Liz Gannes

Recent Posts by Liz Gannes

UrbanSitter Puts Finding a Babysitter Into Social Context

A new site called UrbanSitter promises to match parents and babysitters using friends and affiliations in common.

UrbanSitter helps parents filter potential sitters based on their availability and their experience working for Facebook friends and friends of friends; it also filters for people whose children attend their kids’ schools and do the same activities. Soon the service will enable payments and mobile booking.

UrbanSitter has been live in testing in San Francisco for the last five weeks, handling about 300 babysitting bookings so far.

Co-founder Lynn Perkins, who compared what she’s trying to do with Uber and Airbnb, said this social approach will make finding a sitter more efficient without sacrificing trust. She argued that existing babysitter-booking sites like and Sittercity take a more “Web 1.0” approach that isn’t social or real-time.

Plus, as UrbanSitter gets a higher density of users, it could open up opportunities for the holy grail of babysitting: Last-minute bookings.

The four-person UrbanSitter team — who are, of course, all parents, and come from companies like TripIt and Goodby, Silverstein — is currently raising $1 million in funding.

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Just as the atom bomb was the weapon that was supposed to render war obsolete, the Internet seems like capitalism’s ultimate feat of self-destructive genius, an economic doomsday device rendering it impossible for anyone to ever make a profit off anything again. It’s especially hopeless for those whose work is easily digitized and accessed free of charge.

— Author Tim Kreider on not getting paid for one’s work