Bby: A Marketplace for Milk
April 26, 2017

Halfway through week eight of the accelerator program, the startups in Quake’s spring cohort have passed several important milestones, from bringing on new team members to establishing crucial strategic partnerships. Just in time for its soft launch later this weekend, BBy gets the spotlight in this week’s post. Another up-and-comer in Quake’s spring cohort, BBy (pronounced like “baby”) is a peer-to-peer social app that connects nursing mothers to new parents to buy and sell breast milk in a safe and reliable manner.

At the helm of this life-changing operation is Dr. Vansh Langer, a physician fresh out of Chicago who left his full-time practice to found the company. Similar to AirZaar, a haunting experience compelled Dr. Langer to get involved. He founded BBy after meeting Talia, a two-week-old child from Vietnam who had been adopted by a gay couple in Chicago. Suffering from a viral stomach infection that does not occur in babies who are breast fed, Talia needed immediate help. “Seeing her wither down to 4 pounds,” Dr. Langer recounted, “was a sobering event.” Determined to get Talia the nutrition she needed, Dr. Langer took the bold step to administer another mother's milk to her. “Luckily for all, she survived the ordeal and is now a healthy toddler. The idea for BBy was born that very day.”

After his success with Talia, Dr. Langer realized that this problem could be solved on a larger scale. In Chicago, he noticed that the availability of breast milk was one of new parents’ primary concerns. “Mothers not producing enough and LGBTQ couples unable to produce were equally concerned that their babies weren’t receiving the nutrition needed for development.” On the other hand, Dr. Langer observed, “there was a population of mothers who produced so much milk that, at the end of the day, they were simply throwing the excess away.”

While other companies had tried to bridge the gap between these two groups, Dr. Langer noticed, they often overcharged buyers and keep most of the profit. He told us, “BBy was created with one goal in mind: To help families get access to natural breast milk in a safe and affordable manner...BBy recognizes that while your baby’s future and development is of utmost importance to you, your finances are not unlimited. Therefore, unlike milk banks that charge upwards of $4 per ounce, BBy sells at a market rate of roughly $1.50 per ounce.”

Two important features make BBy stand out. First, it’s safer: BBy is the only physician-approved solution that ensures that all sellers are pre-screened by their family physicians for diseases like HIV, Hepatitis, and TORChES, which can be transmitted through breast milk. Second, it’s fairer: Eighty percent of the profit goes directly to the selling mother.

Looking ahead, the BBy team hopes to be in four major markets by 2022. The app is slated to launch in NYC and Chicago by the end of this month, and they plan to tap into markets in Los Angeles and San Francisco in the coming years.

When asked how Quake’s resources can help the BBy team accomplish its goals, Dr. Langer told us, “Quake has been integral to the success of BBy. Not only has the funding we’ve received financed the creation of our exciting new app, but the mentorship and advisement has helped position BBy to be truly successful.” The Quake team is confident that, with its strong leadership and life-changing product, BBy will continue on its path to success at full force.

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