LOS ANGELES, April 25, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- Soleil Moon Frye and Kara Nortman have launched a new startup company Moonfrye, securing $2.5 million in funding led by GRP Partners with participation from Greycroft, Daher Capital, and Google Ventures. Moonfrye is focused on bringing creative experiences to families both online and off.
Nortman is the Chief Executive Officer and Frye is the Chief Creative Officer of the venture. Advisors include some of Silicon Valley's biggest luminaries including Dan Rosensweig, Tim Ferriss, Randi Zuckerberg, Gina Bianchini, Erik Lammerding and Rick Marini.
Moonfrye's unique commerce model is based on providing a mobile-to-real-world experience for parents and their children.
Building on the moonfrye.com online community, launched several years ago by Soleil to share with her large online social community (1.5 million Twitter followers and more than 500, 000 on Facebook), the company will focus on the crafting and DIY ("do-it-yourself") market by launching a mobile app dedicated to inspiring creativity in families.
"As my most important role in life is being a mom, it was clear to me that parents around the world were looking for cost effective activities where their families could come together and create meaningful experiences both online and off," said Soleil Moon Frye.
The funding round was led by LA's largest venture capital fund, GRP Partners. "My job as an early-stage VC is to find the most talented entrepreneurs with big ideas and who have a passion for a product that is authentic to them. I can't think of a better team to describe this than Kara & Soleil," said Mark Suster.
The venture was hatched from an authentic need Soleil and Kara felt themselves as mothers of young children. They bonded over shared anxiety points they both felt to keep their children actively entertained while stimulating their creativity, as well as preserving the important moments of their children's lives in a meaningful way.
"There's a restored interest in craftsmanship and DIY. It's a refreshing change from the reliance on ready-made goods," said Kevin Rose, General Partner at Google Ventures. "Combining real world experiences with digital tools creates a lot of interesting possibilities when put in the hands of moms and families, and Soleil and Kara have an inspiring vision to bring that to life."
The two working moms realized that they shared a passion for supporting creative experiences that engage parents and kids alike. The result would later become Moonfrye's mission, "A Right to Play" --the company's philosophy that children and parents should be able to create and share in innovative ways, favoring process over outcome. They both revel in the chaos of parenthood and believe there is a large market for parents looking to embrace journey over the exact destination.
"Our product has a unique, innovative design that is going to be a game-changer for providing parents and children with a shared creative outlet," said Nortman. "If moms are shutting off passive entertainment in favor of engaging their kids actively on mobile devices then we have made our small dent on society."
Nortman most recently ran IAC-owned Citygrid Media's Consumer Businesses (Citysearch, and Urbanspoon) which serves 35 million consumers per month. Prior to that, Nortman served as IAC's Vice President of Mergers and Acquisitions. She is a graduate of Princeton and received her MBA from Stanford.
Before launching Moonfrye.com, Soleil co-founded the first eco friendly baby store in LA, The Little Seed, and designed a product line for Target. She is currently "Target's Mommy Ambassador" as well as a regular contributor to The Today Show. Frye advises on a handful of prominent tech companies and has authored two books, "Happy Chaos," and "Let's Get This Party Started," a party planning book filled with crafts, recipes, fun, and affordable DIY ideas for parents, due to be released by Abrams in October.
"Kara and Soleil have real vision and an innate talent for building communities. This company has all the makings of an heirloom brand. I'm thrilled to be involved," said Tim Ferriss.
Visit Moonfrye.com to sign up and get early access to the app.
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GRP Partners is the largest VC in Los Angeles. It was founded in 1996 with the mission to help entrepreneurs achieve their goals of building big, transformative businesses. The partners of GRP have been involved with many startups over the years, of which 15 stand out companies have achieved exit valuations above $1 billion. Some of the firm's notable investments include Overture, CitySearch, TrueCar, BillMeLater, ZestFinance, and Maker Studios.
Greycroft Partners is a leading early stage venture capital firm focused on investments in digital media. With offices in the two media capitals of the world – New York and Los Angeles, Greycroft is uniquely positioned to serve entrepreneurs who have chosen us as their partners. Greycroft leverages an extensive network of media and technology industry connections to help entrepreneurs gain visibility, build strategic relationships, successfully bring their products to market, and build successful businesses. Greycroft manages $400MM and has made over 75 investments in leading companies including Babble, Buddy Media, Collective, Huffington Post, Klout, M5 Networks, Maker Studios, Paid Content, Pulse, and Trunk Club.
For more information please visit the Greycroft Partners website at www.greycroft.com.