Playing with Fire at Sittercity (B)

Posted: 9 Apr 2012

See all articles by Noam Wasserman

Noam Wasserman

University of Southern California - Lloyd Greif Center for Entrepreneurial Studies

Rachel Gordon

Harvard University - Business School (HBS)

Date Written: December 7, 2009

Abstract

To help her finance her aggressive expansion plans, Genevieve Thiers plans to raise venture capital for the first time. She has spent the last six long years building Sittercity into the nation's leading babysitting web service, larger than all of its competitors combined. In the process, she brought her boyfriend and his sister into the business to help her, and ended up learning important lessons about mixing family and business. Now looking to raise venture capital, Thiers has just received an email from a general partner at a top VC firm, proposing another meeting and asking her to bring to the meeting an extensive list of proprietary information. This was a promising development, but Thiers was unsure whether she wanted to discuss Sittercity in such depth, especially when the venture capital firm had refused to sign a non-disclosure agreement. How should she respond?

Learning Objective: To introduce students to the risks of involving family in an entrepreneurial venture and some of the mechanisms that can be used to manage those risks, and to explore the risks of taking venture capital and some of the mechanisms to manage those risks.

Suggested Citation

Wasserman, Noam and Gordon, Rachel, Playing with Fire at Sittercity (B) (December 7, 2009). Harvard Business School Entrepreneurial Management Case No. 809-010. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2037318

Noam Wasserman (Contact Author)

University of Southern California - Lloyd Greif Center for Entrepreneurial Studies ( email )

United States

Rachel Gordon

Harvard University - Business School (HBS) ( email )

Soldiers Field Road
Morgan 270C
Boston, MA 02163
United States

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