Today, baby registration and product discovery platform Baby list announced that it has acquired a health and wellness tool Expectant for an unknown price. The deal, announced today, brings together two companies focused on parental support that are now helping people navigate everything from eco-friendly diapers to mental wellbeing around fertility.
The overlap, however, lies in more than the mission. Both company CEOs invested in each other’s latest venture capital round; CEO and founder of Babylist Natalie Gordon wrote a check for Expectful’s $3 million seed round in 2021; and future CEO Natalie Walton invested in the latest round of Babylist, a $40 million Series C that closed the same year.
And while the two founders haven’t publicly disclosed the purchase price, both certainly have venture capitalists to answer to. Babylist has raised $50 million in known funding from investors including Norwest Venture Partners, Halogen Ventures, 500 Global, Next Play Capital and Marcy Venture Partners. Expectful has raised more than $4.2 million in funding from investors including Harlem Capital. Indicator Ventures, Sequoia Scout Fund, Break Trail Ventures and Chinagona Ventures.
The long-term vision for the newly merged company is for Babylist to change its relationship with its audience and become a larger health and wellness media property, Gordon said. While Expectful will remain a standalone website, Gordon hinted that much of its content will eventually be freely accessible – different from the currently advertised subscriber-focused business model.
“Having a baby is so amazing — it’s also overwhelming and isolating,” Gordon said. “When you talk to people who are going through this, the stuff is one thing, but really their physical and mental and emotional health are much more important.” Expectful, she said, allows the company to talk to its audience in a way that doesn’t make sense to the tech-driven registry side of the business.
Babylist’s eye for expansion can be partly attributed to sales growth; the company grossed more than $240 million in 2021 revenue, though it did not officially share 2022 revenue. According to the company, more than eight million people have made purchases from Babylist in the past year.
Walton went from an Expectful user to a CEO in less than a year. She first joined Expectful as a consultant, seeing it as an opportunity to be entrepreneurial, despite giving birth to her son just weeks prior to a stressful pregnancy. Soon, Expectful’s then-CEO and founder, Mark Krassner, saw her as a key figure in leading the company as it pivoted its product strategy to grow beyond registered meditations. In an earlier interview, Walton described Expectful’s plan to emulate Peloton’s playbook of matching premium content with the community.
Now the entrepreneur remains with Babylist as a board advisor. She says she always saw the company’s exit as a merger with a partner in the digital health space.
“This acquisition allows us to have a much greater impact than if we even focused on revenue,” said Walton. “Women need our products and they need our solution now. We don’t have time to wait to go down that path. Let’s just continue to increase sales and have an IPO — it was more of, let’s prioritizing impact, and I don’t think enough startups think that way.