A Granger-based startup has launched an app designed to make it easier for parents to book a babysitter. Gitta LLC was co-founded in 2019 by Mandy Kinnucan and Anna Johnson, who say they had become frustrated with the “text-and-wait” process of finding a sitter. With the help of a developer at the IDEA Center at the University of Notre Dame, the pair created the GittaSitta app, which allows users to organize, manage, and communicate with sitters on their contact list.
Kinnucan, who serves as chief executive officer, tells Inside INdiana Business they created the company with zero startup experience.
“I really find it remarkable the Indiana ecosystem, the startup ecosystem and the support that’s available there,” said Kinnucan. “We worked with the IDEA Center initially and so that was a great connection and then from there, getting connected with the gBETA folks was tremendous. It’s a pre-accelerator; it was seven weeks long [and] put us in touch with tons of mentors and investors.”
The app allows parents to rank and order the sitters in their contacts and pick a date and time during which they would need a sitter. The app then sends a text message to the sitters in order of preference. If a sitter declines the offer or does not respond in time, then the message is automatically sent to the next sitter on the list until one accepts the offer.
“We started the company in late 2019. When we realized there was no product on the market and it was an easy app solution that we could create, that’s when it all sort of came to fruition,” said Kinnucan.
GittaSitta received $20,000 in pre-seed funding through the Elevate Nexus pitch competition last December. The company then took part in the gBETA Indy spring cohort earlier this year, which focused on supporting tech and product-based startups.
In May, GittaSitta won the $25,000 Community Venture award from Startup South Bend-Elkhart and Indianapolis-based Elevate Ventures as part of the 2021 McCloskey New Venture Competition at Notre Dame.
Kinnucan says coming from outside the tech world, she and Johnson had no idea of the tech ecosystem in Indiana and its collaborative nature.
“As soon as we even just kind of scratched the surface, it’s really helped our company grow and it’s infused excitement into our company. We were excited about the solution, but to have troops rally around us and say, ‘This is a great solution and we’re going to help provide financial support and resources and give you the kind of support you need as a new entrepreneur’ has just been incredible.”
The startup has spent the last several months beta testing the app with more than 60 users. Johnson, who serves as chief operating officer, says the feedback has been critical for the app’s development.
“We went back and changed the app based on their suggestions,” said Johnson. “We didn’t really have negatives; we just had constructive feedback. It was just an eye-opening experience because we’ve never conducted a beta test either and just to know that other moms and dads feel the same way that we did where it was something that they would use and want us to keep going forward with, it was great.”
The GittaSitta app is currently available on iOS and Kinnucan says the company is currently working to bring the app to Android devices as well. Kinnucan says in the long-term they want to expand the “Gitta” model to other verticals beyond babysitting.
Kinnucan says they created the company with zero startup experience.