Feeding babies can take many different forms, and it is also one area where parents may feel less supported navigating this new milestone in their lives.
SimplyFed is an Ithaca, New York-based company that provides virtual lactation and a baby feeding support platform. The startup announced Friday that it has raised $500,000 in pre-seed funding led by ThirdCulture Capital.
CEO Andrea Ippolito, a biomedical engineer and mother of two young children, had the idea for SimplyFed three years ago. She struggled to breastfeed after having her first child and realizing she wasn’t alone in this area, she decided to figure out a way for anyone to find information and support for baby feeding.
“Post discharge is when the rubber hits the target for us,” she told . “This is a huge pain point for Medicaid, and it’s not just about increasing access, but continuing support for food and swamps for health insurance. We want to help moms reach their baby food goals. Want to feed, no matter what they want to feed, and find out what feeding looks like for them.”
The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that mothers breastfeed for six months. However, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that 60% of mothers do not breastfeed unless they want to, for reasons such as difficulty breastfeeding or an inability to breastfeed the baby, illness or work.
SimplyFed’s platform is a judgment-free zone providing evidence-based information on nutritional health for children. Ippolito said this is not meant to replace the specific care that mother and baby receive before and after delivery, but to provide support when problems arise. Parents can book a free, initial 15-minute virtual consultation with a lactation specialist and then subsequent 60-minute sessions for $100 each. There is also a future subscription option for those seeking continuing care.
Ippolito said the new funds will be used to further develop the telelocation platform and hire additional employees to grow the company’s footprint. The platform is gearing up to co-design the program with 1,000 mothers to undergo clinical studies. She wants to build relationships with payers and providers toward the long-term goal of becoming in-network and paying through reimbursement from health plans.
Julian Pham, managing partner at Third Culture Capital, said he met Ippolito a decade ago at MIT Hacking Medicine. By training a physician, he saw firsthand what a great opportunity it is to uncover the secret of providing the best nutrition for babies.
“American culture has evolved over the years, and millennials are the next generation of mothers who have a different question, and SimplyFade is here at the right time,” Pham said. “Andrea is just a dynamo. We love her energy and how she is at the forefront as a mother herself – she is the most deserving to do that, and we support her.