Greater Tulsa Reporter
NEW COMPANY: Adrienne Kallweit, left, co-founder of SeekingSitters and Gig Bigwig, speaks during a recent 1 Million Cups presentation of Gig Bigwig, held at 36 Degrees North, 36 E. Cameron St. Gig Bigwig provides verification of gig workers by licensed private investigators. Presenting with Kallweit is Gig Bigwig’s Jennifer Caudle.
GTR Newspapers photo
Some individuals are born with an entrepreneurship gene, it seems, the desire accompanied with the ability to brainstorm and develop new ideas.
“As a serial entrepreneur, you’re always creating, always inventing,” says Adrienne Kallweit, co-owner and co-founder of SeekingSitters and Gig Bigwig.
Adrienne Kallweit, who earned a bachelor’s degree in construction management from the University of Oklahoma, spent years in the construction industry with her husband, David, before they took their first steps in launching SeekingSitters, which provides on-demand background-screened professional babysitters. “The Uber of babysitting, long before Uber,” says Adrienne.
The idea for SeekingSitters came about in 2004 after Adrienne performed a background screening on a woman whom she and David planned to employ as a babysitter, only to find that the woman had a criminal history.
Adrienne’s extensive knowledge of background investigation comes from her parents, who founded an investigative service company in 1978, Hide and Seek, which Adrienne and David purchased in 1999.
“From the beginning, our plan in creating SeekingSitters was to take it nationwide so that parents everywhere could feel safe,” says Adrienne. “We started with Tulsa and began franchising in 2006.”
Utilizing the stringent screening practices founded in her investigative practice, to date, SeekingSitters has had zero reported safety incidents and operates in 27 states with more than 100 locations.
At the end of 2015, Adrienne and David evaluated the need to support the verification of “gig workers,” a growing industry of temporary workers or independent contractors who contract through various on-demand services.
With a 2017 launch, Gig Bigwig, gigbigwig.com, will provide verification services for gig workers. “It serves somewhat like their online driver’s license, giving peace of mind to the consumer,” says Adrienne.
Gig Bigwig’s hands-on verification of the gig worker provides a certification that the gig worker’s background and work history have been analyzed and cleared by a licensed private investigator. Gig Bigwig also provides a virtual location for gig workers to keep their jobs and payments organized and additional offerings such as tax and credit services.
Regarding Gig Bigwig’s verification process, some might wonder what sets them apart from other private investigation or background check companies. Adrienne says, “It is so important how you gather the information and that you analyze the data by an actual person.”
With the rise of many gig-based companies, such as Airbnb and Uber, and the growth of the gig industry, the need for a systematic screening process is growing.
It is estimated that there are 40 million gig workers nationally, with 60 million expected by 2020.
“These companies that are providing on-demand services are not utilizing any type of uniform screening process,” says Adrienne. “One service said that their advertised ‘background check screening’ meant that the company called to make sure the worker answered their phone.”
Safety, the common thread in Adrienne’s business ventures, is something that she feels strongly about and recognizes the national need for improvement.
“When you see the assaults, the deaths happening with some of these sharing services, they don’t need to be happening,” she says. “We want to help the gig industry grow and help everyone to be safe.”
Besides safety, the other underlying theme that, perhaps, runs a bit deeper for Adrienne is her passion to create, which is clearly serving her well.
“Being an entrepreneur has been a gift. And I feel we have an obligation to be passionate about our gifts.”