Will Investors Say 'I Do' to This Wedding Start-up?
BY J.J. McCorvey
WeddingLovely cuts the stress out of wedding planning for couples. Now it's trying to make investors fall in love with its vision.
Stress Relievers: WeddingLovely co-founders Julia Grace (left) and Tracy Osborn.
The Pitch: "Weddings are romantic, sentimental events, but wedding planning is very often a stressful undertaking. Most of the stress comes from information overload, which leads to confusion and indecision. For a monthly subscription fee, WeddingLovely cuts down the noise with a guided online wedding-planning experience, sending timely e-mails with to-do lists, and tailoring advice and suggestions to help streamline decision making. Couples are connected to a network of curated wedding vendors to quickly and easily find services in their budget, location, and style. In addition, couples can share their planning progress with friends and family through an automatically created wedding website. We're raising money to expand our team and to fund sales and marketing."
CO-FOUNDERS: Julia Grace and Tracy Osborn
LOCATION: Mountain View, California
FOUNDED: November 2010
PRODUCT LAUNCH: January 2011; mobile app scheduled for summer 2012
2012 PROJECTED REVENUE: $50,000
REGISTERED USERS: 250
SUBSCRIPTION COST: $14.99 per month
COST TO VENDORS: Free for basic listing; $25 per month for an upgraded account
PREVIOUS FUNDING: $50,000 from 500 Startups
FUNDING SOUGHT: $250,000
BECOME WEDDING GURUS There are many planning opportunities involved with a wedding, such as the reception and the honeymoon, so there is a lot of money to be made here. I'm surprised Grace and Osborn think they can do only $50,000 this year. The first key to their success is having a deep understanding of how the wedding industry works. They should interview wedding planners and ask them about the most painful things about planning a wedding and focus on those areas. The other key is the technology: Cloud and mobile apps should be a priority.
MATT McILWAIN, managing director Madrona Venture Group Seattle
DITCH THE SUBSCRIPTION FEE The wedding market is a fruitful pond to go fishing in. However, there's a lot of competition in the market and a lot of free apps that offer wedding planning. It might make more sense to lose the subscription fee and offer the service for free as a way to draw consumers in. WeddingLovely could then generate revenue based on connecting them to vendors. Given the competitive landscape, I don't think our fund would invest, but WeddingLovely might produce some good returns for an angel investor.
PATRICIA NAKACHE, general partner Trinity Ventures Menlo Park, California
MAKE IT PERSONAL People want their wedding to be a unique and personal experience. The game-changing solution is to come up with ways to help customize Wedding-Lovely's offering and add a human element. Maybe Grace and Osborn could get a wedding expert to spend time with customers on the phone or crowdsource ideas personalized to the wedding location. I think $250,000 is a reasonable amount to start with. I'd consider this investment if Grace and Osborn developed some cost-effective methods of getting customers.
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