BabyQuip, Match Co-Founder’s Newest Venture, Attracts Investors to Fuel Significant Brand Expansion
[Fran Maier, CEO and Founder of BabyQuip during BabyQuip’s Shark Tank appearance]
Santa Fe, New Mexico (April 26, 2022) – BabyQuip, the #1 baby gear rental marketplace delivering clean, insured, and quality equipment to families on-the-go in over 900 locations in the U.S., Canada and beyond, today announced it has closed $3.4 million in new funding. This latest seed round included venture capital firm How Women Invest and existing investment group Thorney, along with SeedInvest and others.
The funding will serve to accelerate international expansion plans that include capturing key travel markets in Mexico and the Caribbean, forming new hospitality partnerships, and expanding into new services. BabyQuip will also use the capital to fuel product and technology innovation, including a mobile app for customers. In addition, it will help scale the company’s various marketing initiatives and proprietary backend platform for its vetted network of over 1,000 rental and cleaning contractors, called Quality Providers.
Launched in 2016, BabyQuip is the only national marketplace for baby gear rentals and has far outpaced its competitors, which are mostly regional and mom ’n pop companies. Founded by Fran Maier, also co-founder of Match and founder of TRUSTe (now TrustArc), BabyQuip gives families access to trusted baby gear through the popular sharing economy model. The platform is powered by its Quality Providers (mostly moms) who are using their own inventory to build, launch and grow their baby gear rental businesses with the help of BabyQuip’s marketing and tech expertise. BabyQuip continues to expand its Quality Provider community during a time when many businesses are struggling to add and keep their workforce.
By taking advantage of the now booming travel industry and the growing consumer comfort with the sharing economy, BabyQuip debuted on the 2022 a16z Marketplace 100 List, at #89 – the list is a ranking of the largest consumer-facing marketplace startups and private companies based on 2021 data. The growth continues with BabyQuip’s Q1, 2022 bookings up 235% vs. Q1 2021. The platform maintains a Net Promoter Score of 94 and has garnered over 30,000 5-star reviews.
“With this new funding, we are in a position to satisfy the growing demand for our services, as families are eager to start traveling and making memories again. I’m also thrilled that our Quality Providers are finding a successful gig-economy opportunity through BabyQuip that works for them and their families,” said Fran Maier, CEO of BabyQuip.
As the only national brand, the company has formed strategic partners with hospitality companies including Destination by Hyatt, Vrbo, Kayak, RVshare, Hostfully, Xplorie, Guesty, and more. In addition to the investments from How Women Invest and Thorney, over 40 Quality Providers from the BabyQuip community participated in this round of seed funding through SeedInvest.
With this new investment round, BabyQuip’s funding has raised $8.5 million in total, a testament to its tremendous potential in the areas of parenting, travel, financial empowerment, and sharing economy ethos. Previous rounds of funding have included returning investor Thorney, Startup Capital Ventures, Quake Ventures, Theresia Gouw, Jillian Manus, SBI- SUBARU, Rob Chesnut, and other high-profile Angels and participants.
“BabyQuip has the perfect combination of real traction, experienced leadership, rock solid partnerships, and a huge addressable market without a lot of credible competition to make our investment a no-brainer,” said Julie Castro Abrams, CEO of How Women Invest.
Alex Waislitz, Thorney’s Executive Chairman, commented, "We have invested in multiple rounds for BabyQuip as it meets many of our most important investment criteria: it provides a much needed and cost-effective service for families, provides a source of income and involvement for the independent providers who work with it, and is driven by a passionate and visionary founder and team."
Rob Chesnut, BabyQuip investor and former general counsel of Airbnb, added, “BabyQuip is a powerful idea fueled by a passionate family community. It elegantly solves the problem of how to travel with small children, without carting around all the gear. The BabyQuip team is delivering and I’m thrilled to be part of it.”
For more information, visit www.BabyQuip.com.
Founded in May 2016, BabyQuip helps families "Pack Light & Travel Happy" to over 900 locations in the US, Canada and beyond. BabyQuip delivers thousands of clean, safe and insured baby gear items to families who don't want to haul bulky gear while traveling. Its newest service, BabyQuip Cleaning, offers professional baby gear cleaning services for local families and businesses who don’t have the time or tools to do it themselves. As a managed marketplace, the BabyQuip platform enables its community of over 1000+ independent Quality Providers the opportunity to build a business renting and cleaning baby gear on the BabyQuip platform. Strategic BabyQuip partnerships include Destination by Hyatt, XPlorie, Guesty and Vrbo, among others. BabyQuip appeared on the ABC hit show, Shark Tank in March, 2020. For more information, visit www.BabyQuip.com or connect @babyquip.
Kristina Godfrey, Godfrey Sanders PR