Finding Babysitters is Child’s Play With

By Toni Ellis |

For young parents, booking a babysitter through an online marketplace may not seem like the best idea – but one Berlin-based startup is creating a safe network of trusted child carers for hire. was founded in 2010 by Stefan Gärtner and Daan Löning, who told Silicon Allee how the idea behind the project came from an unexpected source.

He said: “I was throwing a birthday party, and some of my friends and colleges had trouble finding childcare. I’d never really thought about the problem because I don’t have any kids myself, but it seemed so silly to me they couldn’t come to a party simply because they couldn’t find a babysitter.” Having seen the problem of a lack of trustworthy and reliable babysitters firsthand from their friends’ struggles, Daan and Stefan began to think about creating an online solution – and that solution became

Using a similar platform to companies like AirBnB, Amazon and Etsy, provides a market place for parents and child careers including babysitters, nannies and child minders (groups described as mini-private kindergartens) to connect.

Daan added: “Our model is also our advantage against our competitors, because at the moment no one uses this kind of platform for child care.” The competition is either straight online classifieds like Gumtree or Craigslist or specialised online classified, like

In the search process, parents can specify the time, date and location, and they are able to build up a network of trusted babysitters, ensuring that a reliable sitter is available whenever required. “Its a marketplace based on trust, but we know that the safety of their children is always a parents biggest concern,” Daan said.

And trustworthy they are. In order to establish a safe marketplace, carries out a double ID check on every carer that works through the platform – one form that proves they are at least 18, which is then compared to their payment details.

“Because we pay them, we know who it is that we’re paying, so its not an easy system to cheat,” Daan said, adding that this extra sense of security has accounted for many parents returning to use the service again.

In addition to these identity checks, relies on reviews and feedback from both parents and carers. Users are also rated via an internal system, based on how responsive they are to their requests. All these ratings come together to create an overall rank, with top reviewed users receiving higher placings in search results.

There are no advertising, signup fees or corporate alliances, and sponsorships are, according to Daan, “too political” – parents tend to favour one brand over another. That means that, similarly to the likes of Etsy, makes its money from a 17 percent fee included in each babysitter’s advertised price. The fee also covers emergency babysitter services and insurance for kids during the time that the carer is with them in order to give parents extra peace of mind.

And it seems to be working. Almost all the parents that use the service more than once return as repeat users, and with plans to expand outside of Germany this year,, like the unruly children babysitters dread, are making plenty of noise.

That was certainly true at the BeMyApp Olympics in Berlin last week, where they entered the first deraft of their iPhone app. Daan added: “We thought we’d go and see what we could do; it was a whim idea. The app that we developed over the 48 hours isn’t necessarily the app that we’d develop for the company, but it was awesome to get a couple of ideas and feedback.”