When parents need a reliable babysitter last minute, you can always turn to Charlotte van der Straten and Xander Koenen. Together, they run the company Charly Cares, which was founded with the idea that flexible childcare could be better arranged.
‘Traditional childcare and the babysitting market were both ready for innovation. The platform offers a suitable match based on personal preferences, where supply and demand are transparent and the quality of the services is better visible.’
The scale-up allows for extensive screening of the babysitters it uses. Because parents can rate the babysitters (and vice versa), it becomes paramount for the babysitters to deliver quality. Charly Cares no longer just arranges babysitting, but also offers babysitters who can help out with matters such as homework assistance, cooking, or light household chores. Van der Straten is currently already deriving half of the platform's turnover from these new additions.
Booking a babysitter
Van der Straten says the platform distinguishes itself through technical innovation, high quality and service, and the continuous addition of new services, such as a business variant and the aforementioned extra tasks babysitters can offer. ‘In collaboration with ABN AMRO, we have enabled direct payment of the platform employees: after babysitting, earnings will be deposited into the babysitter's bank account directly.’
Due to corona, the introduction of Charly Cares Business has recently been accelerated. ‘With it, we support employers who want to reimburse (most of) the costs of a fixed babysitter. The target group consists of people working from home, but also of parents in a crucial profession to whom childcare is essential, especially now.’ The OLVG hospital is one of the first organisations who have chosen Charly Cares Business for their employees.
The business model already earned Charly Cares the status of Startup van de Week in 2016. The company allows parents to pay in roughly two different ways: through a subscription or per booking. Currently, 50 percent of the requests consist of fixed babysitting services for a longer period of time, for example for those after-school hours. There is definitely some hype surrounding Charly Cares: the company raised nearly 600k worth of growth money during a crowdfunding campaign, which would allow it to expand to London. However, this ultimately did not happen, says Van der Straten. She explains she has now completed several funding rounds and spent the money on expanding to 57 locations within the Netherlands. Duly noted!
Van der Straten is the face of Charly Cares. During her student days, she founded the predecessor of Charly Cares. At the time, she was working in the south of Amsterdam. ‘I saw a real need there and also how stressful finding a reliable babysitter could be.’ In 2016, Charly Cares was the only major online platform for finding screened babysitters. Van der Straten is currently experiencing increased competition from the ladies of Nanny Nina, formerly Oppas Madelief.
Charly Cares is definitely expanding considerably. The company started out in cities in the Randstad, but the platform is now active in sixty Dutch cities. At the beginning of the year, the company announced that it would expand its working area to Het Gooi. Even before the announcement, over 250 parents had signed up for the service there. ‘Het Gooi is not the only region in the Netherlands where parents had already registered while we were not yet available there’, says Van der Straten. ‘This is the case in many places across the Netherlands: a confirmation that Charly Cares is being noticed and that the need for our babysitting service is high.’
So, Het Gooi, and who knows where it will end. It is certain, however, that Van der Straten has thoroughly disrupted the traditional babysitting mode. No longer do parents have to knock on the door of the neighbour's 15-year-old daughter if they want to go out for a night. This very rough way of doing things has transformed into a handy market model. And corona? ‘It has certainly changed babysitting needs: previously the peak was on Friday and Saturday evenings, but now babysitting services are spread across afternoons during the week. Currently, 44 percent of parents book a babysitter when they work from home.’