Brit Morin launched her fabulous career by answering a Craigslist ad from Apple; in 2015 Brit + Co is serving 12 million people per month
Adam Rifkin stashed this in Active Users
In only three and a half years, Brit Morin went from a Google employee to a bona fide Silicon Valley “it” girl.
Last week, she announced that her startup, Brit + Co, raised $20 million in funding.
Her home/fashion/crafts site, which combines a blog with ecommerce and online learning, is now serving 12 million people a month. And on Friday, she launched the #IAMCREATIVE foundation, which will offer grants of $2,500 to $15,000 to people with worthy creative project ideas. The foundation expects to give away between 15 and 20 grants annually.Morin is also an A-list in the Valley social set.
She's married to Dave Morin, an early Facebook employee and former Apple employee and founder of Path, a messaging app that was just bought by Kakao Talk for an undisclosed sum.
She’s also friendly enough with her old boss, Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer (whom she worked with at Google) that Mayer became an angel investor in her company, a couple of times over.
Morin will tell you that all this began when she was a little kid who loved to make stuff. She says that she got sidetracked with tech when she was a teenager and later had the idea of marrying the two together ... and Brit + Co was born.
But the truth is her success is a combination of hard work, serendipity, and a gut feeling that led her to "break up" with former friend and another startup.
Brit loves making things and she loves Tech Shop.
"So I got married and at the wedding, the women were coming up to me and raving about how cool all of my decorations were. They kept telling me they wished they were creative, that they weren’t creative. I started getting that more and more, after I would show more people the stuff I made outside of my wedding," she says.
"I came back from my honeymoon thinking how wrong this was. What happened from that time when we were all three-year-olds who loved to color and build LEGOs, to the time when we’re 25 or 30 years and we’re really insecure about our creative skills?" she adds.
Something in her gut told her that the company she really wanted to build would be all about helping people find their lost creativity.
"I ended up breaking up with my cofounder of the health company. I told her it wasn’t her, it was me," Morin tells us.
It was a painful time.
"We were friends. It was hard. We could have gone out and raised a good seed round and I could be a CEO of a health company at this point. But following my intuition and my gut was the lesson I learned," she says.
Brit Morin is frequently called the "next Martha Stewart" or "Martha Stewart 2.0," and the two do know each other.
Morin has appeared on Stewart's radio show; they see each other at social events, and their companies generally run in the same circles.
In fact, Morin just added Susan Lyne to the Brit + Co board. Lyne was previously a CEO at Martha Stewart's company and was later CEO at Gilt Groupe. Today she runs AOL's BBG Ventures, a fund focused on women-led tech startups.
With the new $20 million investment, Morin made also her first acquisition for an undisclosed amount: SnapGuide, a free iOS app and web service that allows users to create and share step-by-step "how-to guides."
SnapGuide has amassed 100,000 of these guides, everything from recipes to make-up tips to techie projects to automotive hacks.
Brit + Co has raised $27.6 million to date. Beyond Marissa Meyer, her investors include Jim Fielding, head of Consumer Products and Retail at DreamWorks Animation; Intel Capital; DMGT (the corporate arm of the Daily Mail media company); VC Fred Harman at Oak Investment Partners (Demand Media, Huffington Post, aQuantive); and other big names.
In under four years, Brit + Co has become a phenom.
She's become a personality, regularly appearing on the Today Show.
Her site now hosts about 15 classes with plans to host between 60 and 70 by year's end. Classes include kits of all the materials you need, and so far, Brit + Co has sold a combined 15,000 classes and kits.
Brit + Co has 12 million visitors a month, between its website, email lists and social media channels. It has about 100 advertisers, with a 74% retention rate, Morin tells us.
Although she wouldn't share a revenue number, we're told that the "company is doing millions in revenue annually," and, in the first half of 2015, its revenue grew two times over what it was in the first half of 2014.
Brit + Co currently now has 50 employees, 70% of which are women, including much of the company's leadership team.