For brides-to-be, there are no shortage of online wedding and honeymoon registries to help register for physical gifts or cash, from Wedding Republic to Knack to SimpleRegistry. Once the wedding is over, often the next milestone is having a baby, and startup BabyList is picking up where wedding registries leave off with its online baby registry.
The company launched in early 2011, and since then over 7,000 women have created a registry, with over 350,000 items added to those registries and over $1.8 million in gifts purchased. The company announced today it has been accepted to the next class of startup accelerator 500 Startups, which started in early October. Former Amazon software developer Natalie Gordon started the company while she was pregnant and looking for a way to register for gifts online.
“It was just scratching my own itch and saying what exactly would I want to have this look like,” she said, adding that she launched the site on Hacker News as a side project, and after women started using it she decided to work on it full-time. “I think that pregnant women are such an interesting market, they’re such an interesting group, so when you’re able to just focus on pregnant women I think you can do a lot of interesting things.”
Rather than allow users to create cash registries like some online registries, BabyList users register for actual items by installing a browser bookmarklet. As they browse ecommerce sites, users add products from any website, pulling in a photo, and adding the price and quantity they want. Users then send the list out to baby shower attendees, who can browse the items, reserve items by entering their name and email, and purchase the items online via the original retailer.
Right now the company makes money through affiliate fees, collecting a portion of each sale resulting from a BabyList registry, but Gordon said they’ll be adding other revenue streams down the line. Gordon said that she’s also looking to partner with other startups and companies in the pregnancy space to co-promote. “Part of the focus that I’m really excited about are partnerships and apps that are useful to all pregnant women, and that will help spread the word about BabyList,” she said.
Gordon is also working on a personalized registry checklist, so expectant moms could provide information on their lifestyle and get a personalized list of things they should register for. Gordon said they have no plans to add a cash component to the registry, since most baby showers involve physical presents as opposed to monetary gifts.
Gordon said that they’ll be focused on user acquisition throughout the 500 Startups process, and that they’re also planning to launch a Canadian version of the site in the next six months.
BabyList will face the same user acquisition problem that bridal startups do: the nature of the customer means that they don’t often have repeat customers (usually baby showers are only held for the first child). Gordon said eventually she sees it being a way to register for any milestone in a child’s life, from birthdays to holidays, which could solve the problem of losing users after they hold their baby shower. If the company can leverage word of mouth among expectant mothers, while also building out its revenue streams and partnerships with other pregnancy-focused brands, it could be the go-to choice for expectant moms.