Written by Andrew Seale
When Taric Andrade told people he was relocating his babysitter-on-demand app, ClickSitter, from Sao Paolo, Brazil to Toronto, they were confused.
“Everyone was like why Canada? Why not Silicon Valley or New York?” recalls Andrade, who co-founded the app with his wife Luciana Pereira. “People don't have any idea what’s going on here – the potential to grow, all the investment the government is doing… they don't see that in Brazil right now.”
But Andrade and Pereira – who had spent years in the corporate world with multinationals like PepsiCo and Unilever – knew something special was happening in Toronto.
“We don’t have this in South America, not like this here,” says Andrade.
The concept for ClickSitter came up during a one-year sabbatical in 2015. The pair, who had a five-year-old and a two-year-old at the time, wanted to go see a movie but couldn’t find a baby sitter to look after the kids for a few hours.
“We don’t have this kind of job in Brazil,” explains Andrade. “We only have the nanny, the person you hire to stay in your home, sometimes forever.”
In January 2016, they launched the app in Brazil under the Click Babá moniker. The idea is simple, log on to the app and request a babysitter in your neighbourhood. On the back-end, the company conducts a rigorous background check, a series of psychological tests and trains sitters how to price their services. Like Uber or Airbnb, both users and sitters can review their experience with one-another.
The app has taken off.
“We are growing 20 per cent every single month in Brazil,” says Andrade.
But they wanted to relocate their headquarters to a more developed tech ecosystem, somewhere they could test out the concept amongst a diverse community. Toronto seemed like an easy fit given Andrade and Pereira had initially met in Canada 15 years prior so they changed the name to ClickSitter and moved north.
“We have a history here, we love the country, we love the culture,” says Andrade. But it was more than just nostalgia that drew them here.
“In Toronto, you have something unique, you have a lot of cultures living together,” he explains. “We built the application to be global (and) when you get that all these families working behind us on the application it’s going to be easier to go to Europe, to the U.S., to Asia… wherever we want.”
It’s only been a handful of months but Andrade still feels steadfast in his decision.
“The first month was overwhelming, there is a lot of things going on at the same time – it’s a nightmare to try to choose the better networking event or meeting,” he laments. “(But) we are talking with a lot of people, a lot of startups here, trying to develop partnerships – the ecosystem is amazing.”