Once upon a time there was a mum of two small children, called Laura, who was a bit fed up of spending quite a lot of money on babysitters, especially when sometimes she just wanted to pop out for a quick drink or to a local restaurant rather than have a big night out, but the cost of the babysitter made it hard to justify. Her children also had an annoying habit of crying so much when she left them with a babysitter that she spent most of the evening feeling guilty anyway, so it wasn’t exactly quality time.
One day some of her friends suggested they set up a babysitting circle. They made little laminated tokens to exchange for babysitting instead of money. It worked quite well at first – they all felt glowy and happy about helping each other out and having a bit of a social life, and Laura’s children were much happier being looked after by people they knew.……but then they all lost their tokens and no one had a clue how many they should have had.
Laura said ‘it’s ok, there must be an app that can do all the admin for us, keep track of our tokens and make it easy to request and accept sits.’ Except there wasn’t. So Laura decided to create one.
Laura had never created an app before, but she very naively thought it couldn’t be that hard so she did some research, found a developer and nine months later Sitster was born. She nurtured it like it was her third baby. She wanted lots of other parents to know about it so that they too could enjoy the benefits of creating a ‘village’ with local parents and helping each other out. And although she was already working long hours in a big job and had absolutely no spare time, she worked really hard to promote it and improve it.
Over the next few years, thousands of parents learned about Sitster and many of them sent Laura lovely feedback about what a positive impact Sitster had had on their lives; they’d re-connected with their partners, developed stronger friendships and saved loads of money.
The trouble was that maintaining and promoting an app is very expensive and time consuming. Laura really, really wanted Sitster to be a success but she was starting to lose sleep about not having enough time or resources to keep it going, especially as she’d had to increase her hours at work because her big job had got even bigger.
After a particularly busy and stressful few months Laura was lying awake one night and realised she couldn’t do it anymore, but she was worried about letting down the Sitsterhood; all those thousands of parents who were using the app.
Then one day, a fairy godmother appeared in the form of Erin Beck, founder and CEO of Wana Family Network in the USA. Wana had recently acquired a US babysitting circle app, called Komae and when Laura read about what had motivated Komae’s founders, Amy and Audrey, to sell their app to Wana it really struck a chord with her. Laura called Erin and knew instantly that Wana would make the perfect adoptive family for Sitster and that the Sitsterhood would be well looked after in Wana’s care.
And so, on a beautiful wintry Saturday in December, Erin and Amy came to London for the official handover of Sitster to the Wana Family and agreed that for now nothing about Sitster would change, but that when the time was right the parents in the Sitsterhood would be invited to migrate to the Komae app, where they would continue to enjoy free babysitting from their trusted friends as well as loads of other great features and benefits.
That night Laura reflected on how incredibly grateful she was for all the support she’d had over the past few years from friends, family and Sitster users…..and she had the best night’s sleep she’d had in bloomin’ ages.