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Lilu, Inc

Wearable to make breast pumping more efficient & comfortable

USA, New York
Market: Electronics, Gadgets
Stage of the project: Operating business

Date of last change: 16.09.2021
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Idea

Lilu is developing the first automated massage pumping bra that helps moms pump 30-55% more milk in less time, using our patented pneumatic massage technology that mimics a baby’s feeding motions.

Current Status

1500+ moms have pumped with Lilu. $140k in revenue.
FSA Store and HSA Store 5 POs, including an open PO for when we launch 2 new sizes (L and XL).
Signed partnership with Mahmee end of 2020 so Lilu bra customers receive 24/7 text-based lactation support.
Recently signed distrubtion agreements in Singapore and Spain to launch before End Of Q3 2021.

Market

Globally the breast pump market is projected to exceed USD 1.6bn by 2022 and the global breastfeeding accessories market size is expected to reach USD 2.4 billion by 2025. In 2016, breastfeeding was the second fastest-growing category on Amazon.com in the baby product sector, behind only portable cribs. More broadly, the baby care market generally is forecasted to grow from $11bn this year to more than $13bn in 2021, according to research consultancy Trefis.com.

Our initial target market is the US. Over 4 million women in the US give birth annually and over 75% of those women pump milk for their babies, totaling around 3.2 million new mothers every year[CDC] Lilu is developing a line of products to help these mothers navigate their post-partum journey. Our goal is to become a market leader in the post partum space, first focusing on the lactation and pumping massage and aids space.

Problem or Opportunity

While motherhood is special, it isn’t always easy. Over 3.2 million new moms in the US begin breastfeeding every year, and the vast majority rely on breast pumps to sustain their breast milk production and continue providing breast milk to their babies and when they return to work. So while pumping is important for the baby’s health it can often be a challenge. The breast pump market is growing fast across the world at a rate of 6% annually, driven in the US by eligibility of pumps for insurance reimbursement, and globally by a trend of rapidly rising awareness of the benefit of breast milk and breastfeeding rates in China, India, and Latin America.

However current breast pumping solutions are woefully inadequate. Pumping technology, today, relies purely on suction to extract milk, has been proven by research to be inefficient and even harmful. That's why, according to our research*, almost two thirds of new moms experience severe difficulties with breast pumps, due to low milk output or pain and complications. This leads many women to the heart breaking decision to quit breastfeeding earlier than recommended (up to 2 years by the WHO and at least 12 months by the CDC), or suffer through insufficient milk production, pain, and complications such as clogged ducts or mastitis, and above all the constant stress, worry and anxiety of producing enough milk for their baby.
We believe that moms deserve more and that’s why we’re on a mission to use our backgrounds in science and technology to build the tools they need to make postpartum care more comfortable and convenient. We’re starting with breast pumping because child nutrition is one of the most acute pain points and a key pillar for new moms.

Solution (product or service)

The Lilu Massage Bra works in conjunction with existing breast pumps that moms already use and trust and provides a gentle, yet effective breast massage to optimize milk expression.
The core technology features our patented pneumatic massage cushions, that were designed from principles of soft-robotics and perfected through rigorous testing and feedback from hundreds of real moms and lactation experts. The cushions closely mimic the breast massage motions that have been proven to optimize milk flow and increase milk production. The massage cushions stimulate the milk producing glands in the areas of the breast tissue that a breast pump fails to reach and bring the more viscous and nutritious milk towards the nipple for a more efficient expression.
This technology is embedded into a custom designed pumping bra that is discreet, easy to wear and highly adjustable to provide a good fit as a mom’s changes throughout her lactation journey.


