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Kidizen Draws Sofia Fund Investment

Fast-growing app offers “social shopping” for parents

Kidizen Draws Sofia Fund Investment
The St. Paul-based Sofia Fund, which is focused on early-stage growth companies led by women, has invested in Minneapolis-based Kidizen, an online marketplace for parents to buy and sell clothes and other items that their children have outgrown.
 
“We were particularly impressed in this case with the management team. The women who founded the company seem to have a really good grasp on peer-to-peer marketing,” says Cathy Connett, CEO of the Sofia Fund.
 
Connett is one of five partners in the Sofia Fund with Lisa Crump, Joy Lindsay, Barbara Stinnett and Dee Thibodeau. In January, the group announced the first closing of its Sofia Angel Fund II, LLC, with $3.9 million. Connett says that the goal is for it to ultimately be a $5 million fund.
 
Kidizen was founded in 2013 by Mary Fallon and Dori Graff, who remain majority owners of the company.
 
“We are experiencing quite a bit of growth right now,” says Graff, who serves as chief marketing officer for the company. “We want to be the destination for parents when they need to purchase clothes and other items for their kids.”
 
To date, Kidizen has raised $880,000 in financing. The Sofia Fund is kicking in $100,000 and gains a board seat for its investment.
 
Kidizen tapped Dug Nichols as CEO, who has 15 years of experience in the Silicon Valley startup world.
 
“He has quite a bit of startup experience and brought a lot of that expertise to the company,” Graff tells Twin Cities Business.
 
The fledgling Kidizen does not disclose revenue. But Graff says that over the last 12 months, the company is averaging 50 percent month-over-month growth. Gross sales for Kidizen users have now surpassed $100,000 per month. The company makes its money through a commission on those sales. Graff says that Kidizen is creating a “social shopping” community for users.
 
The Sofia Fund continues to scout other companies for angel investments. Connett says that so far they have received 20 formal applications to the fund, but have also had interactions with an additional 10 to 15 companies.
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