Parents are always looking for cheap activities to keep their kids engaged. CertifiKID is a marketplace that finds deals for family-friendly activities, services and products. Essentially it’s a Groupon for families. Founders Jamie and Brian Ratner pitched their business on Shark Tank and sealed a deal with Kevin O’Leary. As of 2024, CertifiKID is worth an estimated $10 million.
About the Founders
Brian and Jamie Ratner are a married couple based in Washington, DC. Brian has a graduate law degree from the University of Pittsburgh and spent most of his career as a partner at the law firm Hausfeld.
Jamie studied criminal justice at Penn State University. After obtaining her bachelor’s degree, she went to Northeastern University and got an MS in security management. Jamie later became a security manager at Williams and Connolly LLP.
Founding the Company
Brian and Jamie were able to provide a great life for their kids but Jamie always dreamed of starting her own business. One brilliant idea came to her when she signed her son up to an expensive music program.
She thought of an online platform where parents can find budget deals for children’s activities. Brian loved the concept and together they invested $5,000 of their savings to develop their website.
They launched CertifiKID in 2010 and partnered with over 130 local businesses in the first 10 months. During that period, they got 13,000 newsletter subscribers, and crossed $1 million in sales in their first year in business.
Shark Tank Appearance
By 2019, CertifiKID was thriving and was expecting to reach $5 million in sales for the year. However, Jamie and Brian Ratner felt they needed help with marketing. The couple appeared on season 10 of the show seeking $600,000 for an 8% equity stake.
The Sharks were surprised at the valuation initially but that changed as the pitch progressed. The startup was expanding rapidly in a niche market but still had untapped potential. Barbara, Daymond, and Kevin O’Leary all made offers to invest. After taking some time for consideration, they went with Mr. Wonderful’s deal of $600,000 for 19%.
After Shark Tank
The company is still booming but they went through some tough times in 2019 and 2020. In early 2019, the pandemic halted their growth plans. CertifiKID bounced back strongly in 2021 and did $5 million in revenue, a 50% increase to the prior year.
CertifiKID headcount is back to 30 employees after reaching a low of 14 staff during the pandemic. They are slowly looking to recruit more staff in marketing and web development. You can check if they are in your area by visiting CertifiKID.com.
On SiteJabber.com, the platform has an average star rating of 4.76 from 4,184 reviews. According to CNBC, CertifiKID is making around $6 million in sales every year. As a result the business is now valued at an estimated $10 million. Although the company is doing well, they are eager to invest in improving their website user experience and design.