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Entrepreneur Stories

care
It’s a simple premise. We help people by connecting families with great caregivers and companies
so that they can take care of their loved ones. In reality, this is very difficult to do,
but it is an absolutely essential service.
- Sheila Lirio Marcelo, Care.com

Sheila Lirio Marcelo believes in the social power of technology. With the founding of Care.com, she helped build a model of care that, today, helps millions of people with their caregiving needs.

Making It Personal

Sheila Lirio Marcelo believes in the social power of technology. She has seen firsthand its capacity to alleviate some of life’s biggest pain points, from paying for college, to finding a job, to identifying quality caregivers for loved ones.

Sheila always knew she would go into professional services. During her college years at Mount Holyoke and later at Harvard Law School and Harvard Business School, she planned to work as a strategy consultant. Yet she had an entrepreneurial spirit and became increasingly interested in technology.

An opportunity arose with an executive position at Upromise, a service that helps families pay for college, and Sheila was sold. It was the perfect blend of her interests.

“At Upromise, I was bit by the bug after seeing what can happen when a for-profit company is driven by a social mission. This concept stuck with me,” Sheila notes.

A few years later, she moved to executive job search engine, TheLadders. The company was growing rapidly, and Sheila soaked up lessons on how to make technology work effectively on a very large scale. It was during this period that she was introduced to Matrix Partners, an investor in TheLadders. Sheila developed strong relationships with several of the partners who served as mentors, helping her hone her leadership skills.

When Sheila was ready to start her own company, Matrix offered her a coveted EIR spot to allow her the time, space and resources she needed to build something great.

At Matrix, general partner David Skok once asked her a pivotal question: “Do you want to be in the pain business or the pleasure business?” At that moment, Sheila understood how her work and life experiences fit together.

Sheila prepared herself for the challenge of creating a company devoted to solving the care needs of families around the country. All too familiar with the pains associated with finding suitable providers, the development of Care.com was highly personal. Sheila drew upon her experiences as a young, immigrant mother trying to get through school in an area where it was difficult to find support. She also reflected on the time when her father, who was visiting from the Philippines, had a heart attack and she had no real resources to identify quality care options. It became her mission not only to help families find care, but to actually help build a model of care where it previously did not exist.

“It’s a simple premise. We help people by connecting families with great caregivers and companies so that they can take care of their loved ones. In reality, this is very difficult to do, but it is an absolutely essential service,” says Sheila.

Matrix willingly became the first to back Sheila’s mission-driven idea.

“Sheila is an enormously talented individual, but her love of people and desire to give back also make her an excellent leader,” says Antonio Rodriguez, general partner and Care.com board member. “People want to follow Sheila. She is a woman of long lasting convictions having built Care from an idea on a napkin over the last 6 years to the world’s largest marketplace for care resources. As such, she has developed a phenomenal and committed team that is completely devoted to ensuring that anyone can find quality care services.”

“Seeking capital, it’s not enough to find a great general partner; you need to find a great firm. You may be marrying your board member, but the managing partner and the firm act as your in-laws,” explains Sheila. “For me, the decision to work with Matrix was one of the easiest I’ve had since starting Care.com. Each partner has so much to offer. The relationships I have formed have been invaluable to me as a founder, as an executive, and as a person.”

Today Care.com is Sheila’s version of the for-profit company with a social mission. It addresses the unique lifecycle of care needs that each family goes through - child care, senior care, special needs care, tutoring and lessons, pet care, and housekeeping by enabling families to connect with a care provider, share a care giving experience, or get advice and news. Drawing upon her lessons in corporate growth at TheLadders, Sheila has effectively scaled Care.com to help millions of people. The service also expanded internationally, moving into the U.K. and Canada in Spring 2012.

Care.com’s success can be attributed in part to the strong set of values at the company’s roots. Its motto is “Be there for our team, members, and partners: be transparent, humble, entrepreneurial, respectful, and excellent.” Team members live and breathe it. It is also the perfect encapsulation of the rare find that is Sheila Lirio Marcelo.

Sheila Lirio Marcelo

Founder & CEO and former Matrix EIR

Care.com

Care.com is a subscription-based marketplace for all type of care services, such as child care, pet care, and housekeeping.

Matrix Partners Board Members

Antonio Rodriguez