Competitors

With breastfeeding awareness on the rise, and regulatory changes that have made breast pumping a norm for new mothers, we are seeing much needed innovation in the breast pump industry. These innovations are mostly focused on making breast pumping equipment more discreet and portable. However, efficacy and comfort of pumping are still largely unaddressed, and are the primary focus that our first product addresses with a high degree of innovation. There are still limited direct competitors but lactation massagers are a growing category.
La Vie( https://lactationmassager.com/) has developed a hand-held breast massager that provides vibration massage while pumping, but does not provide a holistic, and hands-free solution.
Imalac (https://imalac.com/) is a new entrant to the market with a bra that uses a pulley mechanism for breast compression, but their product is bulky, not portable and 50% more expensive than our product, giving us a significant competitive advantage.
Another alternative for moms are lactation cookies, teas, eating foods known as “galactagogues” and other home remedies that are not proven to be effective.
Lilu offers a proven, technologically advanced solution to a space that otherwise has almost purely “analog” solutions.

Advantages or differentiators

We will succeed over our competitors for several reasons:
We have an incredible team. Lilu’s founders Adriana & Sujay are deeply committed to improving the life of women through technology. Shahir brings several years of experience in growth and commercialization of health-tech innovations to the table. We are a smart, creative and resilient team, not afraid to make difficult calls. Our stellar advisory board includes Dr. Diane Spatz who is a leading lactation in the US, very respected in the industry, whose models to promote breastfeeding are being implemented by UNICEF and WHO globally and Kara Forney, the founder of The Bump, a leading publication for millennial moms that exited to the XO group.
Second, by positioning our product as an accessory to suction breast pumps that mothers receive for free from insurance, we have lowered our barriers to user adoption. We received FDA clearance as a class 1 device and began sales of the Lilu Massage Bra on our website and have many more channels that we can tap into and develop, ranging from distribution channels typical to the pump industry already (DME distributors), to bundling and partnering with pump incumbents.

Third, we’ve built a loyal base of users and brand followers, that see Lilu as a key contributor to their breastfeeding and pumping success stories. We’re adding value to every order placed by partnering with virtual lactation consultation providers like Mahmee (Mahmee.com) to provide our customers with free lactation support and by generating weekly content on our blog and newsletters that address important topics around breastfeeding and breast pumping to help our customers reach their breastfeeding goals successfully.
Lilu is uniquely positioned to capture the growth trends in this dynamic market. Our innovative product, our growing network of partners and our strong base of brand-loyal users, provide the ingredients for us to grow into the go-to brand for moms.

Finance

Our first source of revenue is through sales of the Lilu Massage Bra on our website (wearlilu.com) at $149. At this price point, we have healthy margins of 50% with a scope to increase to 60% with higher production volumes.
We signed a wholesale agreements with the FSAStore, a specialized store for FSA eligible products and have received 5 POs of 100+ units.

With the launch of 2 additional sizing option (L and XL) , we will add new distributions channels including distribution through Durable Medical Equipment providers in the US that specialize in breast pump distribution, ecommerce stores like Amazon and specialized maternity and baby stores like Buybuybaby. We've launched in global markets including Singapore and Spain and are currently in the final stages of regulatory approval to begin shipping to customers in Japan.

Business model

Our first source of revenue is through sales of the Lilu Massage Bra on our website (wearlilu.com) at $149. At this price point, we have healthy margins of 50% with a scope to increase to 60% with higher production volumes.
We signed a wholesale agreements with the FSAStore, a specialized store for FSA eligible products and have received 5 POs of 100+ units.

With the launch of 2 additional sizing option (L and XL) , we will add new distributions channels including distribution through Durable Medical Equipment providers in the US that specialize in breast pump distribution, ecommerce stores like Amazon and specialized maternity and baby stores like Buybuybaby. We've launched in global markets including Singapore and Spain and are currently in the final stages of regulatory approval to begin shipping to customers in Japan.

Our product pipeline includes 2 products:
a) the Lilu Insights bra with embedded sensors and

b) the Lilu Insights App
These products will help moms track their breast milk output and receive objective insights and personalized expert guidance to help them reach their breastfeeding goals successfully. The app will also facilitate ondemand support fr om lactation consultants. Using the app, we can provide powerful data to health providers for better individual health care. With more products to make pumping easier and monetization and analytics of breastfeeding data, we’d be adding new revenue streams.

