Baby and Kids Tech Startups
Tech is entering every imaginable industry, and the kids/baby/pre-natal industry is no exception.
Early-stage startups in the baby and kids tech space are gaining increasing investor attention.
According to CBInsights deal activity in baby and kids tech startups reached a record level in 2016 with a total of 176 investments. The number will be even higher in 2017 with an estimated 185 deals.
“BabyTech” is defined as “companies developing tech-enabled products and services that primarily serve babies, children up to 12 years old, and their parents” (by CBInsights). I’ve also included pre-natal products and services as there is significant activity in this area as well. This could include everything from e-commerce sites to preschool EdTech platforms to high-tech toys.
Here are 7 startups in Stockholm that are innovating in this space:
Prion is a private photo sharing platform that connects pre-schools and parents. The secure sharing of photos and moments to selected groups of people makes Prion ideal for pre-schools to involve parents in the daily activities. The platform can be used for other purposes as well, such as photo sharing between parents and family members to document their lives together. Prion has raised 2,4M SEK from investors such as Niklas Zennström (Founder of Skype) and Sebastian Knutsson (Founder of King). After a successful beta launch Prion is now available for download. If you know of a pre-school that would be interested please contact the team here.
Bonzun is “the only app you need for a safe pregnancy”. After having a hard time finding information online about health issues during pregnancy, the founder Bonnie Roupé had the idea of creating an app about pregnancy that offers all the relevant and important health information in one place. The app has gained significant traction in China (under the name Kexuema) where it was dowloaded 320,000 times in just two months. Bonzun is currently raising capital and can be found on the Stockholm Life Science Hotlist.
Pillr is a service providing birth control consultation and prescription online. The startup aims to create a hassle-free process for women in Sweden by digitizing female health. The goal is to be the first legal option for women that want birth control services online. “We are passionate about empowering women by increasing the access, the quality and the safety of today’s Birth Control Care, putting the individual in charge of informed choices”. The three founders of Pillr are currently attending KTH and are part of KTH Innovation.
Peppy Pals is a series of award-winning, research-based apps and e-books designed to teach kids 2–8 years old about emotions, empathy and friendship through storytelling and humor. Since its launch in 2014, the apps have been downloaded in over 150 countries as there is no text or language used. The company is backed by angel investors such as Hampus Jakobsson (founder of TAT that sold to Blackberry). Last year, Peppy Pals partnered with Sweden’s biggest fast food chain, Max Burgers, who licensed Peppy Pals characters and distributed over 1 million products in Sweden. Peppy Pals will also begin airing as an original series on Viaplay, the Nordic’s equivalent to Netflix, this fall.
Natural Cycles is the only certified app for contraception. The Telegraph wrote a great article about Natural Cycles where they asked “Could an app really replace the contraceptive pill?”. It turns out it can — with an special thermometer and proprietary algorithms. Natural Cycles has 150,000 users worldwide and was founded in 2015 by particle physicist Dr. Elina Berglund Scherwitzl (who was part of the team that discovered the Higgs Boson at CERN) and her husband Dr. Raoul Scherwitzl.
Babyshop is one of the biggest e-commerce sites in Sweden. The site boasts over 500 million SEK in annual revenue and is valued at 1 billion SEK. The company is now eyeing a European expansion and has recently raised funding for that purpose. Babyshop is also acquiring competitors such as Lekmer, an e-commerce site focused on childrens toys.
Eday-Care is a digital management platform for kinder gardens or day cares. Through the mobile or web app, kindergarten staff and parents get access to a platform that allow sickness reporting, attendance, daily reporting and more. Parents can update the check-in-check-out times online along with children’s details, pictures and information like allergies, food preferences from anywhere and anytime via the smartphone app. Eday-Care is currently used by 10 preschools in Stockholm and is focusing on growth in Sweden as well as other Scandinavian countries.
Naratus is an audiobook service for children and teenagers. For a fixed monthly cost you get unlimited access of children books in audio format.
Kidsread is like Netflix for children’s books. The platform offers hundreds of children books in digital format to read and view.
Storimi is an app with children’s book that allows anyone to record their reading of those books. Children can then view the books and play the recording, as if the book was read to them.
Toca Boca is a game studio in Stockholm that specialises in children’s toys in the form of apps. The apps are not games per se as there are no scores and objectives other than play. At one point Toca Boca was the leading children’s app maker along with Disney. Toca Boca was acquired by Spin Masters in 2016.
Side note: I used to run one of Swedens largest sites for parents. It was the third largest parenting site in Sweden at the time. I ran the site when I myself became a parent, but sold the site years ago to focus on my role at Invest Stockholm.