The Boston Startup Scene Is Anxiously Watching Care.com’s IPO Today

January 24, 2014

11:27 am

In a big milestone for the Boston tech community, Sheila Marcelo’s caregiver marketplace Care.com is going public today.

Founded in 2006, Care.com helps you find caregivers for children, seniors, and pets. They’ve grown to over 9.5 million members in 16 countries and 357 full-time employees, and raised around $110 million in funding.

The latest price of shares was $17, as reported by MarketWatch. That means the IPO could raise about $90 million.

How has Care.com gotten this far? According to Marcelo, who spoke at a Tech Cocktail Sessions event, culture is crucial. And the culture at Care.com is fueled by compassion and teamwork.

“It is the belief in your people. It’s not just lip service,” Marcelo told a Tech Cocktail audience. “If you think you’re the smartest in the room, you’re better than everybody else, you’re the more highly educated . . . you’re drinking your own Kool-Aid – how are you going to get anything done in the company? Because building things requires a whole group of people.”

New employees are given an orientation packet at Care.com, and one page asks if you want to be a plow horse or a show horse. “A plow horse is actually pulling a heavy cart with a group of horses – it’s about teamwork – and it’s not being the sole show horse in the arena, wanting everybody’s attention,” Marcelo said. One of Care.com’s values is being respectful, which includes a “no assholes policy.”

Marcelo herself has incorporated all these lessons into her leadership style. “If you’re a leader and if you don’t really believe in your people and you believe in yourself so much more, it’s going to be really, really difficult to build a company – and a successful one at that,” she said.

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Kira M. Newman is a Tech Cocktail writer interested in the harsh reality of entrepreneurship, work-life balance, and psychology. She is the founder of The Year of Happy and has been traveling around the world interviewing entrepreneurs in Asia, Europe, and North America since 2011. Follow her @kiramnewman or contact kira@tech.co.

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