The Sitter app helps parents use their social networks to find baby sitters, who can be paid through the app. Courtesy Sitter Inc.

Sitter Inc. raising seed round to expand reach of baby-sitter-finding app

BOULDER — Startup Sitter Inc., is aiming to raise an $850,000 seed round of funding to expand the reach of its “Uber-meets-LinkedIn” platform for finding baby sitters.

The Boulder-based company disclosed in a regulatory filing last week that it has so far raised $140,000 in the round.

Co-founder and CEO Kristen Stiles said the funding will be used to grow the company’s team from its current size of three employees to seven within the next 12 months. The free Sitter app is already available nationwide, but Stiles said the company will be zeroing in on additional local markets with the new cash.

“We kind of exploded in the last month and a half or so,” Stiles said.

The Sitter app aims to make finding baby sitters easier for parents by using the power of their social networks. If one parent has three trusted baby sitters and a friend has three more, they can connect and share those six in their own private circle. When a need for a sitter arises, the parent posts the date and time to the app and all six sitters are notified, with the first to respond getting the gig.

Baby sitters set their rates, though those can be negotiable. Sitter Inc. collects a 4 percent fee on each payment made through the app. Parents are not required to pay through the app, however.

“Most people love the payment feature when they use it because it’s so easy,” Stiles said.

Stiles said the average response time for jobs to be accepted on the app is down to about four minutes, with sitters who miss out getting sent notifications that they need to respond faster next time.

The app is geared toward those seeking occasional sitters, not long-term care. In that respect, Stiles said her app has the advantage over sites like SitterCity and UrbanSitter because new sitters don’t have to be vetted before being hired assuming people add only sitters from trusted friends into their networks.

Stiles, who founded Sitter along with Matt Stueve last year, declined to disclose revenue.

Stiles is a software developer whose background includes experience at Hewlett-Packard as well as in the business side of companies like Convergys and Vail Resorts. She met Stueve, while the pair worked at Vail Resorts, with Stueve leaving his most recent gig with Inspirato to help found Sitter. One more employee has been added since.