Business Profiles FS/Care Booker
Information: CareBooker Website About Page
How it Started:
The site was founded by Jenna Dreher Fernandes who continuously had difficulty booking a pet sitter for her dog. In this, she saw the market for an all-in-one site that could potentially serve the needs of the whole family (child care, tutoring, senior care, home cleaning, etc). Before beginning this venture, Jenna had previously served as consultant at Deloitte. When she was a student, she had been CEO and Co-President of Tufts Student Resource (source). She and her founding team implemented CareBooker.com; the first online pet care browsing platform, and soon after, they expanded the business model beyond pet sitting. Jenna's experience in business management and marketing are likely what enabled her to take CareBooker to a large scale. The number of venture capitalists and investors currently on-board at CareBooker indicates that Jenna intended to revolutionize the online booking industry. A few notable investors include the founding shareholder of Expedia, the co-founder of About.com, and the former CMO of WebMD (source). Despite the large number of angels and investors on board, the Carebooker employee list appears rather limited, with only a tech team of programmers and designers credited on the website. Jenna remains the CEO today, and has two listed advisors. (source)
The founder and CEO, Jenna Fernandes, is married to Sky Fernandes, Managing Director of Simon Venture Group and a previous venture capitalist at Centripetel Capital Partners. Sky is a staunch believer in financing for innovative startups, about which he gave the first venture capitalist TED Talk. He is also the founder of One Match Ventures, under which Carebooker.com is signed. (source) (source) (source)
While finding their inspiration in the success of such online booking sites as Expedia.com and OpenTable (the company tags itself as the "Expedia for family care"), CareBooker was able to assert itself into a gap in the industry (source). The challenge facing the company today is attracting customers in the face of competition. CareBooker is but a small endeavor when compared to such titans as Care.com and Sitter City, which have very active marketing in place. One unique offering of Carebooker is that the company does not require families to post listings for jobs that they need, but places the focus on the caregiver-client interaction. Customers may view background checks of babysitters and tutors, book interviews through the website, hire and compensate caregivers, and schedule future appointments on a regular or irregular basis. Even with this difference in business model, CareBooker is by no means revolutionary. However, it is possible for the quiet website to erupt with bright ideas compounding on their promise to take care of all family needs in one place. The company will likely remain a small, Connecticut-based corporation unless it takes some fundamental steps that will allow it to compete with its larger, more well-known competitors.