We first heard about Babbaco from my friend Sam Yagan – the founder of OkCupid and Excelerate Labs, an incubator in Chicago. Sam has been a friend of the firm for a long time, and as an excellent serial entrepreneur, I really pay attention when he sends founders our way.
As a product, Babbaco is exactly what I want. Busy parents aspire to be great parents – we want the time with our kids to count. I don’t want just throw on Ni Hao Kai Lan or take our kids to the same park they go to every single day. But it takes work (and training) to come up with creative, fun, and enriching experiences that I can share with my daughter spontenously.
That’s the beauty of Babbaco’s new product, the Babba Box. It’s a subscription service that comes filled with all the material that I need to engage with my kids in an enriching way. The boxes are designed to be age-appropriate and include a collection of items including materials for crafts, digital downloads, unique books, and even a Mommy gift. I kid you not – just yesterday, my 2.5 year old daughter walked over to me while I was plopped down on the couch and said “Let’s play with Babba Box!” That’s a pretty good testimonial.
We’re big fans of subscription commerce as an innovative new way to buy goods in certain categories. As I’ve blogged about before, the big winners in subscription commerce will be areas where there are some network effects and barriers to entry. Babbaco has some terrific plans around these – I think it’s easy to imagine what they may be since the parenting vertical is so inherently social.
But, as with pretty much all of our investments, the biggest draw is the entrepreneur. Jessica Kim is truly an authentic founder. She started her first company Jessica’s Wonders as a 19-year-old student at Brown, which she ran for 5 years before selling it to a leading supermarket chain. She then attended Kellogg and spent time at Kraft before having kids of her own.
During her maternity leave, Jessica saw needs for physical products that didn’t exist. So she created them and built a following around her products for kids that were “Simple, Functional, and Super Cute”. She joined the Excelerate program to explore opportunities to more quickly scale her business, and in early meetings with mentors in the program like Paul Lee, decided to focus on a subscription offering around enrichment and activities.
Words don’t quite describe the product well enough or the magnetism of this founder – so check out the site and watch Jessica describe what Babbaco is all about.
Babbaco is just getting started, but we’re excited to be involved and thrilled that Jessica is moving to Boston to build a great company. Stay tuned for much more in the coming months.