Most of the sites out there that focus on women divide the fairer gender into verticals: moms, singles, divorced, fitness junkies, fashionistas, foodies. Note to self: women are not only capable of multitasking. They are also capable of having more than one interest at a time.
Which is what makes PureWow pure wow.
PureWow is a digital publication dedicated to finding ways to make women’s lives more interestingand manageable, by covering the breadth of women’s lifestyles: fashion, beauty, home, arts and culture, money, tech, food and travel.
“’Elevate the Everyday,’(which is the sites motto) drives us to deliver irresistible discoveries to our readers every single day,” says Founder and CEO Ryan Harwood, who talks about the funding, and his must-read destination for Upper Millenials and Gen Xers who are looking for quality – and varied – lifestyle content.
(And speaking of pure wow, that pretty accurately describes the group of investors who contributed to this round.)
Who were your investors and how much did you raise?
The investors included Bob Pittman’s Pilot Group, VaynerRSE, LererHippeau Ventures, Pritzker Group Venture Capital, Great Oaks Venture Capital, Melo7Tech (Carmelo Anthony’s Tech Fund), Galvanize, and individuals such as Andy Dunn (CEO/Founder of Bonobos) and Whoopi Goldberg.
We raised $2.5M in a series seed preferred round.
Tell us about your product or service.
Launched in 2010, PureWow has become the must-read destination for women ages 25-45 (upper millennials and gen x) who crave the best in women’s lifestyle content across fashion, beauty, recipes, home, entertainment, technology, books and money. PureWow is dedicated to finding ways to make your life more interesting, beautiful and manageable. Our motto, “Elevate the Everyday,” drives us to deliver irresistible discoveries to our readers every single day.
What inspired you to start the company?
After having worked at Goldman Sachs for five years, I felt an entrepreneurial itch to start something new. I held a series of focus groups for women in their 30’s and 40s and realized there wasn’t a platform on the web targeting this demographic of women. The sites at the time were focusing on parenting advice, or skewing younger, or strictly focused on fashion and celebrity. The sites were bucketing women into categories – mom, career woman, aunt, divorced, single, exercise fanatic etc. We created PureWow as a must-read destination for women featuring under the radar finds and unique discoveries across multiple verticals.
What part of your site is most popular to your audience?
Home, Recipes, Fashion, and Beauty are the core of PureWow, but each vertical is popular it in it’s own way (i.e. tech may get more social shares than fashion, but fashion receives more time spent with the content).
How is it different?
We’re a refreshing modern voice for a demographic that has been largely ignored online for the past decade. The 18-25millenial has been the main focus of most of the newer sites that have popped up in the US the past ten years. And the majority focus on fashion and celebrity content. We are a one-stop shop with a consistent voice throughout all of our coverage.
What market you are targeting and how big is it?
We try to approach it from more of a sensibility perspective (not age specific) but, generally speaking, we see the core of our audience span 28-42 and that market is very large. We currently reach 6M women across our web, mobile, and email platforms, and expect to grow it rapidly over the coming year.
What’s your business model?
A modern approach to digital advertising.The majority of our revenue stems from branded content and native advertising. We work with Fortune 1000 companies to create custom content in the same unique voice as PureWow’s editorial content.
What was the funding process like?
It’s a great learning experience. Candidly, it’s exhausting while you’re trying to run a business at the same time. It doubles the amount of meetings you need to be in each week, and it’s an educational process for both sides. You’re dealing with different personalities and different investing models, so it requires a great deal of time and attention.
What are the biggest challenges that you faced while raising capital?
The modern approach that we take todigital advertising is that it’s still in its youth. Most investors are used to the unit economics of reach and scale as it relates to display inventory. It took time to educate them on the future of the most effective form of digital advertising that marketers currently look for.
What factors about your business led your investors to write the check?
First and foremost, our team. Our investors look at the team and they believe we are hungry, resilient, and have built a sustainable culture. They also see the trajectory of the audience growth and the revenue momentum that we’ve seen in the space. Our monetization model isn’t commoditized like most other digital publications. There aren’t many publishers online who can replicate what we do in a timely and cost efficient manner.
What advice can you offer companies in New York that do not have a fresh injection of capital in the bank?
It forces you to figure out how to be capital efficient and entrepreneurial. It’s a blessing in disguise not to have capital, because it forces you to figure out obstacles and challenges without money. Then when you have money, you know what to actually spend it on.
Which New York bar is a pure wow to you on a warm summer evening?
Well, if you read PureWow, you’d know this article is the best place to learn about the best rooftop bars in NYC. The Refinery Hotel rooftop is a great spot.