In a seminar called “InnovAction Lab” (www.innovactionlab.org) , three Italian girls – Monica, Giulia and Valentina met each other. They worked together on the start-up project of the course. Inspired by their own experience and ambition to make something big, they decided to turn their idea into a real business. With the help of “Luiss Enlabs” start-ups incubator (www.luissenlabs.com), they launched Le Cicogne, a company and web portal that matches demands and supplies of babysitting service in Italy.
Below is our interview with Monica, the co-founder of Le Cicogne.(www.lecicogne.net)
What drove you (and your co-founders) to start Le Cicogne?
Passion and CARPE DIEM.
Le Cicogne is a web portal that matches demand and supply of services such as babysitting, baby&teen shuttle services, baby&teen tutoring and baby party.
I was the first user of my own service. At that time, I was a student looking for flexible babysitting jobs. It was very difficult to find jobs that can fit my schedule. The only way seems to be receiving as many job offers as I can so I have the chance to choose the most suitable one. Obviously this wasn’t possible – there won’t be so many parents contacting me if they didn’t hear from another parent that I am available to work. I discovered that the easiest way to look for a babysitter is by word of mouth.
Thanks to a family I was working for I created a new service: the “baby-taxi”, a shuttle service that picks up children from, for example, their sport lesson, and brings them home. It is more than just a “taxi service”, it is a “sitting service” with the car. My responsibilities include making sure the child sits properly, helping them dress after their lesson and having fun with them in the meantime. The job is flexible and only took me three hours per week. So I decided to look for other parents to offer the same service. The parents I already knew introduced me to other families. I started to receive so many calls that I could no longer afford all the work. So I started to share it with my friends. Later we launched a web portal to introduce our business Le Cicogne and facilitate the demands and supplies of the services.
There is more than one reason why my co-founders and I started Le Cicogne. To put them all together, I would say it is the need of a flexible job, of money, of letting people know about my service, and the desire to prove ourselves.
What was the biggest challenge you experienced in the journey of Le Cicogne and how did you overcome it?
I think there is no thing as big as the present and the future that we are living in right now with Le Cicogne. What I mean is that if I look back, I see things way more easier than they are right now, which I think is good. Because it means that we are going in the right way. We are becoming a real company with real difficulties and obstacles.
Some big challenges I have: one, Italian bureaucracy, setting up a company in Italy always means a lot of time, money and legal difficulties. Second, how to transform a start-up into a solid company.
Is there anything that you would have done differently?
No. If I could go back in time right now, I would do everything in a different way, but with the knowledge I have now, otherwise I would probably have made the same choices and mistakes.
What is your vision for Le Cicogne in the next three years?
We hope to receive an offer from Facebook as the one they did to Whatsapp!! No, just joking, I see it becoming stronger, a solid company that gets bigger day by day. For sure I see Le Cicogne on the whole Italian territory.
What advice do you have for young tech entrepreneurs?
I will tell them: START.
Don’t look back on what has already past. Look forward. I did it and it is amazing! You won’t repeat the same mistake twice; you will realize what you love and how you want it.