Ever had trouble finding a quality babysitter on short notice? Join the club, says Annie Randle, a senior at Sacramento’s St. Francis High School. She doesn’t have any children herself, but she says her parents told her how hard it was to find a nanny they could trust when she was a child.
College kids weren’t always available. They would move away or get jobs with conflicting schedules. As she grew older, Annie started babysitting for her neighbors and family friends, but still saw other parents struggling to find reliable sitters. It was out of this experience that NannyMe was born.
NannyMe is a business and mobile application she created with brother Jake, a Jesuit High School junior, and his friend Christian Burnham, a senior. Similar to the rideshare app Uber, NannyMe receives babysitting requests, then pings nannies (local high school students), who can accept or decline the job. Parents pay via PayPal or credit card by clicking a button at the end of the night. Since NannyMe launched in December, about 75 families have signed up with the service.
The team has trained and hired 30 babysitters so far, and they interview each family who wants to join the network. Annie, NannyMe’s CEO, attributes her entrepreneurial spirit to her father. He started his own PR company and inspired her and her brother’s business dreams.
“The biggest thing for us was we wanted to fill a need,” she says,” and make people’s lives easier.”
But the road from idea to full-blown business wasn’t as easy as they thought it would be. It began last summer with their initial concept when the team held focus groups with local moms.
“High school students aren’t aware of what parents are searching for,” she says. “We didn’t want to assume what they wanted.”
One of the key takeaways? Price. The moms felt the team’s original rates were too high. Annie says they adjusted accordingly, settling on rates that start at $12/hour for one child. But the team realized they needed money to cover costs, such as in-home childcare insurance, legal fees, not to mention app development.
To raise funds, they presented the business plan to investors around Sacramento. A few declined, but the team raised $20,000, most of which went toward developing the app and website.
“We were a little naive in the beginning, thinking we could develop the app ourselves,” she says. “We said, ‘We won’t even have to pay anyone, we got this!’ But the idea was too complicated to do ourselves.”
The team interviewed with six different development companies and individuals. Ultimately, they chose Microsan Consultancy Services in Rocklin. The app development process included outlining, storyboarding, organizing the pages and the buttons that linked to the pages. They worked with the developer all last summer to craft the vision they wanted. After this summer, Jake will take over as CEO when Annie leaves for college. With this experience, she is now considering business or entrepreneurship as a major, and plans to expand NannyMe into her college town.
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