Poshbrood helps parents plan upscale getaways, with kids in tow. Will investors tag along for a $500,000 ride?
Kid Tested, Mother Approved On the job with Poshbrood founder Elizabeth Thorp and her three daughters.
Founder: Elizabeth Thorp
Location: Washington, D.C.
Founded: October 2010
2011 Revenue: $11,289
Number of e-mail subscribers: 4,500
Number of destinations reviewed: 96
Travel reservations made: 52
Previous funding: $80,000 from angel investors
Funding sought: $500,000
"Researching family activities and travel is one of the top three reasons moms go online, but when they Google family hotels, they get pages of ubiquitous Disney deals. Poshbrood.com fills a need by providing a free, curated catalog of upscale, family-friendly hotels, resorts, and villas—all mom tested by bloggers we send to personally experience each property. Our reviews are also sent to subscribers in a biweekly newsletter. We are now a Virtuoso affiliate, so we receive commissions for booking travel. We are seeking funding to increase our travel and hospitality sponsors, launch a membership program, and develop a mobile app."
The Experts Weigh In
Mind the Details
With family travel, moms drive most of the decisions. But the travel category is crowded, and there are already publications that review upscale properties. Poshbrood should consider the opportunity it has to differentiate itself. Moms want to know details: Do I have to worry about peanut allergies? Is the surf so strong that kids can't swim in it? If subscribers aren't growing by 50 percent month over month, Poshbrood should ask itself if there's a better way to communicate the value it's providing. —Aileen Lee, partner, Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, Menlo Park, California
Diversify Your Revenue
I would use the $500,000 to decide how to monetize and scale the business. Poshbrood could market itself as an online travel agent and focus on commissions. If it could find the top bed-and-breakfasts moms are searching for and approach the businesses directly, it could get healthy, double-digit margins with commissions. Another option is to develop a model for transferring traffic directly to airline or hotel sites, like Kayak, and get paid affiliate fees. We would consider an investment in Poshbrood, but at a later stage. —Vispi Daver, partner, Sierra Ventures, Menlo Park, California
I like that Poshbrood focuses on a high-end demographic, but it has got to scale, or it is going to struggle to get attention. If it goes to these hotels and says, "We've got a list of 4,500 subscribers," they're going to say, "Call me when you've got a million." One option to consider is e-mail promotions with other companies focused on the same demographic, like high-end children's clothing retailers, to get more subscribers. Right now, Poshbrood feels too small for VC-style funding. —Matt McIlwain, Managing director, Madrona Venture Group, Seattle
J.J. MCCORVEY is a reporter at Inc. magazine, where he covers a wide range of topics, including technology and business research. He has covered metro news for The Detroit News, and his work has been featured in Men's Fitness. @jmccorvey