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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I think the NSA has a job to do and we need the NSA. But as (physicist) Robert Oppenheimer said, “When you see something that is technically sweet, you go ahead and do it and argue about what to do about it only after you’ve had your technical success. That is the way it was with the atomic bomb.”

— Phil Zimmerman, PGP inventor and Silent Circle co-founder, in an interview with Om Malik