The search for good, reliable child care, as any working parent will tell you, nearly always requires diligent research, word-of-mouth referrals and just plain luck.
Sheila Marcelo believed that technology could improve the experience, so in 2006 she started Care.com. The company is an online marketplace for finding and managing family care, including care for children, aging parents and pets, as well as housekeeping services. Over the past five years, Care.com has grown from 500,000 members to 9.7 million members worldwide: 5.2 million families and 4.5 million caregivers.
For fiscal year 2013 the company generated revenue of $81.5 million, a 68 percent increase over the year before. And in January it raised $91 million in an initial public offering. Much of that money, said Marcelo, will be used to fund expansion into international markets, mergers and acquisitions, and building awareness of the company's services.
Similar to the experience of many entrepreneurs, the idea for Care.com was born from Marcelo's personal life. In the early 2000s, while working at Upromise, an online network that allows families to save for college, she needed to find care for her infant son and ailing father. The dilemma was especially acute, since Marcelo's parents were helping to care for her son. "Here I was, working at a technology company, but I was using the yellow pages to find care for my dad," she explained. "I knew there had to be a better way."