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Meet Shar Ghoudsifar of Helpkin in Santa Monica

Today we’d like to introduce you to Shar Ghoudsifar.

Shar, please share your story with us. How did you get to where you are today?
Helpkin, the app to trade babysitting with friends, has always been in the making. I had two best friends that became moms as college freshmen. I would always offer to help because it was the… right… thing… to do… (and I loved the kiddos!) I never considered myself a “babysitter,” needing $48 to watch my best friends’ children… I was family.

I later worked at a tech startup with a handful of parents. While many of the employees would go out to play billiards or enjoy a night on the (suburban) town, none of the parents could.

‘Being a parent in today’s world is like having three full-time jobs,’ I thought.

They weren’t able to afford babysitting and they didn’t feel like they had a village of people they could trust. But I knew that they had several generous and trusted friends from the office that would be HAPPY to help!

Later on, I adopted a mixed, heavyset bengal cat named Dr. Sakara. I still wanted to travel, but didn’t want to pay $40/day for someone to feed Dr. Sakara her Fancy Feast. For a one-week trip, that would total $280- the cost of a flight or Airbnb!

Additionally, my wonderful Grandma Ashraf needed a friend to come over occasionally to gossip in Turkish or simply laugh along with during some I Love Lucy.

So, I set out to bring back the village through the modern sharing economy. No–I didn’t have three kids of my own… rather, I dedicated my time to raising my baby named “Helpkin.”

Overall, has it been relatively smooth? If not, what were some of the struggles along the way?
One of the biggest challenges when building something that doesn’t exist in the world (like an app for parents to trade babysitting with friends) is exactly that: it doesn’t exist! Creating a solution out of thin air for such a large problem is a constant challenge where you see there are many different potential roads to take and it’s hard to commit to just one.

I’ve since learned to ask many questions, talk to hundreds of families that want the best possible solution, and pave one road at a time.

Alright – so let’s talk business. Tell us about Helpkin – what should we know?
Helpkin is an app for parents to trade babysitting with friends and other parents they trust. (And just wait until we’re available for pets and elderly!) For years, there have been many websites to find paid babysitters/nannies, but we are building something for today’s generation of families that want (and need) to save more than ever. Our global vision is “trusted family care for ALL”!

With Helpkin, our app begins with friends and other parents you already know, so the trust already exists, but we help take the guilt out of asking for babysitting while simplifying the process and dare I say making it FUN! If you don’t have enough parent friends, you can meet more families through parent meetups nearby and we’re working on a variety of creative ways to meet the other trusted parents that use Helpkin in the future.

Any shoutouts? Who else deserves credit in this story – who has played a meaningful role?
Vanessa and Andrea, the two amazingly strong young mothers that inspired me and helped me realize that we are all in this life thing together (it takes a village).

Every parent and person who has given me so much valuable feedback over the years to shape Helpkin to where it is today!

Every mentor, advisor, designer, developer, intern, colleague, that has been invaluable to me on this journey, helping me grow as an entrepreneur and offering the vast support to turn a “really good idea” into a lasting organization. Special shoutouts to Rocio Villalobos, Jack Litchfield, Bill Lodin, Jay Tsao, Founder Institute colleagues, ResortShare team members and leadership.

Last, but not least, my friends and family for keeping me grounded and as sane as they can.

Pricing:

  • Free!
  • Helpkin Premium ~$10/month (unlock features for more trust and simpler scheduling)

Contact Info:

Getting in touch: VoyageLA is built on recommendations from the community; it’s how we uncover hidden gems, so if you know someone who deserves recognition please let us know here.

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