April 17, 2017
Last week, we announced our March finalists. Now, we’re happy to finally introduce you to our March Qualification Grant winner, Aarti Mehta, Founder of aLoo.
Read our interview with Aarti below to learn about her journey to invent aLoo.
Aarti Mehta MD
WN: For those who don’t know what aLoo is, would you mind telling us a bit about your business?
AM: aLoo is a patent pending device that prevents backwash from re-entering the infant bottle during feeding. The product is a one-way valve and reservoir that can be placed in the cap of the baby bottle when preparing for feeding. As I started bottle feeding, I realized that my daughter’s saliva would flow back into the bottle and felt guilty saving the remaining liquid to reuse knowing that the milk may contain bacteria from her backwash. This was quite a dilemma for me because it was challenging to produce ample breast milk AND I was scheduled to return to work soon. I was determined to use every drop of this liquid gold and it was this realization made me want to find a solution.
WN: Can the nipple & cap be used with any bottle?
AM: I quickly learned that there are so many innovative bottles on the market and parents/babies have their favorite brand. Knowing that there are challenges transition from breast to bottle, we did not want to exclude anyone merely because of bottle brand loyalty. Our initial goal is to make the device compatible across multiple bottle brands. Currently, our device is compatible with Philips Avent and we are planning to create more sizes that will work well with other brands (Dr. Brown’s, Medela, Tommee Tippee and Playtex) soon.
WN: I see aLoo is in the testing phase. Do you have an expected time-frame of when you hope to release your product to the public?
AM: Yes, we have a working prototype! We produced a prototype that fits Philips Avent and have had a microbiological lab test the device to see if it works. I am happy to say that they confirmed our device prevents over 99% of the bacteria from flowing back into the bottle! We have been sharing the device with consumers for initial feedback and are launching a Kickstarter campaign soon to raise funds to manufacture aLoo on a larger scale. If our campaign is successful, we should be able to start selling aLoo this summer!
WN: Do you plan to sell your product exclusively online or do you hope to sell to retail stores?
AM: The ultimate goal will be to offer our product in retail stores (BuyBuy Baby, Babies R Us, Target) and be included in expecting parents’ baby registries. However, initially we will focus on solely offering aLoo online through our website: http://www.myaloo.com/ and possibly through Amazon.
WN: Do you have any advice for other aspiring mompreneurs?
AM: This is the advice my business partner gave me (this is exactly why he is my business partner!) “Make sure that the product or service you are offering is something you believe in.” It takes a lot of determination and hard work to develop an idea into reality. Do not be afraid to share your idea with others and ask for help. I was amazed by how many people were willing to provide their guidance and help me navigate through the challenges of starting a business. For me, it was helpful to network and talk to other entrepreneurs to share struggles and learn from each other. I was overwhelmed at how helpful the community has been and realized there are many resources that make launching a business more efficient than it was many years ago!
If you’d like to vote for Aarti to win the $1,000 Amber Grant, you can vote for her here.
And thanks for reading! Remember that we award a grant every month – if interested, please apply today.