Deal to Watch: Portable, Fashionable Breast Milk Cooler for Working Moms

$2.5M

Key Stats: Pippy Sips on Wefunder

Valuation Cap

$2.5M

Amount Raised

$64,014

Number of Investors

24

Minimum Raise

$50,000

Maximum Raise

$107,000

Likelihood of Max Unlikely
Start Date

02/20/2020

Stop Date

03/25/2020

Days Remaining

Closed

Security Type

Convertible Note

Investment Minimum

$500

Deal Analytics

Click Here

Summary

Pippy Sips has been selected as a “Deal to Watch” by KingsCrowd. This distinction is reserved for deals selected into the top 10%-20% of our due diligence funnel. If you have questions regarding our deal diligence and selection methodology, please reach out to hello@kingscrowd.com.

The Problem

The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that babies spend their first six months of life consuming exclusively breast milk. While 83.2% of babies start out breastfeeding, substantially fewer babies make it to the six-month mark of exclusive breastfeeding. About 57.6 of infants are still breastfeeding at six months old, but only one in four are breastfeeding exclusively. 

 

While many women find that continuing to breastfeed their infant is impossible due to medical reasons, a major barrier to exclusive breastfeeding for six months or longer is moms returning to work. The United States is the only economically-advanced country with no federal paid maternity leave requirement. Many women take around 12 weeks of maternity leave under the guidance of the Family and Medical Leave Act (though that time may not be paid), but many other women take even less maternity leave – either way, most leaves are far short of six months. 


So, women return to work while still trying to breastfeed their baby. That means pumping at work, usually three to four times per workday, which comes along with a wide variety of challenges. In addition to social stigma around pumping and lack of space or time to pump, many women struggle to store the breast milk at work, which must be kept cool if not used within four hours. Women have few options for refrigerating milk at work: haul around a portable cooler (which may not uniformly refrigerate milk) or use a shared fridge (which may be awkward or risk tampering). 

 

Working mothers face a huge variety of challenges as they parent their infant child while fulfilling the requirements of their job, not to mention fitting work around their frequent pumping schedule. Storing breast milk safely when away from home is a major barrier to providing babies with the breast milk they need to grow and develop. 

The Solution

Maia by Pippy Sips is a novel solution to on-the-go breast milk storage. Maia looks like an elegant, stainless steel water bottle, but it actually stores breast milk at an optimal temperature discreetly. Pumping moms attach the Maia bottle (BPA-free) to their breast pump – Maia is compatible with all leading pumps, whether directly or via an included adaptor. After pumping, moms seal the bottle and drop it into the Maia canister on top of a cooling puck. After sealing the top of the canister, moms can transport their breast milk easily with constant reassurance that the milk is safely stored thanks to the built-in thermometer and temperature display. 

 

Pippy Sips is in the process of manufacturing (in the USA) its initial line of Maia canisters after a successful crowdfunding raise of $21,000 in late 2019. Pippy Sips also recently won one of Philadelphia’s most prominent design competitions, Design Philadelphia, and was a regional semi-finalist in the AlphalabGear Hardware Cup pitch competition. 

Team

Amberlee Venti is Pippy Sips’ Co-Founder and CEO. Venti’s professional background is in mental health counseling and program management, but her passion for Pippy Sips came from personal experience. After giving birth to her two children, Amberlee went back to work and pumped. She found storing breast milk at work to be extremely difficult, and resolved to develop a product that would help other moms. 

 

Pippy Sips’ additional managers are also members of the Venti family: Amberlee’s husband Joe Venti, an attorney, is Pippy Sips’ Co-Founder and COO, and brother-in-law Peter Venti is the company’s Chief Strategy Officer. 

Growth Plan

Pippy Sips hopes to use the capital from this raise to finish manufacturing its first batch of Maia units. The company plans to launch direct-to-consumer e-commerce for Maia in Spring 2020 and grow sales revenue with a three-pronged marketing approach: demos and trade shows, influencers, and paid social ads. 

 

Beyond the initial launch of the Maia product, Pippy Sips plans to develop a Maia 2.0, transition CEO Amberlee to full-time, make additional hires, and launch new accessory products. The company envisions focusing on DTC sales in the near term but is ultimately interested in expanding to distribution via big-box retailers and potential B2B partnerships to provide breast milk storage as an HR perk. 

Why We Like it

  • Cultural shift toward breastfeeding acceptance: Breastfeeding has joined a number of women’s issues to become more and more socially acceptable in recent years, and the common challenges of breastfeeding at work have emerged from the shadows to become a major topic of societal conversation. Women are increasingly empowered to pump at work and are thus seeking the tools that can allow them to do so safely and conveniently.

  • Compelling “mompreneur” story: Amberlee Venti co-founded Pippy Sips based on her personal experience as a pumping, working mom, which is a relatable and compelling narrative for potential customers. Venti’s “mompreneur” brand carries opportunities for media coverage and other publicity opportunities that could build the Pippy Sips brand and drive sales.
  • Possibility of patented intellectual property: Pippy Sips reports that their design is currently in the process of being patented and an approved patent would be a valuable asset if won. A patent would allow Pippy Sips to license its intellectual property to breast pump manufacturers in the future, providing another stream of revenue in addition to DTC sales. Proprietary design and manufacturing assets would also make Pippy Sips an attractive candidate for acquisition.  

The Rating: Deal To Watch

Pippy Sips is a Deal to Watch: the company has designed a beautiful, functional product likely to speak to working moms desperately seeking a solution to safely store their milk while at the office. 

 

As with any deal, an investment in Pippy Sips bears certain risks. Pippy Sips is currently pre-revenue and has not yet manufactured or sold any product, which prohibits a strong understanding of product-market fit (though initial crowdfunding interest is a signal in the right direction). Pippy Sips also acknowledges that the passage of more progressive maternity leave policies, which are a hot political topic this election year, may reduce demand for its products if more moms stay home for longer after giving birth. Finally, Maia has a high price point, especially considering that many moms need multiple bottles to store pumped milk; hopefully manufacturing and supply chain improvements could bring the price down over time. 

 

However, Pippy Sips has a number of key strengths that make this deal an attractive investment opportunity. The company is capitalizing on women’s increasing participation in the workforce and growing acceptance of and advocacy for pumping at work. CEO Amberlee’s personal testimony as a pumping mom only furthers this narrative and provides Pippy Sips with valuable publicity opportunities as the company grows. 

 

Moreover, Pippy Sips is in the process of obtaining a patent for their container design, which would allow for considerable patent licensing opportunities and make the company a potential acquisition target from major pump players like Medela, Ameda, Philips, and more. Medela’s parent company, Olle Larsson Holding, recently acquired a breast pump redesign concept, proving that acquisitions in the space are possible even if rare.  

 

Pippy Sips has introduced an attractive product in a space of high interest, and there are strong signals that the Maia storage canister will be a hit with working moms. Therefore, this is a Deal to Watch. 

 

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About: Katy dolan

Katy is a marketing and research consultant to startups (including VC-backed companies, small businesses, and advocacy movements). With experience in tech, venture capital, politics, and non-profits, Katy partners with clients to strategize and execute compelling campaigns focused on user experience and empathetic narrative. Katy graduated cum laude from Harvard College with an AB in Sociology.

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