(Photo by John Waire)
Nest Collaborative raised $2.1 million in a seed funding round that will help the company grow its virtual lactation consulting platform.
The round was led by Altitude Ventures, a healthcare-focused venture fund with offices in Houston and Nashville. Also participating was Bread and Butter Ventures, Wavemaker 360, Portfolia FemTech Fund II, Connecticut Innovations, Carnrite Ventures and the Hustle Fund.
Nest Collaborative’s platform connects mothers who are breastfeeding with lactation consultants that can address concerns and the barriers to breastfeeding that arise. Founder Amanda Gorman has shared data showing that there’s a need to help more mothers reach the six months of breastfeeding, which is the recommended time from the USDA.
This is based around three areas — access, affordability and prevention — as Gorman explained in an email to Technical.ly:
“Our virtual platform gives women easier access to timely care, as delays in adequate lactation support can contribute to early termination of breastfeeding, particularly with a known shortage of specialists. Equally important is affordability — our services are fully covered by most health plans and we take care of all of the billing for mom. Lastly, our partnership with obstetric and pediatric providers, health systems and payers allow us to engage with women prenatally, delivering a more preventive model of lactation support proven to increase the duration of exclusive breastfeeding. This provides a win-win for all — healthier moms and babies, and reduced short- and long-term healthcare costs.”
When we spoke in 2019, Gorman had built a network and established a model in which the service is offered through most insurers. The progress landed the company on our RealLIST Startups 2020. So, Nest Collaborative was already growing when 2020 began. But with a model in place, the pandemic’s shift to digital tools brought even more, leading to 10-times growth in revenue last year.
“With the world being educated overnight on what telehealth was, and its value, we saw more women actively looking for virtual help than ever before,” Gorman said.
Another 2020 move: Gorman and her family relocated to Farmington, Connecticut last year, changing the company’s HQ. But Baltimore remains part of the company’s origin and growth, and it still has team members, contracts with payers and a key advisor in Maryland.
With the funding, the company will look to scale the team. It recently added hires in operations, marketing, customer service and payer relations, as well as lactation consultants.
“This expansion will allow us to offer our services to more women nationwide through additional partnerships and more comprehensive content and marketing,” Gorman said. “We’re also making enhancements to our technology and building upon our current product offering which will be testing within the first quarter.”
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