Tech in Time For Mother's Day (Views: 112)
It’s that time of year again; fathers are fumbling through their kitchens at 5AM, making breakfast with bleary eyes; young children are crafting colourful cards under the careful supervision of their teachers while older children—perhaps miles away from home, weathering university or their first jobs—scramble to find florists with passable bouquets. Yes, it’s Mother’s Day.
Though we’re not knocking the idea of breakfast or cards or flowers, we would like to offer, in typical Fundica fashion, some more utile tokens of appreciation for all the mothers out there. Below, we’ve compiled a list of trending startups dedicated to helping mothers—both new and experienced. Elvie
We’ll start with arguably the most famous company on our list, Elvie. Once called the “Apple” of the Femtech, their claim to fame was the Elvie Trainer, a wearable device and corresponding app that guides women through workouts that will help them strengthen their pelvic floor. The product received a spectacular publicity boost after it was featured on Gwyneth Paltrow’s ecommerce platform Goop. Their second product, a silent and wearable breast pump, received an equally impressive endorsement from model and mother Valerie Garcia, who sported the device on a catwalk last year.
The pump, cordless and comprised of five, easy-to-clean parts, gives new mothers the freedom to pump anywhere. What’s more, its connected app allows users to monitor milk volume in real time, track pumping history, and control the pump remotely.
Latest FundingElvie raised its third round of financing, led by IPGL and with participation from Octopus Ventures and Impact Ventures, this past month.
For those with children who are reaching preschool age, there’s Winnie, a “marketplace for child care…” According to TechCrunch, the platform began “as a directory of kid-friendly places largely serving the needs of newer parents” but “has since expanded to become a larger platform for parents.” The platform’s data is predominantly crowdsourced, but provides more targeted info than other review platforms like Yelp.
In addition to offering a critical platform, Winnie has partnered with likeminded companies such as The Mom Project (mentioned later in our list) to report on how mothers are faring in the modern workforce.
Winnie’s raised a $4M round in June of last year thanks to contributions from Rethink Impact, Reach Capital, Ludlow Ventures, and others.
Perhaps the most Black-Mirror-esque device on our list is the child tracking app Jiobit. Perfect for mothers with young, restless children—but also potentially useful for those with pets—Jiobit is a secure and waterproof wearable monitor that can track its wearer’s location in real time, from anywhere, using a combination of Bluetooth and GPS technology. According to Wired reporter Adrienne So, Jiobit’s competitive advantage is its security standards; in addition to basic malware prevention and encryption, “Jiobit also burns away part of their circuit board before assembly,” meaning that the device can’t be physically programmed after purchase. Each Joibit also has a dedicated security chip that meets US military’s standards.
Though the Jiobit might make some mums ethically squeamish; if used responsibly, it seems like a gift capable of offering parents with wandering offspring an otherwise impossible thing: peace of mind.
Most recently, Jiobit raised $6.5M round thanks to contributions from Netgear, Math Venture Partners, Techstar Partners, and many more.
For mamas searching for fellow mamas to hang with, there’s Peanut. We’re not quite sure how you’d gift this one to the mothers in your life without it seeming like you’re passively-aggressively suggesting they get out more (it would be like gifting Tindr to a single friend), but hey, who are we to judge? Just like Tindr, Peanut users create a profile and swipe to match with other users; however, in addition to entering standard details such as their interests, job, and education, they are asked to provide the ages of their children and/or their due date.
Though being a mother is prerequisite for using the app, Peanut ultimately aims to connect the women behind motherhood, offering them moderated discussion boards where they can address topics that go beyond parenting. According to TechCrunch, Peanut aims to become a “central repository” for moms, like Winnie, aggregating people with a common, yet niche interest who would otherwise be scattered across many platforms.
Though there are many period and fertility trackers out there, perhaps the most famous is Clue. The company is renowned not only because it parted the wave of period tracking apps that emerged in 2013 with its no-frills design and strong scientific backing, but because its founder, Ida Tina, coined the term “femtech,” which describes the now-burgeoning industry aimed at improving women’s health.
With Clue, women can track their period, PMS, and fertility window. Though some have expressed skepticism and concern about who actually benefits from the data that apps like Clue collect—not to mention apprehension about the potential for users to wrongly use the app as a contraceptive—for women looking to better understand their bodies, Clue offers an easy entry point and a friendly user experience.
Clue’s most recent funding round was led by NGP Capital in 2016. According to Crunchbase, Clue has raised a total of $29.7M over the course of 8 rounds.
The Mom Project
Last, but not least, we bring you The Mom Project, a platform built to help female knowledge workers find jobs after taking time off to raise their children. In addition to facilitating the re-employment of women, The Mom Project also focuses on educating workplaces about the benefits of hiring parents and has launched programs such as Women’s Work Initiative, which helps women integrate back into the workforce.
At present, The Mom Project's job market is only available in Chicago, Atlanta, and San Francisco, according to TechCrunch, part of their latest funding round will go towards expanding their reach.
Last December, The Mom Project raised an $8M round, led by Grotech Ventures and Initialized Capital.
Interested in the larger startup universe? Consider joining us at the Fundica Roadshow finale, where the best startups from across Canada will be competing for a chance to receive up to $1M in equity investment.