A booming Birmingham business started with a fairly common problem: Tommy and Ginger Mayfield couldn’t find a babysitter for their two young daughters.
“We wanted to solve our own problem,” said Tommy Mayfield, CEO of Wyndy, a mobile app that makes it easy to find, book and pay college babysitters. “We looked in the marketplace and, frankly, suspected someone had already solved the problem. No one could solve the problem the way I as a parent wanted it to be solved, so we went out and built a solution.”
Originally launched in Birmingham and a member of Innovation Depot's most recent Velocity Accelerator cohort, Wyndy is now available in Tuscaloosa, Mobile, Nashville, Memphis, Chattanooga and Charlottesville, Va., with availability coming to Atlanta, Dallas and Raleigh by this fall. The company anticipates hiring up to five new employees this year in addition to their five current employees and, because of this growth, is one of the companies listed on the Birmingham Business Alliance’s New and Expanding Industry List.
“Our goal is to continue to expand our footprint in the Southeast and eventually start expanding nationwide,” Mayfield said.
The name of the company is a nod to Wendy Darling, who cared for the Lost Boys in Peter Pan. Babysitters for the company are not called babysitters but Wyndys. To become a Wyndy, you must be 18, enrolled in college, have access to transportation and a smart phone, complete the application and pass a background check and, of course, love kids.
“It’s a flexible way to earn viable part-time income,” Mayfield said.
Parents get to choose the hourly rate they pay their Wyndys and get to browse all of the Wyndys on the app once they download it. Want a UAB nursing major who is involved in student government? You can set filters to find that exact person, Mayfield said.
Just like the Wyndys, parents create a profile, too, providing their address, children’s ages and genders, and payment information. Wyndy is an ongoing mutual selection process where parents can find the right Wyndy for their kids and Wyndys can find the right jobs for the time they have available and the money they want to make. The app cuts out endless texts sent between parent and babysitter, Mayfield said.
“Our vision is really to be a company that provides a convenient, trusted platform that enables different segments of the community to connect in a simple way,” he said.
The app is an example of Birmingham becoming a developing birthplace for successful startups, said TechBirmingham president Deon Gordon.
“Wyndy and their recent success helps to underscore the message that Birmingham is an emerging startup hub, one that can support the creation and growth of tech companies across a wide range of industries and market opportunities,” Gordon said. “Moreover, it validates our community's efforts to double down on initiatives that help create the kind of environment in which a company like Wyndy can thrive. Together, with programs like Innovation Depot's Velocity Accelerator and EDPA's Launchpad competition, I fully expect to see more successes emerging from within our tech and innovation ecosystems.”
Wyndy won $80,550 from Alabama Launchpad last year and was in the most recent Velocity Accelerator cohort at Innovation Depot.
Mayfield, whose daughters are now five and seven, is thankful he capitalized on the lack of babysitter issue.
“[Wyndy] definitely solved our own problem,” he said.