Every new mom knows the effort required to take care of an infant. Staying up during the night and changing dirty diapers are only a few of the sometimes tedious tasks in a mother’s schedule. But breastfeeding shouldn’t be one of those. Enter Lilu. Lilu produces the ultimate pumping bra, the first with automated compression, making moms’ lives better everywhere.
Lilu’s founders, Adriana and Sujay, started the company in 2016. Adriana met Sujay at the University of Pennsylvania, where they were both completing their Masters degrees. While Sujay was completing a Masters in Electrical Engineering, Adriana was finishing a Masters in Product Design. Both Adriana and Sujay were interested in healthcare and innovating it to make people’s lives easier.
As Adriana was looking into the space of improving the life of working moms, she noticed there was a need to improve life for moms in their first year after giving birth. This time was a challenging transition period, and Adriana was intrigued by that because she saw some colleagues going through it. During her last year of graduate school, Adriana explored how that time of life could be made easier. She realized that breastfeeding and pumping was an important area that had to be improved.
Not everyone enjoys breastfeeding and pumping, because it can be very stressful. Having a background in technology and product design, Adriana felt that she could do much better at creating something that would ease the stress and discomfort of breastfeeding.
Adriana and Sujay narrowed it down to one specific reason for stress: moms often feel like they can’t produce enough breast milk for their babies. After looking through the lens of a working mom, there was also the pressure of pumping at work and having to take “pumping breaks.” After interviewing several moms, they realized that two-thirds of moms are already massaging in order to improve their breastfeeding experience. But massaging requires a lot of effort and reduces the ability to multitask. Lilu wanted to put that process into a bra.
The team started developing the main concept of Lilu towards end of 2015 and beginning of 2016. They kept refining the idea and had moms continuously try the the product so they could improve it. By the end of 2016, Adriana and Sujay had enough feedback to figure out exactly what needed to be improved in their product. In 2017, they took all of the feedback they received and built something that people could actually buy off of a retail shelf: the first pumping bra with automated compression.
Lilu is currently in its beta testing phase, and actively taking orders. It has started shipping and will be ramping up shipping efforts later in the year. Lilu has also been recognized and supported by other leaders in the tech and innovation space such as HAX, NSF, Wharton Innovation, YCombinator, Dreamit, and Benjamin Franklin Technology Partners. It has also received press attention on TechCrunch, Engadget, and Medgadget.
The company is very mission-driven. Neither Adriana nor Sujay is a parent, but they are both still committed to making life better for new moms. Being a woman in tech who wanted to help other women, Adriana knew she could make something much better than what was on the market. Sujay is also extremely committed to supporting women. He started his own non-profit in India to support women who had been harrassed by giving them a safe and easy platform to report their experiences. Both of them have the technical skills and the passion necessary to build a great product to empower women.
In one year, the Lilu team hopes to scale shipping. Their product has received a warm reception in international markets, and would like to begin to address those markets next year. There has been an outpouring of interest for Lilu in Asian markets especially, as there has been an increase in birth and breastfeeding rates due to policy adjustments in countries like China. Moreover, breastfeeding, breast massage, and pumping are less taboo in Asia.
Through Quake’s accelerator, the Lilu team hopes to build its network. They would like to make connections to open up their sales and distribution channels. They would also like to build a network of investors while improving their product and making sure they have a solid strategy to continue to grow and scale the business. At Quake, we’re thrilled to have a company like Lilu in our cohort. We’re looking forward to seeing Lilu’s product improve the lives of countless women.