Nanit’s CEO Sarah Dorsett On The Importance Of Community, Raising $25 Million In Series C And The Future Of Baby Tech Industry
Nanit – the company behind the only smart baby monitor that connects parents to their baby’s health and development, continues to pave the way for a new generation of baby tech products, some of which might look like they came out of a sci-fi movie. Except, the future is here now, and traditional baby monitors are so last year. Nanit modernized the traditional baby monitor when it introduced the first smart baby monitor positioned over the crib for a bird’s eye view of the baby. Nanit was also the first to combine computer vision technology with scientifically backed sleep research to help parents see and hear everything happening in and around the crib so both their babies and themselves can sleep better. Win-win!
Before Nanit was created, the only options to monitor your baby were audio and video monitors where you viewed your baby through the side of the crib. The experience was limited by external units that only worked within short distances and provided obstructed views. The category had seen little innovation in decades.
Today, the smart baby monitor market is expected to grow from US$ 989.38 million in 2020 to US$ 1,815.31 million by 2028; it is estimated to grow at a CAGR of 8.0% from 2021 to 2028. There are many reasons for this, according to the report by Research and Markets: an increasing number of working parents worldwide, the increasing concerns associated with child safety, and the smart baby monitoring products help parents to carry out their activities efficiently without being stressed about their babies’ activities and safety.
Deloitte in 2020 ranked Nanit as 19th out of 500 of the fastest-growing technology, media, life sciences, and energy tech companies in North America and Nanit was the only female-led company to be in the top 20. In January last year, the NPD Group revealed the winners of its fourth annual Consumer Electronics Industry Performance Awards at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, where Nanit was awarded as the brand with the greatest increase in market share in North America for smart baby monitors.
“On average, parents lose 44 nights of sleep in just their first year of parenting. Unlike traditional baby monitors, ours offers an easy way to see but also track how well your baby is doing – from how well they are sleeping, to their real-time breaths per minute, and now their height and growth. We are helping parents learn about their baby and alleviate some of their anxieties through a picture of their baby’s overall growth and progression,” shares Sarah Dorsett, Nanit’s CEO. Since launching in 2016, Nanit has tracked nearly 300 million hours of sleep, 56 million parental visits, and over 29 million morning wakeups. “94% of parents that use Nanit say they sleep better,” adds Dorsett.
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In April, Nanit launched Nanit Pajamas, the newest addition to its popular line of Breathing Wear wearables that allow parents to monitor their baby’s breathing motion without wires or sensors. Using the computer vision of Nanit’s overhead HD camera, these wearables feature distinctive patterns designed with shapes and colors that are scientifically engineered to be read from any angle to let parents know the second their baby needs them.
Another addition to the company’s product line is Smart Sheets – the first textile that allows parents to measure their baby’s height and track their growth in real-time at home using their Nanit camera. This is especially handy in between visits to the pediatrician or health visitor. So how does it work? “Parents simply lay their baby or toddler down on a Smart Sheet in the crib and use the in-app tools to mark the key measurement points on the baby, then Nanit’s advanced computer vision processes the baby’s height based on its calibration against the proprietary pattern printed on the Smart Sheet. Parents can see a real-time reading of their baby’s height in the Nanit app, and can then store those measurements and track growth progress over time,” explains Dorsett.
To help Nanit grow and introduce more products, GV (formerly Google Ventures) recently led a $25 million Series C funding round and GV partner Frederique Dame joined Nanit’s Board of Directors. Existing investors Jerusalem Venture Partners (JVP), Upfront Ventures, RRE Ventures, and Rho Capital Partners also participated in the round, which brings the company’s total capital raised to $75 million. “Nanit is so much more than a baby monitor. Our technology will enable parents to truly understand their baby’s development – with insights into even more aspects of their health and well-being than we do today. With this latest round of funding, our investors have put their faith in us to continue to modernize the new parent experience and safely connect families to their children’s health through meaningful data and insights.”
Today, the applications for computer vision technology in the health and wellness area are endless. Nanit’s team sees much more they can do on the consumer side and, according to Dorsett, have an entire research department that partners with universities, hospitals, and others, where they use Nanit to understand baby’s sleep and development. “This way, babies don’t need to be hooked up to machines, causing an unnatural sleep environment. Using the data from Nanit cameras, researchers can see results in their natural space.”
Nanit’s sales increased 130% in 2020 compared to the year before, further exemplifying the shift from traditional baby monitoring with simple audio or video, to a more involved parenting style, where parents are kept involved with the baby’s overall development. And not only parents – grandparents, aunts, uncles, caregivers, and others make up 20% of Nanit’s active users – demonstrating how important the solution is for families separated by a few blocks or even countries.
Next week the company will launch the Nanit Community, a public forum for Nanit customers and non-users to connect with each other for advice, share experiences and interact with other parents who are at the same stage of parenting. The community leverages Nanit’s insights and data to create a personalized experience for users, even offering access to experts, exclusive information, informational webinars, and much more.
“We have a strong and growing global network of parents who rely on Nanit’s technology for the incredible information we provide. And with the Nanit Community, we will help them connect with each other as a real-time support system, letting them feel confident and more informed than ever before,” concludes Dorsett.