Care.com taking steps to become the all-in-one, mom-geared family care site

<a href="http://www.shutterstock.com/pic-108289958/stock-photo-cute-mother-and-kid-boy-playing-together-indoor.html?src=vMNcozKA3GEUn9ytv2/lgQ-1-16">Image of "mother with boy playing" via Shutterstock</a>
Image of "mother with boy playing" via Shutterstock

Waltham-based Care.com (NYSE: CRCM), which has been the only local tech company to go public in a year when many Boston tech IPOs were expected, released its second-quarter numbers last week, showing increased growth of its total members. More important for the continued success of the online family care company may be the two pieces of news that came as the second quarter was ending: The acquisition of social commerce platform Citrus Lane and the launch of its BigTent mobile app.

With its member numbers climbing to 11.8 million, 44 percent growth over the second quarter last year, the company also announced that it had increased its revenue 35 percent in comparison to the same quarter last year, to $25.8 million.

The acquisition of Mountain View, Calif.-based Citrus Lane a couple of weeks ago, for what could end up being $47.6 million in cash and equity, adds a subscription e-commerce marketplace geared toward childrens’ goods.

The addition of Citrus Lane is a marked change to Care.com’s strategy, which has so far been to serve as a place for parents, pet owners, and home owners to find babysitters, adult caregivers, pet sitters, and house cleaners, among other services. With the move to add Citrus Lane’s 400,000 members, 45,000 of which are paid subscribers (as well as the company’s $6 million in revenue in 2013), Care.com gets an existing mom-focused e-commerce site that will appeal to one of the company’s largest user bases—mothers looking for babysitters and nannies.

Additionally, at the end of last week Care.com released the BigTent online community app on iOS as part of what the company is calling its “Care.com Everyday” strategy.

BigTent, a site for parents to connect with each other to form local parent communities, was acquired last year by Care.com. The just-released public iPhone app allows parents to connect, on the go, with other members on hosted local BigTent parent groups on forums, with scheduled events, and through other features. BigTent has 1 million members with 1,700 parent groups already organized on its online platform.

As Dave Krupinski, co-founder and chief technology officer of Care.com explained, “BigTent is a platform for hosting community groups, and primarily those that serve family and mothers.” There are many active BigTent groups throughout the Boston area, Krupinski said, including a few in Boston, Jamaica Plain, Wayland, Newton, Arlington, and many other local cities and towns.

“We are not focused on the monetization of these groups, but it’s good having Care.com as the brand and company supporting this platform, because so many parents engage on this platform, and those looking for child care services will turn to Care.com,” he said.

“One of the main features we’ve been looking to build is a mobile experience,” Krupinski added. “We’ve built what we think that the BigTent platform is the premier mobile application for parents to engage with community groups — for sharing knowledge, for sharing their concerns and questions about raising their kids, about finding care, and finding the best products for their children — and now they can do it on the go, which is the case for most parents.”

Both BigTent and Citrus Lane are components of the “Care.com Everyday” strategy. Both have built-in, highly engaged community members, and, as Krupinski said, “We think it’s a great complement to finding care, and finding the best services and products for your children.”

For Care.com, both additions serve as ways to engage its largest user group multiple times per week, a strategy that could make the company the de facto online resource for all parenting needs.

Dennis Keohane was a Senior Staff Writer for BetaBoston.
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