about us

our story:

First we were coworkers—two software engineers talking shop. Then we were friends, sharing books to read and watching bad movies about vampires. Now we are business partners, running a website centered on children. As with any good idea, we started with one thought, “PayPal® for childcare providers.” Together we started researching. We talked to providers and parents and listened to their real life issues—issues that went beyond our initial idea. We took that information, researched the competition, looked at a lot of data and began to dream of a different kind of parent website. A place where parents and providers could meet, connect and organize the information they both need. Thus was born littleSonder.
sonder: n. the realization that each random passerby is living a life as vivid and complex as your own—populated with their own ambitions, friends, routines, worries and inherited craziness—an epic story that continues invisibly around you like an anthill sprawling deep underground, with elaborate passageways to thousands of other lives that you’ll never know existed, in which you might appear only once, as an extra sipping coffee in the background, as a blur of traffic passing on the highway, as a lighted window at dusk.

founders candace and katie

Candace Wilhelm

candace wilhelm

I’m an average person who wanted to own a business—but not any business, a business that helps people improve their lives. Like a lot of parents in the 90s, Jack and I bought a computer to ensure our children were familiar with technology. I immediately fell in love with technology and eventually earned a degree in software engineering. I developed a passion for Internet research when my husband was diagnosed with a rare cancer. How do you understand insurance coverage? How do you collect benefits? What are hospital billing practices? As an engineer, I’m familiar with researching solutions for complex problems. When we couldn’t find our answers on the Internet, we were fortunate to have great friends who were experts in those areas. But what about people who aren’t as lucky? What about the families of small children being told that their insurance was denied. Who helps them? Jack ultimately lost his battle with cancer, and our family began the difficult journey of building a new life. I look at life differently now. I want to help others. That’s what motivated me to create littleSonder—a community that simplifies complex problems for parents and childcare providers. Here on littleSonder, you can easily connect with the right people to help you in your life journey. And if you’re really fortunate, you do it with a great friend and business partner like Katie.

Katie Urbanski

katie urbanski

As a mother of two small children, I wanted to create solutions to problems for both parents and providers – ease the craziness of raising kids, balancing work and still having time to enjoy the simple things in our lives. I wouldn’t have started this business without Candace. Candace was the inspiration to create littleSonder. A community that helps parents solve problems—parents just like me. As friends, Candace always had great advice for my life’s challenges. She thinks about things in ways I would not think possible. Early in my career, I wanted to be an elementary school teacher—third graders to be exact. The age where kids love to learn and their outlook on life is so imaginative. But as I completed my first semester of undergraduate studies, something was missing. I loved technology and computers and wanted to learn more…. So I jumped into computer engineering and developed a love for software development. My first job as a software engineer honed my software development skills. This is where I met Candace, and our dreams of building littleSonder were born. My busy life as a working mom revolves around the love of my life, Scott, whom I married in our hometown of Brainerd, Minnesota and our two kids, Aiden and Zoey, who keep us on our toes, being much too bright for their own good. We all love sports. House favorites are hockey, baseball and soccer, but we watch all Minnesota sports teams. I love being outdoors. Growing up, I did all things outdoors with my dad: hunting, fishing, sports. I bow hunt in the fall, but not as much lately. I love sitting out in the tree stand and taking in all nature has to offer. And taking a small break here and there from the craziness of life is nice at times.

a note from candace and katie

Thank you for stopping by the littleSonder community. Sign up here for future updates and to get started building your littleSonder community. Or send us an email with comments, questions or suggestions, because littleSonder is for you, and we want to hear what you think! Based in Minneapolis, Minnesota.

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