From Match.com to Marketplaces
Episode 22
October 6, 2020

From Match.com to Marketplaces

with Fran Maier, Founder & CEO of Babyquip

Founded in 2016, Babyquip is the world's leading baby gear rental service delivering clean quality baby gear items, from car seats to strollers and more, to traveling families throughout the US and Canada. In this episode, Fran Maier, Founder and CEO, shares with us her experience as a serial entrepreneur from building and selling Match.com in the late nineties, to raising $10 million to transform Trustee from a nonprofit organization into the leading privacy compliance provider now known as TrustArc. We talk about her recent appearance on Shark Tank with her son and CTO, Joe, and how being an early adopter of Airbnb inspired her to lead Babyquip.

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In This Episode You’ll Hear About:

  • How growing up in the creative city of Sante Fe provided the fertile ground of learning to think outside the box 
  • How her airline stewardess mother and businessman father inspired her growing up
  • Her first business startup on campus at Stanford where she ran a yogurt and pizza shop while studying both English and Policy
  • Her experience at Stanford business school after working in consulting and her shift to focus on marketing
  • Why her time at Clorox after graduating from business school was a rich time of learning and growing in marketing 
  • How her work at AAA helped her learn the power of membership branding
  • How an encounter at a business school reunion led to her leaving AAA and working to build Match.com 
  • How her time at Match.com gave her lots of meaningful impact and a few great claims to fame 
  • How, in her work as CEO of Trustee, she turned the company around from nonprofit to for-profit status and led a successful fundraising round
  • How her downtime in San Francisco as an Airbnb host led to her involvement with a Women’s start-up lab, and eventually to the founding of Babyquip in 2016
  • Why their Shark Tank episode airing at the cusp of the COVID shut down was still successful and helped push them through to gain another investor during the quarantine period
  • What’s ahead and the advice Fran has for aspiring entrepreneurs


To Find Out More:

Babyquip.com


Quotes:

“And honestly, as a female entrepreneur, my number one thing is to be confident.”

“One time I was watching a television show with my then pre-teen son, and it was about how many relationships started online and he looks at me says, "Mom, you made that happen.’"

“It usually has to go back to who's running the joint and whether or not they want these team dynamics to work out or not. And whether or not they set up a culture that rewards teamwork or rewards the bigger voice of the room.”

“So it was tough to turn things around, but when you're down, and much like we are now, you take risks, you make moves because what do you really have to lose?”

“What it comes down to honestly, many times is you need a support network because those things do happen.”

“There needs to be more money for women. Honestly, more women need to get very rich because that's the only way the money will really flow down to younger entrepreneurs.”

“I think brand values made a big difference here, and we're very focused on who we're helping, which is not just the families, but the moms who are delivering and cleaning the gear.”

“Look, if it's in your blood, you're going to do it and you're gonna find a way. So we can't be afraid to sort of pivot and test.”

“The challenges are a feature, not a bug.”

“Team and team dynamics are really critical. It's easy to get those wrong and it's hard to fix it.”

“I think for women in particular, if you're going after the female market, embrace it. Don't apologize for it.” 

“One of the things I always like is when you build a company, you're providing jobs for people. And that's a pretty awesome responsibility.”


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