by Frederick Daso
Recent demographic changes in Latin American countries have resulted in more women entering the workforce. As more Latin American households have both parents working, child and eldercare has increased in demand. An MIT MBA and Andrés Bello National University graduate have created an online platform to help families find trusted, qualified caretakers immediately.
Dan Stern, 28, and Teresa del Sante, 34, came together to start Alba, the online platform built to helping families in Latin America retain the perfect babysitters on time through a simple, technology-driven process. Stern, an MIT MBA hailing from Chile, brings his technical and management expertise to establish a streamlined process for matching families with babysitters. Del Sante, a graduate of the Universidad Nacional Andres Bello and a mother herself, has intimate cultural knowledge of the caretaking ecosystem in Chile, and extensive marketing and business development skills needed to address mothers’ concerns and establish fruitful relationships with babysitters who use their platform.
Over the past fifteen years, more women in these countries have joined the workforce, reducing the supply of babysitters. Also, with caretaking seen as low-skill labor, current babysitters would work outside of their immediate role to increase their skills to obtain a middle-class job, further dwindling the number of available caretakers.
In Latin American countries, finding a babysitter for your child or caretaker for an elderly parent is a human-driven, complicated process. A typical family of four may have both the mother and father working full-time, which creates a need for someone to look over their loved ones while the parents are away. Usually, the mother would reach out to her immediate network to find a suitable babysitter for her children.
She generally has three options. The first option is finding a good babysitter based on the personal recommendation of other mothers. The second option is that the mother asks an immediate or distant family member to take care of her children temporarily. The third option is the most complex and unclear. The mother, still in need of a caretaker, calls a ‘mom,’ or babysitter agency operator. The mother requests a sitter. The babysitter operator flips through her Rolodex (either a WhatsApp contact list or names scrawled on a piece of notebook paper), and responds anywhere from two to twenty-four hours later with information about the next available sitter. The sitter receives the address of the requesting mother, who then meets with her and the family for roughly ten minutes.