Deborah Hanus

Introducing Sparrow

Last summer, I founded Sparrow, a software company that provides the simplest way for companies to provide employees with extended leave. In this post, I've answered some of my most frequently asked questions, and I will follow up with some of my lessons learned in the coming weeks.

What is Sparrow?

By managing the paperwork, deadlines, and endorsements associated with managing extended leave (ie. family leave, medical leave, etc), Sparrow saves companies time (20-40 hours per leave), money (up to $20K per leave), and headache.

What inspired you to start Sparrow?

Last year, six of my friends had children. All of them had to file for short term disability insurance with their state (because that is how most states in the US provide “paid family leave”). All of them complained about it. Half of them made mistakes, didn’t get paid properly, and had to file appeals. I started thinking, “If my friends (who are highly-skilled Harvard and MIT grads with great jobs in tech) are struggling this much with this, chances are a lot of other people are too.”

I spoke with about one hundred parents and people managing leave at their companies, and I found that is a major problem for employees and employers alike:

In my market research, I spoke with so many people who when faced with a decision between a “meh” job at a large company or an exciting high-potential job at a startup, if they had anything else going on in the lives – taking care of parents, trying to have a child, etc., they felt like they had no choice but to go to the larger company. Sparrow is a software-based service that makes it simple for all companies to provide leave (such family leave, disability, etc.), so people don’t need to choose between the people they love and the job that they love.

How can I help?

Right now, we’re focused on customer acquisition. If you know anyone who either (a) is about to take a leave from work, (b) has a colleague that is going to take a leave soon, or (c) wants to put together a leave policy for their company, please have them get in touch.

How can I learn more?

We’ll be pushing out updates via our social channels. Please join us on whatever medium you’d like to receive updates: