What: An online college fund
Who: Peter Davis of BabyMint Inc.
When: Started in 1999
It costs more than $100,000 to raise a child for 18 years and an additional $100,000 to send him or her to college. That financial burden inspired Peter Davis, 33, to develop a free money-saving program for parents.
Using the skills he'd learned as a developer of customer loyalty programs for Luv's and Proctor and Gamble, Davis launched BabyMint with an initial $10,000 investment. "I saw the need from a number of perspectives-the consumer's need and the retailer's need," he says. "New families [are] the most coveted demographic because they spend 86 percent more than the average consumer."
His concept is simple: Parents visit www.babymint.com to print coupons for brands like Huggies, Keebler, Kellogg's and Motts or buy gift certificates for items they'd purchase anyway. A percentage of what they spend goes directly into their child's educational savings account. What's more, grandma, grandpa and other family members can also contribute by linking their purchases to the account.
Currently, BabyMint's 500,000 registered users can visit 200 online merchants and more than 500 brick-and-mortar merchants, such as Blockbuster Video, Crate & Barrel, Macy's and Pizza Hut. A newly launched credit card rebate program allows a percentage of all purchases to be rebated to the savings account. Sales are expected to exceed $20 million in 2002, thanks to partnerships with 18,000 advisors from established financial institutions that market the program to parents with existing college savings accounts.