Searching for Investors
Disrupting a $1.2 billion breastfeeding accessories market should have been an easy sell to investors. But sexist comments—like “How can she run a
startup as a mother of three small kids?”—along with a lack of enthusiasm
from a majority-male VC community made fundraising a very long, uncomfortable haul. “Many of the men simply didn’t understand what they
were looking at, and felt like they couldn’t evaluate it properly,” says Janica.
The co-founder couple eventually
raised $6.5 million from a mix of female and male
investors, including a male ob-gyn. Last year, the company sold more than 1,000 units directly
to consumers and launched a Kickstarter for
its Smart Bottle. More recently, it landed its first retail partner, Pottery Barn Kids.
AMOUNT PARENTS WERE
EXPECTED TO SPEND
GLOBALLY ON BABY FOOD
AND FORMULA IN 2015
Perpetually in Beta
On the first model the company sold in
2016, the silicone used for the flanges
had a natural grayish tint. It looked
stylish, but made it difficult for moms to
center their nipple in the flange, which
is crucial to the functioning of the device.
The current iteration has a clear silicone
flange, based on customer feedback.
OF WOMEN WITH A CHILD
UNDER AGE 1 ARE WORKING
OR ARE LOOKING FOR WORK
Source: U. S. Bureau of Labor Statistics 2016
“I’m always talking to mothers to see what works and what doesn’t,” says Janica.