Los Angeles Business Journal

Moonfrye Launches Photo-Sharing App

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Soleil Moon Frye and Kara Nortman were tight lipped about their kid-centric app when they raised venture capital in the spring.

But the women, who run startup Moonfrye, have finally announced that the app will be a photo-sharing tool for parents to use with their kids.

Similar to Instagram photos, which can be run through specialized lighting filters, the free Moonfrye app will allow people to customize their photos with themed filters, such as pirate or mermaid. Each theme will also display a do-it-yourself craft project that parents can complete with their children.

The app also provides some simple photo-editing tools so people can alter the photos.

Nortman, the company's chief executive, said she and Frye, perhaps better known as the child star of "Punky Brewster," see photo sharing as a growing market with the rise of related apps. But they wanted to create a tool geared more toward families.

"We heard from a lot of parents that they felt like they had all these photos in their library but didn't pull them out and do something meaningful with them," said Nortman, a mother of three. "We wanted to take photos and craft them into a permanent memory."

The Beverly Hills company announced in April that it had raised $2.5 million in venture backing led by local investor Upfront Ventures (formerly GRP Partners).

The Moonfrye brand was originally the brainchild of Frye, who is pregnant with her third child. The app will work in partnership with the Moonfrye website, which lists craft ideas and allows parents to post photos of their projects with their children.

Nortman said the company could eventually monetize by selling crafting items in addition to suggesting projects.

"The website is a very big piece of our company vision," she said. "We will find more ways to educate people about the craft projects they want to do."