“We Treasure Our Children” Our Kids’ Impact on Commerce and Innovation

Sunday was my 5-year-old twins’ birthday party. They had 20 of their friends to a local gym to play and eat cake. I didn’t think much about it until we went home and the kids started un-wrapping their gifts………then I did some math, and the scale of my twins’ impact on commerce for their 5th birthdays hit me hard.

CNN says it takes $241,000 to raise a child in the United States. This excludes college. What is striking, is over half of this expense is in the form of childcare and education (ex. College), healthcare, clothing/misc., and food.

All of us who have children know that we treasure our kids above all else and we will sacrifice everything for our little ones. This is the definition of a passionate customer, a passionate customer who, in the aggregate in the US, will spend $17.8 Trillion on their kids during their first 18 years of life. That is nearly $1 Trillion per year and roughly $500 billion of this is spent on childcare and education (ex. College), healthcare, clothing/misc., and food.

So it isn’t surprising how well Zulily has done. Zulily is the leading ecommerce company focused on providing moms a fun, differentiated and engaging shopping experience. The company has grown to over $700 million in revenue in three years by focusing on mom. Zulily priced their IPO last week and the company has traded up to a value of $4.4 billion.

Zulily is a tremendous example of how innovation has been harnessed to deliver value to mom and, by extension, to all of our kids. Sittercity, a company that I am on the board of, also delivers value to mom through the leading Internet solution for finding in-home childcare. They recently closed a partnership with Bright Horizons (NYSE: BH), one of the original innovators in the childcare industry. BH pioneered the idea of providing employer subsidized childcare solutions in the workplace beginning in 1986 (before the Internet). Bright Horizons, once a venture backed startup (by Bain Capital) that eventually went public, has grown to over $1.2 billion in revenue and has an enterprise value that exceeds $3 billion.

The partnership with Sittercity exemplifies both companies’ continued commitment to innovation in childcare and early childhood education. Sittercity gives BH the ability to offer the leading, online universe of in-home childcare providers to all of its corporate customers and the families of their employees.

The passion we have as parents for the safety and care of our children is shared by all of these great companies and many others and I expect innovation in this market will continue for a long time.

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