By Julie Washington
The Plain Dealer, Cleveland
WWR Article Summary (tl;dr) Audrey Wallace and Amy Husted got the idea for their babysitting app “Komae” after belonging to a traditional babysitting co-op with 10 other friends. The group saved thousands of dollars in babysitting fees, and other parents wanted to join. With that concept in mind they simply added a little technology to the mix.
It’s expensive and time-consuming to find a babysitter for date night. So mom-entrepreneurs Audrey Wallace and Amy Husted created a business to fix that.
Their website and free app, Komae, manages a babysitting co-op among friends. Moms earn points when they watch other people’s kids, then use those points to get babysitting for date nights or other appointments. No money ever changes hands.
Since launching in 2016, Akron-based Komae has signed up nearly 9,000 participants, attracted $600,000 in funding, and won several pitch competitions. The startup also attracted $100,000 in angel investments from a local group of women investors.
In January, the startup debuted a new app design with additional features and an updated look.
Parents use Komae to get kid-free time for shopping, taking a yoga class, attending a wedding or simply taking a nap. The free app is most popular among families with pre-school kids, said Wallace, 35, of Akron.
“It’s OK to rely on your friends to get a break,” Wallace said.
She and Husted, 33, got the idea for Komae after belonging to a traditional babysitting co-op with 10 other friends. The group saved thousands of dollars in babysitting fees, and other parents wanted to join.
But the co-op’s dependence on tokens, a spreadsheet and Facebook to keep track of babysitting swaps was clunky and complicated. “We had to create a better way for people to swap sit with friends,” said Husted.