Zarja Cibej founded myTamarin as an answer to a dearth in childcare options for London’s busy working parents. The startup uses dating-style psychology and artificial intelligence to match parents to childminders, making it a kind of like a compatibility site for childcare.
myTamarin is backed by a £100K injection into the business, courtesy of an grant from Innovate UK, which will fund the startup’s to invest more heavily on AI.
“The relationship between child carers and parents is very intimate,” says Cibej. “It’s not like the normal employer-employee relationship; it requires compatibility on both a professional and emotional level. Parents are essentially inviting someone into their home to attend to – and help raise – a person most precious to them. It is essential that they be able to build trust and seamless communication with their nanny.”
Parents and childcare professionals answer certain questions on the myTamarin website, which have been crafted by psychologists and experienced childcare professionals, she explains.
“Then we use a proprietary matching process to suggest possible matches. The parents of course have the last word.”
Cibej, a former senior management consultant, quit her six-figure salaried job with a global firm to set up myTamarin in October 2017.
Cibej was inspired to create the business based on her own experience finding suitable childcare for her two young sons. She noticed that a nanny who might be highly suited for one family, might not work for another. The main incompatibilities often did not involve a nanny’s skillset, but their personality and working style.
Realising that personal compatibility is key to a successful childcare arrangement, Cibej looked to the dating industry to find out how they matched people in a different kind of intimate relationship.
“We spent a lot of time learning from the dating industry about match making. We are kind of like a match.com for childcare.”
Since its launch last December, myTamarin has already attracted hundreds of parents and child carers to its service, and created a number of matches.
In January, it received a £100,000 grant from Innovate UK and began a nine-month project to create a fully integrated platform in May this year. Cibej says early tests have gone well and she expects the platform to be fully live this summer.
Cibej says the government is keen to improve childcare in the UK. Poor childcare options are estimated to cost the economy £23bn per year.
“The AI-powered matchmaking, along with the convenience and efficiency of the childcare platform, offer valuable support to mothers who want to come back to work,” Cibej explains.
“I expect this empowerment effect will also be recognised by progressive employers, so that our service can be included in employee benefits, just like medical insurance.”
With a few months, the myTamarin team has grown to include a psychologist, a web developer, a data scientist and three childcare recruiters. Cibej hopes the platform will become the go-to place for parents looking to find trusted nannies in a user friendly, reliable and efficient way, and for nannies looking for good, stable jobs.
“Women need help to raise children and with good reason – it’s a lot of work,” notes Cibej. “Folk wisdom around the world has it that it takes a village to raise children. We’re building that village. A modern village for modern parents.”
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