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“What you feed your child, especially if it is formula, can be riddled with guilt and embarrassment,” Modi told Crunchbase News. “The world of infant formula involves a lagging product. People are seeking out products you yourself had in the 1980s. The science has changed, and baby food is changing, and infant formula needs to catch up.”
Disappointed by the grocery store formula’s ingredients, Modi, originally from Ireland, joined with co-founder Sarah Hardy to bring a European-style formula recipe to U.S. parents.
San Francisco-based Bobbie raised $15 million in Series A funding led by VMG to develop its formula, modeled after breast milk, that meets EU nutritional standards for fundamental ingredients, such as DHA and iron, while also complying with all U.S. Food and Drug Administration nutritional standards for infant formula.
The new funding brings the company’s total venture capital investments to $22 million, according to Modi. This includes a $2.5 million seed round led by Bolt shortly after the company was founded in 2018, and another $4 million in seed funding in 2019, according to Crunchbase data.
Bobbie’s first product has been on the market since January, and its waitlist has grown to more than 7,000. Its monthly subscription is $48 per month or individual shipments are $56. The company made more than $1 million sales in the first quarter, of which 70 percent of traffic was organic and word-of-mouth, Modi said.
She intends to use the funding in three ways: product development, branding and hiring. Modi aims to leave a stamp on the Bobbie brand by starting a movement and creating a community. She also plans to add more employees. Currently, there are just over 20 employees, up from 12 just two months ago, Modi said.
“Infant formula takes years and money to get off of the ground,” she added. “We want to get back into new product development so in two to three years, we can launch more lines. We have spent a few years getting out one amazing product, but there are other babies and other needs.”
Kate McAndrew, partner at Bolt, said in an interview that the pre-seed venture firm has invested in many female founders and always has an eye out for exciting female leaders who are bringing novel, interesting companies.
When McAndrew invested in Bobbie, she was not yet a mother, so when she looked into the functional attributes of the baby formula category, she found that the cost of infant formula is more than $1,000 in the first year. In addition, that brand incumbents “were out of touch with millennials.”
“There is a whole generation of women buying European formula because they were so dissatisfied with items on the market, and that smells of opportunity,” McAndrew added. “I could also see the passion Laura had to change the whole space. Bobbie is cutting through the culture of shame and betting on women looking to evolve around who we get to be, and that is an investment I want to make. I believed in it then and I do today.”
Feature photo of Bobbie co-founders Laura Modi and Sarah Hardy courtesy of the company.
Blogroll illustration: Dom Guzman
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