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EcoMom raises $1.1M for eco-parenting site

Angels Cyan Banister, Dave McClure, Scott Banister, and more invest in healthy-living website

Financial trends and news by Faith Merino
October 7, 2010 | Comments
Short URL: http://vator.tv/n/126f

EcoMom, a website focused on healthier and more environmentally friendly products for families and households, today raised $1.1 million in a Series A round led by Cyan Banister (of Zivity), Dan Gould (of Newroo and Namesake), Scott Banister, Dave McClure, Paige Craig, Sizhao Yang, and David Pell, along with several angels from the Angel List.

When I read articles on all of the foods, products, and daily household items that cause cancer, I usually feel pretty self-assured by reminding myself: “It’s okay, I buy organic eggs and wear sunscreen.  I won’t get cancer.”  And then I think back on my childhood, when my diet consisted almost entirely of Lucky Charms and red dye 40, and when I was really hungry, I would eat condensed Campbell’s soup right out of the can. No water or anything.  And then I realize that it’s not a question of if, but when I will get Alzheimers.

It would have been nice if health- and eco-consciousness was in vogue when I was a kid.  EcoMom offers a broad array of different health- and safety-conscious products for moms and babies, including organic food, household products, toys, bath and body products, clothing, and feeding and nursing items.  

"As a mother, I feel that EcoMom fills a huge market gap," said Cyan Banister in an email. "As soon as you have a little one to look after, your whole world changes. Suddenly you wonder if everything is safe, healthy, ecological and affordable? What can you buy? What shouldn't you buy. That's where EcoMom will come in...Mothers typically have the largest household budgets and buy clothing, food, toys, etc for the family...I see EcoMom becoming a huge player in the ecommerce and information space."

The social angle

So what makes the site different from the plethora of other eco-friendly parenting sites out there, like Eco Child's Play or EcoHearth?  “Green parenting” is pretty chic these days, and lots of lifestyle and health websites have cropped up to get a share of this market.  EcoMom differentiates itself by focusing on a social angle.  With discussion forums, e-commerce, and social shopping, EcoMom describes itself as “’Mommerce’ at its best.”  The website encourages discussions of products and items, and hosts some 1,300 Mommy-bloggers, making the website a comprehensive social/content/ecommerce platform.

It also seems a bit more mainstream than more political or issue-based eco-parenting sites, which the company seems to affirm in its website: “EcoMom.com is about bridging the gap between making healthy choices and making easy choices.”  Translation: all parents want to make healthy and safe choices for their children, but not every parent wants to live off the grid and start a human-composting project.

Since launching this past February, the bootstrapped Los Angeles-based startup has built up an inventory of over 2,000 child and family-related items.

EcoMom CEO Jody Sherman could not be reached for comment, but in a recent interview on “This Week in Startups,” he outlined how he went from being a “Biz-Dev guy” at Lycos to starting EcoMom.

“People used to get together and talk, now we do it online. Once I realized that, I realized that there has to be some audience that was authentically social in the real world and social online. So I came up with two criteria. One was that they were truly social in the way they lived their life, and the other was that they had to be committed to spending money. They had to have a budget. The two groups that were very obvious to me were moms and pet owners. They have very similar characteristics. I happened to be in Whole Foods instead of Petco when I made my choice.”

While the company is not yet profitable, Sherman believes that it will be by the end of next year.  He has also stated that the new financing will be used for site redevelopment, hiring, and customer acquisition. 

Image source: ecomom.com


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