GRP Partners

Punky Brewster makes a mobile app

April 25, 2013: 10:16 AM ET

punky_brewsterFormer child star gets VC funding for a kid-focused startup.

FORTUNE -- A new startup named Moonfrye is coming out of stealth mode today, with $2.5 million in venture capital funding led by GRP Partners. Other backers include Greycroft Partners, Daher Capital and Google Ventures.

If the company name sounds vaguely familiar, that's probably because you watched Punky Brewster as a kid and saw Soleil Moon Frye's name atop the credits. The child star has since turned her fame into a mom/kid-focused brand, with 1.5 million Twitter followers, a baby store in LA, a clothing line at Target and a regular Today Show spot.

Now comes the new company, which will create an interactive mobile app for parents seeking do-it-yourself projects with young children. Its official launch isn't until this summer, and expect there to be a commerce angle (i.e., purchase the materials – assuming Moonfrye can figure out warehousing and distribution).

Frye, now 36 years-old with two children, tells me she'll be chief creative officer, "involved everyday throughout the day."

The CEO will be Kara Nortman, a former IAC exec (running Citisearch and UrbanSpoon) who was introduced to Frye via mutual friend Dana Settle (a partner with Greycroft). Nortman says that it is the second time she was asked to help lead a "celebrity mom startup," but that this one has a valuable mission, viable business model and down-to-earth celeb (no, she wouldn't identify the other one).

Expect the VC funding to take the company well past product launch.

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