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Deal Radar 2008: Care.com

Posted on Tuesday, Jul 29th 2008

Care.com is described as a “Family 2.0″ company that helps users find caregivers for children, pets and the elderly. It was founded in 2006 as a result of owner and CEO Sheila Lirio Marcelo’s personal struggle to find quality care providers. Before starting Care.com, Marcelo was part of several Internet ventures like TheLadders.com and Upromise.com.

Launched in 2007, Care.com caters to all care needs that a family might have—from babysitting to daycare, from tutoring to care for the elderly. Users can find qualified caregivers from a network of trusted providers. The company hand-reviews every provider profile on its site and performs free background checks to verify criminal records and sex offender registries.

Moreover, all service provider listings at Care.com are archived if caregivers don’t sign into their account every 30 days. In April 2008, Care.com announced the launch of a new way to check references of care givers. Caregivers can now submit references who can participate in voluntary recorded phone interviews. The interview, which enlist the experiences and skills of the caregiver, can be reviewed by the families.

While care providers can join for free, families and individuals have a number of payment options to choose from. There is also a free membership option with limited access to profiles for individuals and families. Those who opt for the premium payment option can choose to pay $25 for one month, $45 for three months or $120 for the whole year. The paid membership offers the same features for all plans: unlimited access and free background checks. The only thing that varies is the duration of the plan. All subscriptions are automatically renewed until they are canceled and all premium members pay a one-time registration fee of $15.

In 2007, the company launched its day care and senior care directories and signed on its first affiliate, Upromise. Under the affiliate program, affiliates earn commission for referring parents and families to Care.com. Care.com will pay $30 to every new premium member that joins via Upromise. Care.com hired DoubleClick Performics to manage its online affiliate program.

Also in 2007, the company announced the addition of Brian Swette to the board of directors. Swette was the chief 0perating officer of eBay and chief marketing officer for the Pepsi-Cola Co. and is expected to play an important role in shaping Care.com’s corporate strategy.

In March 2008, Care.com expanded its services to include housekeeping. Users can use the service to find cleaning services, housekeepers or maids. The company also launched a pet guide in February 2008 with breed-specific resources to provide insightful views on ownership and the needs of each breed.

When the site was launched in 2007, Sheila Marcelo received $3.5 million from Matrix Partners and Trinity Ventures. According to Quantcast, Care.com now attracts over 390,000 US monthly uniques.

The site initially demanded a fee of $10 per month for background checks but now asks for more than twice that amount.

Looks like a useful service, built with a reasonably small amount of money.

This segment is a part in the series : Deal Radar 2008


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