May 9, 2020·4 min read
Continuing with our feature series on the members of TiE Boston, we spoke with TiE Boston Charter Member, Zenobia Moochhala, Co-Founder of Care.com and currently COO of Embark Veterinary, about her journey and what led her to TiE
How did you get your start?
I grew up and completed my education in Mumbai, India. After graduating from St. Xavier’s College, with a BA in Economics and Statistics, I decided to attend school in the United States. In 1996 I enrolled in a Masters program in International Finance and Economics at Brandeis University. I graduated in 1998 on the precipice of the tech revolution, which paved the way for my first position as a Senior Product Manager (SPM) at WorldStreet, a financial software company started by a Brandeis graduate. WorldStreet was acquired by Thomson Financial in early 2002 and although it was sad to move on from my first startup, I took the opportunity to move from B2B to B2C. In 2002 I began at Upromise on their Product team and I found a love for consumer businesses that have a strong mission. Upromise helped millions of families in saving money for college while building a strong business foundation. In 2006, Upromise was acquired by Sallie Mae and I came together with a group to found Care.com. Founding Care.com was an incredible experience as we hit so many milestones — growing to 600 employees and $200M in revenue and IPO in 2014. With the great successes at Care.com, I decided to move forward with my career and join the team at Embark Vet as COO in 2018.
What challenges came with founding Care?
In the early years, we knew that there was a strong need to connect families and caregivers for children, seniors, home and pets. Once we laid out the opportunity and built an MVP platform, we had to scale both sides of the marketplace and find the right balance between getting caregivers and families. This was quite tricky due to there being two distinct groups with very different needs trying to access our platform. Through a strong focus on iterative testing, we were able to build a service that made a match and quickly scaled in the US and eventually in international markets.
What advice do you have?
While founding Care.com, the one thing that stood out the most to me was how plans change both inconveniently and often. To quote Eisenhower — “Plans are useless but planning is essential”. You and your team always need to be ready to fail quickly, integrate new ideas and this is only possible if you can plan well but operate nimbly. It can be both fun and stressful, but in the long run, you will end up with a much better finished product.
How did you find TiE Boston?
I had heard about TiE but my first real connection was when TiE first reached out to me to join a panel of female founders at TiECon in 2013. The panel was a success — the first women only panel at TiECon East, and I had a fantastic time. The following year I became a Charter Member and began to get much more involved in the TiE Boston community. The charter member network is really strong at TiE and was a great way for me to meet new people after being heads down focused on building Care.com.
What different programs and initiatives have you been involved in at TiE Boston?
In 2018, Satish and Neeraj invited me to join the TiE ScaleUp task force and redesign the curriculum for the next cohort. ScaleUp is one of the most exciting TiE programs and I continue to serve as an advisor. I also wanted to connect with the more TiE women and with the wonderful support of the TiE office (especially Simone) started quarterly TiE Women’s Network meetings which opened the door to meeting so many awesome women. I served on the board of TiE Boston from 2018–2020. This community never ceases to amaze me and has become a lifelong commitment.
What’s next for you?
I joined the Embark team in Nov 2018 in the role of COO — leading the marketing, product and operations of the company. Embark is the leading dog DNA test and has an exciting, rapidly growing ecommerce business but underlying all of this is its mission to use this data to do research on genetically driven diseases. It’s been rewarding to jump in to a new opportunity, learn the business and help set them on a path to scale. I also have my hands full with a 9 & 5 year old at home.