SAN FRANCISCO — Tech journalist and mother of two, Sarah Lacy, has launched Chairman Mom, a new subscription-based venture devoted to working moms. The platform organizes and encourages working moms to share experiences and give honest answers.
Chairman Mom has raised $1.4 million in seed funding led by Ann Miura-Ko from Floodgate Ventures and Tim Connors from PivotNorth Capital. Additional participants included Reid Hoffman from Greylock Discovery and Charles Hudson from Precursor Ventures as well as angel investors Amy Errett, Susan Choe, Susan Wu, Allison Bhusri, Sonja Perkins, and Sarah Imbach.
Lacy also publishes the subscription tech news site Pando.com.
“Social media has failed women,” said Lacy. “Women are already finding their strength in one another across industries and around dinner tables throughout America. We want to find a way to scale that transformative impact of real community and real connection, to create a virtual dinner table that millions of badass women can sit at and have their voices heard. Software eats misogyny.”
Many women form and grow communities around topics such as motherhood on social networks, particularly on Facebook. But over time, the conversations become toxic, flooded with trolling, shaming and negativity. In fact, a new SurveyMonkey/Chairman Mom survey found that 85% of women have witnessed moms shaming other moms on social media.
For $5 a month, women can join the Chairman Mom community and get access to real, honest answers with no bullying. The platform is free from advertisers and built outside the Facebook infrastructure to provide a better, more fulfilling experience.
“Sarah is building a platform that solely serves users rather than advertisers,” said Tim Connors, founder of PivotNorth Capital and Chairman Mom investor. “It is a completely fresh take on social networking, one that optimizes for building communities rather than creating addictions.”
The core functionality of Chairman Mom is its question and answer platform. Each day, the site features two curated questions, submitted by members of the community. The emphasis is on tough questions: How much do you really get paid? What should I do if I think my spouse is cheating on me? I’m about to report someone to HR for harassment, how can I best protect myself?
To combat trolling and mom shaming, Sarah and her team have built their platform from the ground up to unite rather than divide women. Key community features include:
- Real anonymity: Community members can answer the questions anonymously or using their real name. When users choose to ask or answer anonymously, even Chairman Mom doesn’t know who they really are.
- No threaded discussions, no up or down voting: No flame wars, no drifting off-topic. Everything is designed to help get members the best answer to their questions.
- No direct messaging: No harassment, no cliques. We’re all in this together.
Over the coming months, Chairman Mom will be rolling out dozens of additional features, to expand the platform’s question and answer functionality, and to give members the tools they need to grow their network of supportive working women.