Kara Swisher

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FamilyFinds: Discount Deals Site Aimed at Families Launches With $5.75 Million Funding

Even as Groupon is poised to sell itself to Google for badillions of dollars, the attack of the social buying clones continues.

Today, it is the launch of FamilyFinds, a Santa Monica, Calif., start-up aimed at offering daily deals to families, with $5.75 million in funding to help it get going.

“Think relevance, plus an explosive market plus a great team,” said FamilyFinds CEO Matt Coffin, in an interview yesterday about the new site, whose first “holi-deal” today is “$10 Only-in-LA Santa Photos.”

Others to come include kid-focused live shows, skate rentals and holiday cruises that Coffin said are “hyper-local and demographically targeted.”

Coffin said, as a longtime entrepreneur, he was intrigued with the booming social e-commerce space. But, as a parent, he was less impressed, because of little in the way of personalization.

“I was somewhat disenchanted by the same offers that did not target me accurately,” he said.

(So is BoomTown, who is going to scream if I get another spa treatment or stripper pole lesson offer this week. Not that there’s anything wrong with that.)

Thus, Coffin said FamilyFinds drills down on one audience–those who need to entertain and serve the little ones.

The former founder of LowerMyBills co-founded FamilyFinds with, among others, a blast from the Web 1.0 past: Former Disney Internet Group head Jake Winebaum.

At launch, FamilyFinds said it will focus on numerous communities across Los Angeles, although a national rollout is coming in 2011.

Split Rock Partners provided the Series A funding.

Here’s the official FamilyFinds press release:


Backed by $5.75 Million Investment, Leading Internet Veterans
Launch Vertical Family Daily Deal Site

(Santa Monica, CA) December 1, 2010–FamilyFinds, an online daily promotions site exclusively focused on services and experiences for families, officially launched today. This community-suggested and expert-curated destination advances the online daily deal space by combining a family focus with hyper-local geo targeting. The company also announced that it recently closed on a $5.75M Series A funding round backed by Split Rock Partners, strongly positioning them to be involved in of one of the fastest growing industries of all time.

FamilyFinds is led by Internet industry veterans who founded and ran several successful consumer businesses valued at over $1 billion, including the founder of FamilyFun magazine, who also ran the Disney Internet Group, and the founder of LowerMyBills. The team, all of them now parents, have created an online destination that will not only offer member families great deals on new and favorite neighborhood merchants, but will also provide information and resources to help them discover the best family activities in their own and nearby communities.

According to a recent study of moms*, over 70% use the Internet to find deals and discounts (the most popular activity) and 62% go online for entertainment and family activities. FamilyFinds addresses this trend by directly creating a single destination for moms and dads seeking deals and family activity ideas.

“Families, local and national brands, and member-based deals is a great combination for a big vertically focused business, and one that we believe is untapped,” said Matt Coffin, chief executive officer, FamilyFinds.com. “As parents and consumers ourselves, we know the key to unlocking this market is relevance, which means being local, curating deals and fun discoveries that create family memories, and delivering great value-based pricing.”

Through consumer testing and an early beta, FamilyFinds learned that consumer demand, especially for busy families, while value influenced, is also heavily influenced by proximity to the merchant. The company will follow a hyper-local model, offering great finds not just within specific cities around the United States, but within specific neighborhoods. For launch, prior to the nationwide roll-out in 2011, FamilyFinds will serve numerous communities across Los Angeles, including neighborhoods in the Valley, Pasadena, South Bay, City Central, and the Westside.

“We know that moms and families are social and use the Internet not just to find great opportunities for themselves, but also to share and coordinate these opportunities and their experiences with other families, friends and neighbors,: said Brian Barnum, president. “FamilyFinds is building a social layer over everything we do to infuse our core value proposition with insight and access to the larger community of families in our customers’ extended networks.”

FamilyFinds is the collaborative effort of Internet industry veterans and parents, including:

• CEO Matt Coffin, founder of LowerMyBills.com (sold to Experian) and active Internet investor including Demand Media, Buscape (sold), Rubicon Project, Mahalo, Machinima and social eCommerce companies Hautelook, ShoeDazzle and ecoMom.

• Jake Winebaum, who was co-founder of eCompanies, which launched Business.com, Jamdat and Boingo, and founder of FamilyFun magazine and led Disney’s entry to the Internet as Chairman of the Disney Internet Group.

• Doug Hirsch, who was VP of Product at Facebook, GM Yahoo Entertainment and Founder of DailyStrength.org.

• President Brian Barnum who was the President of RHD Interactive (a division of R.H. Donnelly, now Dex One Corp.) and both COO and CFO of Business.com and CFO of Rent.com (sold to eBay).

• Leading content and merchandising is Elizabeth Hurchalla, previous editor of BlackboardEats and co-founding producer of Yahoo! Food.

• Leading editorial is Julie Taylor, previous editor-in-chief at Momlogic.

• Leading sales is Terry McGovern, previous Director of Interactive Sales at Los Angeles Times and sales at AT&T local

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