Since starring in the popular 1980s kids show Punky Brewster, Soleil Moon Frye has dabbled in acting, directing, and screenwriting. Today, ‘Internet entrepreneur’ adds to that list with the announcement that she is launching a startup backed with $2.5 million in venture capital.
Moonfrye is a not-yet-released mobile application that features kid-friendly project ideas and connects parents with the materials needed to execute them. Many parents want to keep their children engaged with creative, interactive activities, but they don’t necessarily have the time or resources to come up with ideas. Moonfrye provides the inspiration and tools to make this happen in one, easy-to-access place.
“Both mothers of young kids, Soleil and I initially connected around shared anxiety points,” said founder and CEO Kara Nortman in an email. “We discussed regular moments in our lives when we wished we had readily available, real-world activities that are easily accessible, intuitive and make parents feel good about being parents.”
Moon Frye has been a self-described “momtrepreneur” for years. She opened an eco-friendly children’s boutique in L.A., served as Target’s “Mommy Ambassador,” authored two books for parentings on do-it-yourself projects, and built a large online parenting community called Moonfrye.com. The mobile app builds off the website, which features arts-and-crafts project ideas in a Pinterest-style format. Nortman comes to Moonfrye after years working at IAC, a large Internet corporation with a network of over 150 brands.
“We are tapping into the next wave of commerce innovation and revolutionizing the way families create,” Nortman said. “We are developing an experience in which the creative process begins online and continues offline. We have the great fortune of building a commerce experience on top of a great community and will have the community guide our experience every step of the way.”
Moon Frye has a significant following, with 1.4 million Twitter followers, 500,000 Facebook followers and friends, and she regularly contributes to The Today Show about crafts, food ideas, and tech gadgets. Most of these initiatives are geared around inspiring parents to actively engage with their children in hands-on activities, and the mobile app will provide actionable tools to make them happen.
This vision is shared by a group of well-known investors, who see the power in both the DIY movement and products targeting the mommy market. GRP Partners led this seed round, with participation from Greycroft, Daher Capital and Google Ventures. Advisors inlude Dan Rosensweig, Tim Ferriss, Randi Zuckerberg, Gina Bianchini, Erik Lammerding and Rick Marini.
Photo Credit: Moonfrye.com/Wikimedia Commons
VentureBeat’s VB Insight team is studying email marketing tools.
Chime in here, and we’ll share the results