Deals

Shopping startup EcoMom raises $2M from Facebook exec and others

baby foodEcoMom, a site where moms can shop for healthy and environmentally-friendly goods, just raised $2 million in a first round of funding.

The Los Angeles startup first announced $1.1 million of financing in October, but by the time the round closed last week, the amount of money had nearly doubled. New backers include Facebook vice president Chamath Palihapitiya and Google evangelist Don Dodge.

The site first launched in February 2009 under the name SproutBaby, then in May of this year the company rebranded as EcoMom. It sells baby food, diapers, toys, clothing, and more.

In discussing the site, co-founder and chief executive Jody Sherman compared it to Zappos, the popular shoe shopping site that was eventually acquired by Amazon. Just as Zappos differentiated itself from other shopping sites by providing a high-end experience around shoes, Sherman said EcoMom can compete against retailers like Diapers.com by offering “really thoughtful curation of our site and deep, deep understanding of our product.”

In other words, when a parent visits EcoMom, they know that every product is going to be safe for their family, Sherman said. He added that while environmental consciousness is still part of the company’s branding (hey, it’s in the name), he’s putting a bigger emphasis on safety, health, and affordability, which allows him to reach a broad audience of shoppers.

Sherman said investors were attracted, in part, by EcoMom’s numbers. The site receives around 40,000 unique visitors each month. More than 10 percent of those visitors converting into actual purchases, and 30 percent of the purchases each month come from return visitors. Word is spreading about the site, because there are more than 1,500 bloggers regularly reviewing EcoMom products.

For the funding, Sherman said he was particularly interested in bringing on investors with connections to Facebook, Google, and Twitter — in part because that’s where he can find new shoppers, but also because EcoMom plans to launch a new version in February featuring more social features.

Other investors include Cyan and Scott Banister, 500 Startups’ Dave McClure, Paige Craig, Sizhao Yang, Kima Ventures, David Pell, Fabrice Grinda, Jose Marin, and an unnamed venture fund that Sherman said will be announced in January.

[image via Flickr/jencu]