Additionally, we have been working very closely with Dr. Diane Spatz, the Director of Lactation Program at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP) since the inception of the company. We received a grant from the School of Nursing at UPenn to pursue a clinical trial protocol to test the efficacy of the device and in early 2020 we received approval from the Penn IRB to begin trials with mom in association with CHOP and Dr. Spatz . Unfortunately due to COVID, we had to postpone beginning the trials to Dec 2021; when the situation with the pandemic gets better. If we’re able to kick-off the trials early next year, the results of these trials will enable us to sell Lilu in hospitals, NICU’s (wh ere mothers of premature babies pump for 6-8 hours everyday) and hopefully will pave the way for insurance reimbursement in the future.

Money will be spent on

Proceeds from the round will go towards funding ongoing commercialization of the Lilu Massage Bra. A portion will be allocated to BD activities for strategic partnerships and customer acquisition that includes digital marketing and channel expansion, salaries, and R&D for improvements on the Lilu Massage Bra.

Offer for investor

We currently have $270K remaining in our ongoing pre-seed round and we're raising on a SAFE at $6M cap.

Team or Management

Risks

De-risking the business model:
We began this journey by speaking with hundreds of moms and understanding their pain points, needs, price sensitivity and purchasing decision factors. From our conversation, we discovered that the breast feeding products market is heavily driven by word of mouth and brand recognition matters the most. That is why we for our first product, we created an accessory that would have lower barrier to entry because of its compatibility with the existing brands that mothers already use and trust.

De-risking manufacturing:
The team spent 12 months in China to accelerate product development and identify the right factories to partner with to make the product. After vetting over 50 factories, we were finally successful in finding the right manufacturer and parts suppliers that work with leading baby product brands.
We have also been extremely carefully in identifying and choosing the right materials to not only ensure compliance with all safety regulations but also maximize efficiency of the product.

De-risking distribution:
We’ve signed some letters of intent with maternity boutique stores, and have ongoing conversations with larger scale distributors for when we are able to scale.
We have established partnerships with existing players in the breastfeeding accessories space, as well as with breast pump providers.

Incubation/Acceleration programs accomplishment

We’ve successfully participated in the following accelerator programs:
YCombinator Fellowship - August 2016
HAX Accelerator - Jan 2017
Quake Capital Accelerator - Feb 2018
Lair East Labs - March 2020
Mass Challenge - July 2020

Won the competition and other awards

$50,000 - Penn iDesign 1st prize - 2016.
$20,000 - YCombinator Fellowship -.2016
$50,000 - NSF National I-Corps - 2017
$10,000 - Wharton Innovation Fund - 2016-17
$ 3,000 - Alpha Lab Gear East Coast Regional Hardware cup 1st place - 2018
$ 5,000 - Alpha Lab Gear International Finals 2nd place - 2018
$ 5,000 - Philips Health Impact Award - 2018
$10,000 - Ignitia 1st price - 2018
$20,000 - PitchHER - 2020
$250,000 - NSF SBIR Phase 1 - 2021
$20,000 - NSF I-Corps - 2021

Invention/Patent

We have granted utility patents in the US (US Patent 16/424,766) and China ( Chinese Patent 201711292596.7) . Further IP protection is being sought for the Lilu Massage Bra and new IP is being developed to incorporate sensors into the bra for lactation insights.

Product Video

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Idea
Current Status
Market
Problem or Opportunity
Solution (product or service)
Competitors
Advantages or differentiators
Finance
Invested in previous rounds, $
Business model
Money will be spent on
Offer for investor
Team or Management
Mentors & Advisors
Lead investor
Risks
Incubation/Acceleration programs accomplishment
Won the competition and other awards
Invention/Patent
Photos
Product Video