Erica Zidel is the Founder and CEO of SittingAround, a company that is revolutionizing the way Americans consume childcare and improving lives of families across the country. SittingAround makes it easy to find and coordinate high-quality care through babysitting cooperatives (coops), groups of families in a community who trade care with each other, taking turns watching the kids.
Erica is a native of the east coast, but moved to Seattle where she first heard of the concept of a babysitting coop after expressing frustrations with childcare to friends. She and her partner, Ted Tieken, “saw an opportunity to simplify and automate the process of creating and running a babysitting co-op,” which entails a complicated system of keeping track of members and points. That was back in 2008; when you speak with Erica you know that Sittingaround.com is a labor of love that has been a long time coming. You can’t help but admire her dedication and drive in making this company a success. For her it’s not just about being a successful entrepreneur, but helping solve a problem that many mothers like herself face today: finding quality childcare that is affordable and accessible.
While babysitting coops are a wonderful way to save money ($500 per year for the average family), their greatest benefit is in strengthening community, leading to stronger support networks for parents and happier, healthier children. In a world where relatives are more geographically dispersed than ever, coops function like large extended families, providing the support that parents today need, yet so often lack.
Since launching SittingAround to the public in May, Erica has grown membership to nearly 1,000 families across 50 states. SittingAround has been identified as a high-impact company and is a finalist in the 2011 MassChallenge Accelerator program. It’s because of this competition that Seattle is missing one of it’s brightest budding entrepreneur stars. Erica and Ted are currently in Boston competing for funding while receiving mentorship, office space, and connections.
Additionally, Erica and SittingAround have received coverage in Real Simple magazine, the New York Times, and CBS MoneyWatch. To top off the buzz around her company, Erica was recently highlighted as a Champion of Change by the White House. Read her blog on the White House website and watch the video of the panel discussion.
As both a mother and a startup founder, Erica is passionate about improving the business climate for parent entrepreneurs in the United States. Prior to founding SittingAround, Erica worked as a management consultant advising Fortune 500 companies on eCommerce and business strategy. Erica holds a B.A. in English from Harvard.
Young Female Entrepreneurs wishes Erica Zidel and the team at Sittingaround.com the best of luck competing in MassChallenge and look forward to hearing the results in October. Congrats on your continued success Erica!