Childcare: Your startup arranges grandmothers and grandfathers

If childcare fails, an alternative must be found quickly. But who has spontaneous time in the morning? Startup Granny Angels is dependent on retired babysitters.

Jana Schandua founded the childcare service Granny Angels during her maternity leave.
Christina Louise photography

“Mom, may I sit on your lap?” “Mom, what are we going to do then?” Jana Schandua knows that working as a parent can be quite exhausting. In an interview with Gründerszene, her two children repeatedly assert themselves. Mom here, mom there. The solo self-employed person is currently on parental leave and is founding startup Granny Angels, which aims to help parents care for children. The corona-related shutdowns have shown how much families like it when they can no longer leave their children for just a few hours a day. The times were also tough for Shandua and her husband. “We realized that you can’t work from home and take care of the kids at the same time.”

Many mothers and fathers felt the same way as Schandua during the Germany-wide shutdown. Meanwhile, the situation has calmed down and childcare facilities such as day care centers and schools are open again. However, there is still a risk that childcare will be canceled spontaneously. For example, when the child has to be picked up at school or day care in case of illness. In the event of a breakdown, parents may not always be there fast enough. It makes retirees feel free to organize their days, Schandua says. That’s why she founded the babysitting service Granny Angels. Parents seeking babysitters should be referred to grandmothers or grandfathers who would like childcare.

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“The great thing about grandmothers and grandfathers is that they no longer have to go to work and are therefore so flexible that they also have time in the morning,” explains the solo self-employed person. Pupils or students, for example, are not so flexible.

Expensive support portals frustrated the founder

A frustrating experience preceded the founding of Granny Angels in December 2021. Therefore, Schandua looked for babysitters through shared care portals and paid a lot of money without finding anything. “Just having access to the contact details of any potential babysitters without a guarantee of finding a suitable childcare was too anonymous and non-binding for me,” she says. At the gym and at the sausage counter in the supermarket, she met two elderly women who offered her help caring for children. Schandua then came up with the idea of ​​building a platform to put retirees who enjoy childcare in touch with young families.

The platform is still very small: Five grandmothers and grandfathers, including 72-year-old grandmother Monika and 74-year-old grandfather Gerd, participate in the startup’s program. Schandua says she will focus on expanding her childcare in her hometown of Düsseldorf. This is followed by cities such as Berlin, Hamburg and Munich. But how do you reach seniors who are not very familiar with the World Wide Web? Through a somewhat outdated method such as placing ads in cafes and local newspapers, Schandua explains.

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It will only go digital in the next step. In order to participate in Granny Angels, grandmothers and grandparents must register on the platform for the Düsseldorf start-up, provide information about themselves and then mark in a calendar how many hours a week they want to look after children. And how far they will travel to get child care.

On top of that, applicants must present an extended certificate of good conduct – and preferably have experience with social professions, says Schandua. “It is important to me that our grandmothers and grandfathers are reliable.” To get a better impression, the founder meets all applicants in person in advance. From time to time, her children are there, as she mentions in the conversation. Her six-year-old son, who is sitting next to her, says, “But I only take it with me if I get a waffle or more pocket money for it.”

Grandmothers and grandparents earn above the minimum wage

Parents must be able to see information about the candidates on the platform and then book. They pay the start-up 26 euros per hour. To make the journey back and forth worthwhile, the minimum booking time is two hours. The grandmothers and grandfathers would be paid 10.50 euros as an hourly wage, which is slightly more than the minimum wage, which is currently 9.82 euros. In addition, the grandmothers and grandfathers are insured through the startup.

Schandua also offers supervisors the opportunity to attend a regular table every other week. That means going for a walk and drinking coffee. In this way, the grandmothers and grandfathers should be able to get to know each other better and exchange ideas.

The founder does not want to return to his old job after his parental leave

The solo self-employed invest many hours a day in founding Granny Angels. Sometimes she even works in the evenings when her two children are sleeping. As soon as her parental leave ends in December 2022, she will try to run her startup business full time – and offer the service not only in Düsseldorf, but also in other cities. According to the founder, she will then resign her job as product manager at the media agency AdAlliance, which markets brands such as RTL Germany, Gruner + Jahr and Spiegel Group.

A number of other startups are dedicated to childcare. These include the Munich company Heynannyly. You must be able to book insured childcare on a short or regular basis via an app without a paid subscription. Another startup is called Wondernanny. Babysitting must be offered via video chat. Or Mymary, whose childcare offer is explicitly aimed at companies.

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