieve makes it her mission to empower women and "mompreneurs" around the country with her example: "if you are thinking of starting a company, I want you to know it's possible."
Video produced by Scott Fraser and Jessica Ashford. Production by Michael Manas, Josh Kesner, David Pierro, and Karyn Ashby. Edited by Gabe Tanenhaus. Graphics by Todd Tanner For Yahoo! Studios. Executive Producers: Russ Torres and Peter Gorenstein.
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