Helping organizations to make more parent-friendly events, and enabling parents in Ottawa to take opportunities like never before, whether that is at an event or on a date!
Our story goes all the way back to 2016, when we were in grade 10. We were both selected by our teachers to participate in the Technovation Challenge, a program to get high school girls into entrepreneurship and technology.
We were randomly placed into groups of five, and were asked to think of a problem in our community, and build an app and business idea to solve it. This was challenging, as none of us knew each other other than having a few classes together! We came up with the concept for SitterNextDoor, called ConnectSitter at the time.
Some of our team members had previous company experience with the Junior Achievement program, where students created and ran businesses. This is where we had learned how all the moving pieces worked to create a machine of a company. We also learned our strengths, weaknesses, and things we enjoyed. We used this experience to divide up the tasks in our business to make use of everyone’s strengths.
After lots of meetings, and admittedly a few late nights, we were left with 3 things: a business plan, a working mobile app, and new best friends! We pitched the business at the Ottawa Technovation competition in Ottawa, and were super excited that we won!
BIG THANK YOU goes out to our amazing mentor who helped us tremendously over the course of Technovation, Palvashah! She helped us break the ice, gave great advice, always encouraged us, reminded us “Si Se Puede!” which translates to “Yes We Can!”, and taught us the Superman Pose to make us confident before we pitched, which we still use to this day :)
With our win, we were featured in the Ottawa Business Journal. With all the positive feedback we got from our friends, who are our ideal babysitters, and parents from the community who said they needed a business like ours, we decided to keep pursuing our idea. We were the youngest group accepted to the Carleton University accelerator for ventures.
After the competition was over, we worked to refine our business plan, and worked with a mentor to create our website and prepare for launch. We launched SitterNextDoor in May 2018 at the Great Glebe Garage Sale, where we spoke with as many people as we could and handed out flyers! Despite the rain, it was one of the most memorable days we had as a team! That day, we got our first booking!
You may recognize us from media outlets, like the Ottawa Business Journal, Ottawa Citizen, CTV, CFRA (we will upload video to youtube), and more. We also had the opportunity to pitch at the L Spark SaaS Showcase, and we even got to pitch to the Dragons from Dragon’s Den at an event!
Where we are now
This year, we are both at universities in Ottawa studying computer science. We have been working out of the Entrepreneurship Hub at the University of Ottawa, and this summer we are in the Startup Garage program.
We are so happy to announce that we recently started offering pop-up childcare services at events! We had a great time working with Impact Hub Ottawa to organize and execute our pop-up childcare.
Meet the Team
Hi! I’m Andrea, and I’m a second year computer science student. My roles in SitterNextDoor are in business development and marketing. I have a background in science, business, and technology. I first found my passion for entrepreneurship doing Junior Achievement, where I got my first business experience through various roles I held in two companies run by students at my school. I also have a passion for molecular biology and genetics. I was lucky to have such a great experience working in a rare genetic disease research lab in high school, where I did lots of work with DNA sequencing.
Hi! I'm Jenny and I am also a second year computer science student I always had a passion towards the world of technology, and from a young age, I wanted to make an impact. Luckily, I had many opportunities to do so. I was a volunteer at a tech camp on our inspiring the younger generation to see how technology is so important and its impact on our everyday lives. And currently, I am an intern at Shopify making the world of commerce better for everyone while trying to make it easier for parents to obtain childcare with SitterNextDoor.