While fatherhood has certain components that never change, there are certain aspects, in our digital age, that have forced a change. Whether it be understanding how to be a father in our modern day, or just understanding the children of today, Fatherly gives you the perfect blend of your father’s sage advice with a twist of modern scientific research. So when your wife is expecting all the way to dealing with those toddlers and beyond, rest assured that you have a guide to being a better father in the form of a digital community.
Today we sit down with cofounders Mike Rothman and Simon Isaacs discuss the role of fathers today as well as the need what Fatherly brings to the table.
Tell us about the product or service.
Fatherly is a digital lifestyle guide for young parents entering parenthood. With unique tools that assist new fathers and provide highly technical age and stage information that will provide accurate and factual information about a child’s development, the platform offers thoughtful, informative content along the parenting lifecycle.
How is it different?
The vast majority of parenting advice is geared toward moms, and at Fatherly we recognize the increased role that dads play in the home and gear content toward helping them to become the best parents possible.
What market are you attacking and how big is it?
While our name would suggest that we only speak to dads, we have found that about a quarter of our readers are women. Our target audience is really any mom or dad who wants to learn about unique ways to interact with their children and ways to “win” at parenting.
What is the business model?
The initial model is a media model, or more accurately a “branded content as a service” model, which has led to profitability in only 12 months. We earn a trivial amount of revenue from affiliate commerce but the grander vision is that Fatherly will be able to leverage the data about users like to provide drop-ship e-commerce around high interest product categories.
What inspired the business?
SI: The internet is full of parenting advice for moms, and through Fatherly, for the first time, we are providing dads with the content, tools and community he is looking for. Every day, we get the most humbling notes from our community thanking us for our content and support. As we move into our second year, our audience wants us to deliver Fatherly content and timely information and products in a more predictive and personalized way.
How has the team’s past experience at Thrillist influenced Fatherly?
MR: My background is one of the first employees of Thrillist, an online style guide for young single guys. Funny thing happens after marketing to young single guys for seven years, namely that the audience is no longer single or as young, and neither is the founding team that was marketing to that audience. And we noticed that there a real gaping hole in the marketplace for what happens to that consumer once he becomes a parent. Fatherly exists to fill that hole, to provide dads with the content, tools and community they are looking for.
What are the milestones that you plan to achieve within six months?
MR: We’ve been able to achieve significant market penetration on the back of high quality editorial content in Year One so the goal is to double down on content — long-form static and video content, evergreen content while building out audiences on social platforms beyond Facebook and Twitter. We also plan on hiring a sales partnerships team and experimenting with new technology to better personalize content to our users based on the ever-evolving age of their kids.
What is the one piece of startup advice that you never got?
MR: I’ve been burning the candle on both ends going on 13 years. I’ve had to learn on my own that even “ironmen” need a real break every once in awhile. As I’ve gotten older I’ve also developed a better sense of perspective and became a bit less self-sacrificial with respect to balancing work obligations with a commitment to friends and family.
SI: Your biggest investor in your startup is your spouse. They are risking more and sacrificing more than anyone else out there.
If you could be put in touch with anyone in the New York community who would it be and why?
MR: I’ve been fortunate to meet a lot of my heroes but I’d still like to have lunch with David Remnick from The New Yorker followed by drinks at a dive bar, to the extent that those still exist anymore, with Louis C.K.
SI: Definitely Mike Bloomberg. I have incredible respect for him and all he has done in business and society. We’d hang out at his house and he would man the BBQ because having a billionaire cook for you is legit.
Why did you launch in New York?
We both live here, and with the vibrant and active parenting community, New York made sense for us.
What’s your favorite restaurant in the city?
MR: I’m going to cheat and name three: Comodo and Lure in SoHo and Loosie’s Kitchen in Williamsburg
SI: With a kid, my restaurant criteria has changed dramatically. Spritzenhaus beer hall in Greenpoint, Frankies 457 in Carroll Gardens and Hope & Anchor in Red Hook.