Cricket’s Circle, an online baby registry site that aims to not only offer a selection of items to buy, but also recommendations on what you should buy and why, has now closed on $2.25 million in seed funding to continue to grow its business. The round was co-led by West Coast and East Coast investors, Forerunner Ventures and Lerer Hippeau Ventures, respectively.
Also participating were General Catalyst and BoxGroup.
The site was founded by entrepreneur Rachel Blumenthal, a parent herself, as well as a wife and adviser to Warby Parker co-founder Neil Blumenthal. It first launched to the public in January of last year, offering some 600 products across a number of categories, like strollers, diaper pails, bottles, and bibs. Today, the site has around 1,000 products, including color variations.
Blumenthal explained at the time that the idea for the site occurred to her because of the confusion many new moms in particular have over all these baby product buying decisions. In fact, she says there are around 150 different buying decisions that have to be made within baby’s first year, which can be overwhelming.
Cricket’s Circle aims to simplify the matter by only offering three recommendations for each item, based on reviews from the site’s “mom community,” which is a group of 200 or so women who have tested and rated the products in question. Each product also includes a list of pros and cons to help inform consumers’ choices.
Women can either browse the site for recommendations, start a registry of their own, or find a friend’s registry to get ideas about what to purchase for an upcoming baby shower or birthday party.
While initially a product recommendation site paired with editorial, Cricket’s Circle expanded to implement full e-commerce capabilities a year after its debut. This will eventually allow it to receive commissions on products customers buy from the site, though it hasn’t yet begun to book that revenue.
The site is now seeing its subscriber base increasing by 30.25 percent month-over-month, with users spending 4.5 minutes on the site, on average. Subscriber retention, meanwhile, is 99.7 percent – though arguably, many of these new users will eventually drop off as their child ages (unless the site expands into older kids’ gear, too).
The company declined to provide hard user numbers or sales figures, however.
With the additional funding, Cricket’s Circle plans to work on improving its personalization technology, meaning it wants its recommendations to not only be based on what the community believes is best, but also include those that align the product with the consumer’s lifestyle and the age of their babies and children. By gathering this data on its customers before kids are even born in some cases, that leaves the door open for Cricket’s Circle to grow with its customer base over months ahead.
Though there’s no shortage of people having children to cater to through personalized e-commerce, Cricket’s Circle is more narrowly focused on a sort of upper middle-class customer – the same sort of mom who is paying for eco-friendly products at companies like Jessica Alba’s Honest.com, for example.
It’s also tapping into the new mom’s uncertainly and their desire to buy the best in order to recommend pricier products – like a $100 changing pad – a product that experienced moms will tell you doesn’t get used as often as you’d think. (It’s surprising how regularly baby gets changed on the bed or the floor, instead of the nursery, as it turns out.)
That said, it’s hard to debate the quality of the items on the site, even if some – like bath kneelers or stroller handmuffs – seem a bit superfluous to the everyday mom’s needs.
Now a team of six full-time, Cricket’s Circle is adding another 4 to 5 senior hires in the next few months to help in areas of product, business development and operations.