Monthly dog treat-and-toy delivery service
BarkBoxjust named the longtime Hearst president Cathie Black to its board of advisors.
BarkBox co-founder Matt Meeker connected with Black last summer at an investor meeting of venture capital firm RRE. Meeker’s presentation convinced Black, a senior advisor at RRE, to take on a more significant role with the company.
Black told Business Insider that because of her experience — she served as chairman of Hearst Magazine, president of Hearst Corporations, and publisher of USA Today — she has the marketing and subscription-service understanding to make her a great mentor for the company.
“And I’m a dog parent,” Black says, making the BarkBox-coined distinction from dog owner.“We are the people for whom nothing is too much for our dogs.”
(Black owns a 4-year-old black lab named Madison; everyone who works at the company owns a pup.)
BarkBox offers dog lovers six-month subscriptions of treats at $US19 per box, and the company recently launched two new services: BarkPost, a “Buzzfeed for dogs” website that has over 400,000 monthly visitors, and a 24/7 vet consulting service called BarkCare. The company has grown tenfold since 2012, and has nearly 100,000 BarkBox subscribers and a revenue run rate of $US25 million.
But BarkBox isn’t the only company Black is currently involved in. She launched herself into the startup space after a short stint as chancellor of the New York City school district. She invests in or advises half a dozen companies, including YieldBot, Zuse, the Daily Muse, and, now, BarkBox.
Black is also a member of Golden Seeds, a member-organisation that mentors, develops, and invests in women-owned companies, and feels strongly about helping women score venture capital funding.The New York Times recently included her on a list of potential women for Twitter’s all-male board, though her plate is plenty full as is.
“It’s great to be around all these young entrepreneurs,” Black says. “It’s very intellectually engaging, it’s fun, and being able to use my contacts, where appropriate, makes me feel like I’m doing something really worthwhile to help these businesses get started.”