THE LAST WORD 96 - INC. - FEBRUAR Y 2017
What was some good early advice
you got, and how did it serve you?
I was racking my brain about whether
starting Care.com was the right thing.
A mentor of mine said, “Sheila, you’ve
got to ask yourself, are you in the pain
business or the pleasure business?”
What he meant was, is solving consumer pain something that I am
passionate about? He was asking me
to really dig down, because entrepreneurship is a huge commitment.
You’ve got to come from the heart to
decide what you’re about.
You spent time as a strategy
consultant. How did that experience
help you in entrepreneurship?
It taught me how to take on any
problem that comes up. Size up the
addressable market for these widgets. Figure out why there’s a process
breakdown in this inventory line. You
face that problem, and you dig deep
getting to the data and using the
power of logic to solve it. Entrepreneurship is similar, except you actually
have to execute on the solution.
Before going public in 2014, Care
.com raised more than $110 million
in venture capital. That’s not easy
for any founder, but especially not
for women, who get less than 3
percent of all VC money. How did
you overcome that hurdle?
During our IPO road show, we few
into this private airport. I went
straight for the cofeepot. Our CTO, a
male, shook hands. Our CFO, a male,
shook hands. When I got there, I
ofered people cofee. They thought I
was the assistant. That happens. So
my goal is to change people’s unconscious bias. By putting them on the
spot in a polite, respectful way, it
makes them say, “Huh, the next time
I look at a woman, I’m not going to
assume she’s the assistant.”
What else do you suggest
women founders do to be taken
more seriously by investors?
Women need to feel very confdent
in their numbers, and they need to
feel solid about their business
plans. If you need to practice your
pitches with friends, you should.
Also, if you’re not fully confdent
about the numbers, fnd
co-founders who are.
Sheila Lirio Marcelo
The founder and CEO of Care.com has grown
her tech-savvy babysitting agency into a public
company that generates $139 million in annual
revenue by connecting families with caregivers
As told to DIANA RANSOM Photograph by TONY LUONG
“Often, people think
of care as a gender issue,
or a soft issue,” says
Sheila Lirio Marcelo, who
in 2006. “In fact, it’s
an imperative for
our global economy.”
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