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e-BabSi: Childcare made easy – Employees’ idea gets off the ground

While eating lunch together, Helvetia employees, Melanie Hara and Andrea Schöllnast had their BIG idea: an app for parents that enables them to find reputable, reliable childcare, quickly and spontaneously. Melanie tells how the Helvetia Kickbox initiative turns her ideas into a small start-up.

12 April 2018, author: Melanie Hara, photo/video: Helvetia

Following the successful decision, e-BabSi is now a small startup.

“It all began in May 2017. Andrea Schöllnast and I were having lunch together in the canteen and we found some little cards on the tables: "Kickbox – submit your business idea". Andrea already had an idea in her head, so she suggested that we should have a go. Her idea: e-BabSi, from easy BabySitter, is intended to help parents with the organisation of their childcare. The app enables parents to find available babysitters in their area quickly and at any time. Certificates, training qualifications and a personal meeting via video conference guarantee the respectability and reliability of the babysitters. Quality is ensured in the long term by a mutual assessment system and a strict authentication process. And e-BabSi also arranges everything, from the administrative work, through the checking of the babysitter and their social insurance, to liability and accident insurance.

Stage 2 of Kickbox: 20% of working hours for e-BabSi

No sooner said than done. The Helvetia Kickbox jury selected our idea as one of five employee ideas that were to be followed up. In a small pitch in August 2017, we won out against the other four ideas. We were given CHF 10,000 and 20% of our working hours to develop the business idea further. And now we’re here – at the big Helvetia Pitch Session in Zurich. It’s almost surreal. Even so, it has not always been easy getting this far. There were days when I was convinced that the jury could not possibly say no. And on other days I would have preferred to give the whole thing up, because my controller job and e-BabSi together were getting way too much for me. I didn’t want to disappoint the expectations of my boss, of Andrea and of myself. Sometimes it was a bit of a balancing act and there were one or two tears.

Helvetia Pitch Session: It's show time!

But today the predominant feeling is one of joy In front of an audience of 150 people and a six-person jury made up of directors and managers where we can present our business idea. We’re well prepared, we’ve surveyed a lot of parents in the last few months, we’ve tested hypotheses and carried out a pilot. And we’ve heard a lot of exciting stories which have confirmed for us that there is a need for e-BabSi. In spite of that, I have had butterflies in my stomach since this morning. I’m rather nervous and tense. But whenever I think of what today is all about, I simply have to smile to myself.

The event begins. Again and again I go through the presentation in my mind. We have so much to say but only ten minutes to convince the jury. Our names are called and we get started. At the end the audience claps. The audience is clapping for us, for our idea – and for all our work and our lifeblood.

And now things really get started!

In the next few days we just have to wait. How will the jury decide? Will we be promised funding and will we be able to make the lives of many parents a little easier with e-BabSi? Finally, the liberating call from Daniela Maag, Head of Corporate Incubation at Helvetia: She congratulates us on the jury’s positive decision about funding for our idea. We are now a small start-up. First of all we drink to that. To e-BabSi and to the fact that we managed to bring our own business idea to fruition while continuing our actual jobs!”

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