Alabama NewsCenter is highlighting apps developed in the state. This is the first story in a series.
Tommy and Ginger Mayfield needed a babysitter, but the Birmingham couple’s schedule was irregular and hectic with 3- and 1-year-old daughters.
“Life was crazy those years. When we looked through babysitters, we were using the same technology parents had been using for the last 10 to 15 years, which was basically no technology,” Mayfield said. “The hurdles of texting each potential sitter, stopping by the ATM – I just thought, “‘Why isn’t there an app to make this process easier?’”
A native of Mountain Brook, Mayfield was working unpredictable hours at a law firm and his wife was taking night classes for a master’s degree, making the need for a trusted babysitter dire, and their time for searching short.
In his pursuit of solving their babysitting problem, however, came the genesis for Wyndy.
How great would it be, Mayfield thought, to have an app for parents in need of a babysitter and for babysitters in need of work? The idea came in May 2016, and by spring 2017, his idea manifested on the app store and Wyndy launched with no charge. The name derives from the character Wendy in Peter Pan.
“It’s hard for people to believe Jones Valley can produce the same technology as Silicon Valley, but I think we’re increasingly seeing that happen,” Mayfield said.
Wyndy works by allowing parents to post jobs on the app, and babysitters can then pick postings fitting their schedule.
The babysitters are all full-time college students. Anyone wishing to be a babysitter for the app must pass a background check and go through an application process, according to the company.
An in-app timer tracks how long the babysitter works and the parents then pay through the app. In addition to Wyndy connecting parents with background-checked college babysitters, the app also helps parents save time.
“It used to be if I wanted to take my wife out, we had to start thinking about a babysitter days in advance, but now I can come home Friday afternoon and get a babysitter instantly,” Mayfield said.
According to the company, it takes an average of two minutes for a parent to find a babysitter. The process can be quicker with parents having the option to save babysitters from previous jobs, curating a list of favorite Wyndy babysitters.
While many people might think of steel or automotive manufacturing driving Alabama’s economy, the city of Birmingham and other parts of the state have become a hotbed for startups and app developers.
According to an April 2018 “State of the App Economy” study by the App Association, 39,000 Alabamians currently work in computing jobs. Those jobs come with an average salary of $85,466.
The future of the industry looks bright too – with a projected job growth of 12.5 percent in Alabama by 2024.
Nationwide, the “app economy” contributes $950.6 billion to the U.S. economy and employs 4.7 million people.