San Francisco-based Naya Health, which is developing health tech products for mothers, has raised $4 million in seed funding from Tandem Capital, S-Cubed Capital, NewGen Partners, Astia Angels, and Stanford’s StartX. It has also announced that its first product, a smartphone-connected breast pump, is available for preorder.
Janica Alvarez, Naya Health’s CEO and founder, first got the idea to develop a breast pump after she became a mother.
“Like most moms, I didn’t think about breast pumps until I needed one,” Alvarez explained in a blog post. “I had just returned to work following the birth of my first child seven years ago, eager as ever but worried about doing my best at my job while also thinking incessantly about my child’s wellbeing. I quickly discovered that pumping would be one of the most challenging aspects of being a new mom and that challenge would not become any easier with the subsequent births of my two other children.”
Some of the challenges she found with breast pumps were that they are awkward, loud, and uncomfortable. Alvarez and her husband Jeffery Alvarez, an engineer with experience in surgical robotics, decided to revamp the process. The two put together an advisory board, which according to the company is made up of physicians, lactation experts, and healthcare technologists.
Naya Health’s first product is called The Smart Pump. The system includes one set of flanges, a power adapter, two classic bottles with caps, and two nipples with adapters and caps. The pump uses a hydraulic system instead of air to collect breastmilk. As a result, the pump is more comfortable and quieter, according to the company.
Some data from the system, specifically how often a mother pumps, is sent to a companion app, called Naya Health Tracker. The app also allows users to track pumping sessions, record their child’s feedings, and manage breastmilk inventory by telling users which milk in their fridge needs to be used first. The company is apparently developing an Apple Watch app as well.
The pump costs $599 and is expected to ship in the fall.
Naya Health is also currently working on the company’s second offering, a smart bottle, which will track how much milk is being expressed by mom and consumed by baby.
In the past year, at least two other companies have announced products relating to baby feeding.
At the beginning of 2016, Thrive Feeding raised a $500,000 seed round to develop smart baby feeding products. Thrive’s first offering is a baby bottle that will track how much milk a baby drinks from birth to between 60 and 90 days and send data to a companion app.
And last October, Atlanta, Georgia-based, NFANT Labs, formerly known as CCB Research Group, received FDA clearance for a smart baby bottle, which uses sensors to measure a baby's tongue strength and sends the data to a provider's mobile device.