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No more baby mama drama—start-up says it can pacify clueless new parents

Power Pitch

One mother says she's turning the nightmare of shopping for baby into a dream.

"We make it easy by showing them what their friends have already figured out," said Allyson Downey, founder of weeSpring.

CNBC gave Downey 60 seconds to pitch her brainchild to Deborah Jackson, founder and CEO of plumalley.co, Kent Bennett, a partner with Bessemer Ventures, and CNBC’S Mandy Drury. Watch now to see if she can convince YOU and the Power Pitch panel that weeSpring is a golden child in the start-up world.

From baby bump to business plan

Allyson Downey is mother to son, Logan Downey—with a daughter on the way, but the idea for her start-up was conceived in the store.

"I looked up at this 10-foot-tall wall of baby bottles and promptly had a meltdown," Downey told CNBC.

Looking to prevent meltdowns for other new parents, Downey created weeSpring, a free website that functions as a Yelp (YELP) for baby products. Users rate products as "want," "have," "love" or "regret." Users who log in with their Facebook (FB) account can filter reviews to see their friends’ recommendations or opt to see the reviews of the entire weeSpring community.

Currently, more than 4,000 products are featured on weeSpring, from pacifiers to car seats and the latest baby foods, and Downey said the site now has more than 100,000 product reviews. It even allows users to ask questions about a product. The parents who have rated that product will receive an email notification with an option to respond.

"We are closing the gap between where people share (like on social media) and where they shop," said Downey.

A mobile app is in the works, Downey said. For now, the company's mobile strategy focuses on parents visiting the site through Web browsers on their computers and smartphones.

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New kid on the block

During the Power Pitch, Bennett asked how weeSpring can compete with behemoths like Amazon (AMZN), which features much more than baby products, including reviews. Amazon has been a star in the e-commerce world since 1994 with a current market cap near $160 billion.

But while Amazon users have posted millions of product reviews, Downey insisted her numbers aren't child's play.

"In the month of January we looked at the top 100 products on weeSpring and compared them to the number of new ratings that were on Amazon, and we beat them [in the number of reviews] in every product but 15," Downey replied. 

She also told CNBC that more than 30 percent of people who join weeSpring rate a product, and once someone has rated an item, that user goes on to rate an average of 10 products.

"This is off-the-charts engagement, and it means that even with a scrappy, start-up user base we're collecting more new reviews on top products than Amazon," Downey said.

Other big kids in the market include Baby Center and The Bump.  According to its website, Baby Center calls itself the number one parenting and pregnancy digital resource—with a reach of 36 million moms globally. The Bump boasts 6.2 million unique monthly visitors and is owned by XO Group (XOXO), parent company of The Knot.

How can mama make money?

The start-up recently began offering brands a monthly subscription service for an about $1,000. So in addition to a custom brand page, which brands can update in real time, they can also engage directly with users on the site. Downey told CNBC weeSpring has sold around a dozen brand subscriptions so far to companies such as Crane, Munchkin and Lansinoh, but she expects more soon. She said she also plans to develop other revenue streams, including microtargeting and email advertising in the near future. The start-up also has partnered with baby retailer giggle for review sharing.

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Downey would not disclose any company revenue or any stats regarding weeSpring's monthly visitors. However, Downey did say the company has raised $700,000 since its launch in 2013. Key investors include Monster.com founder Jeff Taylor and former Priceline CFO Paul Francis.

See Allyson Downey Power Pitch her start-up to Deborah Jackson, founder and CEO of plumalley.co, Kent Bennett, a partner with Bessemer Ventures, and CNBC host Mandy Drury.

-Additional Reporting by Erin Barry and Kelly Lin

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