This startup began from a friendship. Yu Chunlin earned his fame as a blogger in 2014 for sharing content about child-rearing and family relationships on his WeChat account. He partnered up with his high school classmate Wu Fanghua, who has several years of experience working in the IT industry, to build an online platform. In October 2014, MAMA+ was founded and Wu became its CEO. In December 2014, the company launched davdian.com, a platform for mothers to run their own businesses, network, learn and shop online.
What’s your business model?
We aim to help mothers grow businesses using our platform. After paying a membership fee of RMB 199 (USD 30), mothers can register and open their own stores on the platform. They are responsible for promoting their stores on WeChat, Weibo and other social media platforms and we provide products, warehousing, delivery and after-sales services for them. When a transaction is complete, they will get commission. Right now, we have 200,000 mothers who have opened stores on our platform.
We also provide communities for mothers to make friends and learn at the same time. Our community is called Mama Ketang, which means “lessons for mothers” in English. We invite experts to give lectures on child-rearing and we also provide articles written by professionals or experienced mothers. Those who have paid a membership fee can enjoy our content free of charge, and some content is free to non-members. In the future, mothers who share their child-rearing knowledge with the community can charge readers a small sum to read them, but right now all content is free for members.
Why are you targeting mothers?
We’re seeing a phenomenon in China where mothers who just have given birth to a child or who are staying at home to take care of their children often want to do something to alleviate the family’s financial burden. Some of them have opened a store on Alibaba’s e-commerce platform Taobao.com or run a small shop on WeChat. But very few of them are good sellers. Besides, they have to spend a lot of energy on supply and delivery. So we want to provide a convenient platform for them to make money without being distracted.
Currently, we have more than one million users, including 200,000 members, and we get 500,000 page views daily. By the end of March 2016, we have brought RMB 32 million in revenue to our members. This year, we plan to help them earn RMB 100 million in revenue.
How do you make profit?
Right now, we haven’t made profit yet. But we have no shortage of capital. Shortly after we founded our company, we received angel investment from Angel Plus, established by Yu Minghong, the founder of New Oriental Education & Technology Group Inc., China’s largest provider of private educational services, and Sheng Xitai, a renowned angel investor. So far, we’ve completed four rounds of financing, including a recent Series B+ round of tens of millions of USD led by Steamboat Ventures, LGT and Lightspeed China Partners.
We do have plans to make a profit in the future. We will continue to charge a membership fee. The products being sold online right now is not our source of revenue, but we will profit from these products in the future. We aim to produce products with high profit either on our own or by asking manufacturers to produce them for us.
Any future plans to expand your business?
We’ve never positioned our company as an e-commerce platform. In the future, we will build an ecosystem based on families. As we all know, the world, to some extent, is made up of families.
We sell illustrated books and baby products right now, but we will expand our product categories and services. After we landed Series B+ funding from the Walt Disney Company’s VC arm Steamboat Ventures, we will sell products from Disney, including books, toys, clothes and film tickets. Besides that, we will also cooperate with third parties including kindergartens and travel agencies to provide early education and traveling services to mothers. Our monthly sales number right now is RMB 50 million, but our sales goal this year is to surpass RMB one billion.
(Top photo is a screenshot from davdian.com.)