It’s become crystal clear over the past couple of years that Brit Morin, the former Googler who has been dubbed Silicon Valley’s answer to Martha Stewart, is not just another 20-something woman operating a pretty lifestyle blog. Since its late 2011 launch, Brit + Co. has emerged as a full-fledged technology and media company, complete with a staff of 16, more than 100 editorial contributors, its own suite of mobile apps, big name brand partnerships, and an e-commerce arm.
Now Brit + Co. is primed to take all of this to the next level, with the close of a $6.3 million round of funding led by Oak Investment Partners.
The new round, which serves as Brit + Co.’s Series A (the company closed on a $1.25 million seed last year), also included the participation of Index Ventures, Lerer Ventures, Aileen Lee’s Cowboy Ventures, Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer, entrepreneur Karl Jacob, and longtime Facebooker Katie Zacarian.
The Series A also marks the formation of Brit + Co.’s board of directors, which now includes Oak’s Fred Harman, who steered Oak’s quite successful investment in Huffington Post among other big media deals, and iVillage co-founder Tina Sharkey along with Ms. Morin. Also coming on board as advisors are One Kings Lane exec Sascha Jamall and Apple vet Allison Johnson.In an interview this week, Brit Morin told me that the new funding comes on the heels of some pretty impressive growth. “Since this time last year we’ve grown by 11x, and our users are super-duper engaged,” she said. “Out of our monthly uniques, 50 percent come on a weekly basis, and 20 percent on daily basis.”
Since 60 percent of all Brit + Co. visitors access the site through mobile devices, either on one of Brit + Co.’s mobile apps (the company has built native apps for iOS, Android, and Windows devices) or the mobile website, a big focus for the company going forward will be on more fully building out its mobile platform. Also in the works will be expanding Brit + Co.’s social community features.
It’s that Silicon Valley perspective — building solid technology to underlie the content — that Morin says really sets Brit + Co. apart from other players in the lifestyle-driven new media space, from Gwyneth Paltrow’s GOOP and beyond. She put it this way:
“I don’t really know of any other company that’s at the intersection of tech and DIY. I like to say that we see importance in helping people manage their homes just as in helping them manage their homescreens. Today’s millenial digital consumer wants to see order and creativity both online and offline.
It’s important to us that we’re building everything in house. A lot of media companies will outsource [the building of] all their apps, but we take design really seriously. We spend a lot of time thinking about simplified user interfaces, new user experiences, and things like that.”
Not surprisingly, another big focus going forward will be on letting people purchase more DIY-maker-meets-techie-meets-fashion stuff through its platform. “A big portion of the new funds will go into creating a bigger strategy around commerce,” Morin said.
But there is no rush to that front, as Morin points out that Brit + Co. has already been making money through day one. “We make money through partnerships, advertising, events, subscription commerce, premium services like the custom domains on Weduary,” she said. “That diversified revenue model we have is appealing to a lot of investors.”
That appeal is certainly evident with today’s news. It’ll be exciting to see where Brit goes in the months ahead.