Sheila Lirio Marcelo, born and raised in the Philippines, is one of the most powerful women entrepreneurs today, according to Forbes Magazine.
Marcelo started Care.com http://www.care.com, which has grown to become one of the largest online marketplaces for caregivers. Care.com’s subscription services matches a national network of caregivers — including babysitters, pet sitters, special needs caregivers, tutors and senior home care providers — with the families who need them.
Marcelo founded Care.com in 2006 in response to a need that many families experience – looking for quality care providers in a moment’s notice. A working mom, Marcelo and her husband found themselves in need of additional help to care for their two sons and two dogs when her father went through quadruple bypass surgery.
Marcelo understood that her need is not unique, and that other families out there are faced with the question of where and how to find quality care for various needs. She realized that no single online site existed for addressing the various care needs of families. She decided to launch Care.com, where various care needs of families can be addressed, whether it is for their children, their aging parents and seniors, or even pets. Her site also offers care options for special needs children, whose physical and mental challenges make it more difficult to find caregivers who can provide them with the quality of care that they need.
Marcelo brought with her knowledge and years of experience, which includes stints as vice president of product management and marketing at Upromise; vice president and general manager of TheLadders.com; and entrepreneur-in-residence in the Boston office of Matrix Partners. She has always been in pursuit of excellence, having graduated magna cum laude from Mount Holyoke College with an Economics major. She then went on to pursue dual degrees from Harvard Business School and Harvard Law School, graduating with honors and receiving prestigious awards in the process.
Marcelo realized that one of the big hurdles of Care.com is trust. Finding an outsider to care for family members is a big test in trust. They ask questions such as: “How can I trust a stranger? How will I know they’re safe? And beyond that, how would I even go about finding a caregiver or babysitter?” To address these questions, Marcelo made sure that Care.com offers free background checks for its members. In addition, Care.com encourages its care providers to include photos, videos, and references to help reassure families looking for their services. Marcelo made it her site’s objective to provide a simple and safe way for families and individuals to get the care that they need.
With Marcelo at the helm as CEO, Care.com now has more than 800,000 active members with more than 1.4 million unique visitors each month. She has proven that the best business ideas come from identifying and fulfilling needs that a lot of people experience in their daily lives.