Christopher C. Seminatore knows a good idea when he hears one. After a divorced friend commented on how much he missed his daughter and wished he could watch her at day care from his home computer, the 33-year-old entrepreneur got to work, drafting a business plan and raising funds.
In 1999, Seminatore, friend Jeff Etheridge (the company's idea man), Randy Etheridge and Daniel Carr founded GuardianCam Inc., a San Diego company that installs cameras in day-care centers that stream images across the Internet. Family members are given a user name and password that they use to log on to GuardianCam's Web site and watch their child learning and playing.
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Reaction to the service has been overwhelming. According to Seminatore, centers that offer the service have seen enrollment jump between 40 and 150 percent. In addition to bringing more children into the centers' doors, GuardianCam is also benefiting the families who use the service. "We've got hundreds of stories," Seminatore says. Recently, a grandfather's dying wish to see his granddaughter was granted when a computer set to GuardianCam's site was brought to his hospital room. "Little stories like that, they come in every single day," says Seminatore. "It keeps the staff dedicated, devoted to what we're trying to do."