Fresh off a $620K Seed funding raise, 500 Startups grad BabyList wants to take the labor out of gift registries for expectant parents
A Q&A with BabyList founder and CEO Natalie Gordon. The San Francisco-based startup, which offers a universal gift registry for expectant parents, closed a $620,000 Seed funding round in late June. Investors include 500 Startups, Okapi Venture Capital, Chris Messina, Mike Greenfield and Altair Capital. It is a graduate of 500 Startups’ fall 2012 accelerator class.
SUB: Please describe BabyList and your primary innovation.
Gordon: BabyList is an online baby registry. Expectant parents can put any item from any store onto one registry and we help them figure out what they need.
SUB: Who are your target markets and users?
Gordon: Pregnant women.
SUB: Who do you consider to be your competition?
Gordon: Big retailers like Babies ‘R’ Us and Target. When a woman is making this decision, she’s deciding whether to use a single retailer or our multi-retailer solution.
SUB: How are you reaching pregnant women that may otherwise register at one of the big retail stores?
Gordon: We have partnerships with specific blogs, websites and apps that are pregnancy-focused. That and word of mouth have been driving our growth.
SUB: What differentiates BabyList from the competition?
Gordon: A store is trying to sell you as much stuff as possible. This is a pretty vulnerable time for expectant parents. We are able to try to help you figure out what you really need—even if it’s less stuff.
SUB: More specifically, what features do you offer to help expectant parents decide what they need?
Gordon: In January we launched a personalized baby registry checklist. You take a quiz about your lifestyle and parenting plans and you get a personalized list of products that are right for you—this works great whether you’re using BabyList or not.
SUB: When was the company founded and what were the first steps you took in establishing it?
Gordon: BabyList started as a fun side project when I was pregnant, about two-and-a-half years ago. I had the idea and could see the solution so clearly. I partnered with a designer who I met online, and we worked together to launch an MVP.
SUB: What was the inspiration behind the idea for BabyList? Was there an ‘aha’ moment, or was the idea more gradual in developing?
Gordon: It came out of pure frustration. I was trying to find a baby registry that was fun and I was shocked that I couldn’t find anything.
SUB: How did you come up with the name? What is the story behind it?
Gordon: It’s a very simple, descriptive name of exactly what we are.
SUB: You recently raised $620,000 in Seed funding. Why was this a particularly good time to raise funding?
Gordon: This was a great time for us to raise money. We have great traction with a great market. We were bootstrapped up joining 500 Startups in the fall. We made the decision to grow quicker than organic growth would allow.
SUB: Do you have plans to seek additional venture funding in the near future?
Gordon: Not the near future.
SUB: What have the most significant obstacles been so far to building the company?
Gordon: The most challenging thing that we do is reaching pregnant women when they’re making their baby registry decision.
SUB: How does the company generate revenue or plan to generate revenue?
Gordon: We currently make money through affiliate programs.
SUB: What are your goals for BabyList over the next year or so?
Gordon: Our mission for the next year is to be one of the top three most popular baby registries in the USA.
BabyList – www.babyli.st