As part of our ongoing series, we seek out and interview the founders of interesting Czech Startups. If you’d like your Startup to be reviewed on this blog, send me an email to “Lloyd” at the domain: startupyard, then add “dot com.”
Hlidacky, a StartupYard alum from 2012, is a service for finding verified local babysitters. The platform has also added cleaning to its list of services, and currently boasts nearly 6000 verified private contractors in the Czech Republic, and has been profiled on the popular tech blog CzechCrunch (link in Czech).
I caught up with Petr Sigut, one of Hlidacky’s co-founders, who runs
Hi Petr, tell us a little bit about Hlidacky. What is it for?
Hlidacky is an online babysitting and cleaning service, where we connect people with babysitters and cleaning ladies.
How did Hlidacky end up at StartupYard?
We wanted to get as much as possible into startup ecosystem and get some real feedback. Seed money was also a motivation, because it enabled us to focus solely on Hlidacky for 6 months.
What were some of the challenges you faced in getting funding? How did you eventually get funded?
Since we are on Czech and Slovak markets only, our pool of investors is limited to these countries.
Also, it is extremely time-consuming – it takes one founder dedicated totally to this – calling investors, explaining the product, tuning the presentation, the pitch; leaving less time for growth and product.
So we’ve ended-up financing it with our own money for now.
How has the platform developed since you left StartupYard?
The most important thing was that we switched to a paid model of our service. To our customers the trust and reliability of babysitters is more important than a feature list, so that was our main focus. The other thing was to make communication faster, so we can help people who need babysitters and cleaners as soon as possible.
I think the main advantage [of StartupYard] was that the iterations were much faster – which is what matter the most at the end. Without StartupYard, it would have taken us much much longer and maybe our energy would’ve been drained by that time.
What are some of the challenges you’ve faced in converting independent workers to your platform?
We need to put babysitters through as many verifications as possible, and yet have to keep the onboarding process simple at the same time. Right now, we approve about 40% of babysitters that sign up to our platform. We are fine with that number, and in the future we want to be even more strict. This month we launch a first aid course in cooperation with Regional Red Cross Society Prague 1 for babysitters, so babysitters will be listed much higher after having the course.
How have you seen the Czech technology ecosystem change in the past few years? What do you think still needs improvement?
I think Czech Republic was always strong in technology startups, because we have lots of great (and free) universities. Also, Czech Republic is not and never will be the US in terms of market size. You have to do sales there and technology development here.
Is there anything that The Czech Republic can do to improve its global reach?
We just need to work harder!
What’s the future for Hlidacky? What else have you been working on?
We launched the beta hlidacky.sk a month ago and now we are working on an iPhone application. The main focus is on quality of babysitters. We want to focus on that and add first-aid courses and mandatory verification.
With Hlidacky co-founder David we also started the development company PrimeHammer because many startups with less-technological knowledge are asking to help them with development.