Each year, there are approximately 4 million babies born in America, leaving millions of parents adjusting to their infant’s sleep schedule. At first glance, Nanit appears as a IoT-Connected baby monitor integrated with the Amazon Alexa’s voice control ( ex: “Alexa show me the crib” ). However, Nanit is much more sophisticated than that. The platform offers a complete suite of monitoring tools that track and analyze an individual infant’s sleeping patterns and gives parents data-driven feedback to improve sleep. To date, Nanit has tracked over 86 million hours of sleep and more than 8 million morning wakeups. The company’s latest product launch, Breathing Wear, monitors babies breathing while asleep. Over the next few months, Nanit plans to add new features and products to its suite of baby monitoring tools.
AlleyWatch sat down with CEO Sarah Dorsett to discuss Nanit’s impressive growth, future plans, and recent round of funding. Since launching in 2016, Nanit has raised $49.6M across four rounds.
Who were your investors and how much did you raise?
The investors in this round were Jerusalem Venture Partners (JVP), Upfront, RRE, Rho Capital Partners, and Vulcan. The round was an extension to our B round and the total raise was $21M.
Tell us about the product or service that Nanit offers.
Nanit is the award-winning smart nursery camera and sleep tracker which merges the most advanced computer vision and camera technology with data-backed sleep science to improve the overall well-being of parents and their babies. In addition, our Breathing Wear works with the Nanit camera and can monitor a baby’s breathing motion. Breathing Wear comes in a variety of options from swaddles to sleeping bags and uses a custom-design pattern to monitor breathing without sensors.
What inspired the start of Nanit?
Our founders are technology experts from Israel and also parents. They knew there was a way to use technology to help parents learn about their baby, so they started with the crib and the challenges with helping babies sleep through the night. They wanted to create the best baby monitor on the market to empower parents about the decisions they were making – based on what they could learn about their child in the crib. They also believed in keeping parents connected and family members who lived far away, so they designed Nanit to support a parenting team, easily connecting family members through the camera so they could participate in the parenting journey.
How is Nanit different?
Other baby monitors offer a premium monitoring experience of a moment in time. We do that and so much more. Nanit has more data on how infants sleep and behave in the crib than anyone else. The baby monitor collects data and trends over time and provides insights and coaching to parents based on each individual baby’s behaviors. We have validated our infant sleep data and can prove that parents using Nanit insights have babies who thrive and sleep better.
What market does Nanit target and how big is it?
Our target market is expectant parents. Our largest market is the US with nearly 4 million babies born each year. We also launched in both Canada and the UK in the past year.
What’s your business model?
Our business model combines hardware, accessories, multiple apparel and crib items that inspire repeat purchases as the baby grows, and a software subscription model.
What impact has COVID-19 had on your business?
Since the crisis started, we have seen sales increase. As families have had to remain apart, parents are using Nanit to help extended family members, like grandparents, stay connected with their babies. One of the great features of our product is users can invite family and friends to join their parenting team through the Nanit app. Each member can be given permissions by parents so they can see, hear and even talk to the baby no matter where they live.
What was the funding process like?
We are fortunate we did not have to look beyond our own doorstep. We have great investor partners who were excited about our plans for the future and they all decided to support those plans and showed their continued belief in our product and mission.
What are the biggest challenges that you faced while raising capital?
Our biggest challenge was timing. We were trying to finalize the funding right as the COVID-19 crisis was escalating and we really didn’t know what impact it would have on our business or our product development timelines. Fortunately, our business has remained strong during this extremely uncertain time. Our other challenge was making sure we had a solid plan that would drive significant growth but that our investors could feel good about. So, we made sure we had put enough thought, data, market research and financial forecasts in place to really begin to execute on the plan we presented and thus far we’ve accomplished our goals which has continued to build confidence with our investors and board of directors.
What factors about your business led your investors to write the check?
Our current investors have seen how the focused strategy we put in place last year has driven over 100% year-over-year growth, they’ve also witnessed the success of our product expansion into Breathing Wear. What sold them on writing the check is our roadmap for the future. The data and the technology behind Nanit have so much potential for helping infants and parents in many new ways beyond what we do with sleep and breathing today. Our investors believe in the endless opportunities we have to support families.
What sold them on writing the check is our roadmap for the future. The data and the technology behind Nanit have so much potential for helping infants and parents in many new ways beyond what we do with sleep and breathing today.
What are the milestones you plan to achieve in the next six months?
Over the next few months, we will be launching some new features and products. In a few weeks, our digital baby book feature called Memories will be introduced in the Nanit app. Later this year, we will be adding pajamas to our line of Breathing Wear. We will also be sharing the findings of some sleep research we are working on.
What advice can you offer companies in New York that do not have a fresh injection of capital in the bank?
I think every company has different needs. I’ve found that there are so many people who are willing to help, give advice or even just listen since we’re facing times that are unlike any other. Knowing that, the best advice I can give is to seek out support. There are many creative ways to think through these new challenges and more resources than ever before.
Where do you see the company going now over the near term?
In the near term, Nanit will continue to connect families and provide parents with the best information they can get on how their baby is doing in the crib. We’ll also be able to capture more and more of the images and videos of the special moments that parents often miss because their baby is in the crib and they’re monitoring them from the Nanit app. We want to give parents those precious, and priceless, memories.
What’s your favorite restaurant in the city?
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