Breast milk shipping company Milk Stork has raised a $900,000 Seed round led by San Francisco-based Clif White Road Investments, announced today. The Urban Innovation Fund and other notable investors also participated in the round.
Milk Stork was founded in 2015 by Kate Torgersen and her father Mike Torgersen. With its pre-order pack and ship platform, they aimed to make the lives of working, traveling, breastfeeding mothers easier. Its seed fundraise is the latest round in the growing millennial baby tech industry that is aiming to challenge gender norms and make parents’ lives easier.
“In the US, working moms are returning to work well before their babies are eating solids and also well before the American Academy of Pediatrics recommendation on breastfeeding,” CEO Kate Torgersen told Crunchbase News in an email.
Milk Stork is trying to help mothers ease the transition back to work by providing on-demand packing and shipping options for breastfeeding mothers. Milk Stork’s pre-labeled shipping supplies are sent to a mother’s destination. The mothers pack the milk they pump into the Milk Stork container and activate the supplied cold pack. They can then overnight it home to their babies, or put it in a tote and take it home on the plane with them. (The cold pack complies with TSA regulations, which means potentially less time explaining a cooler full of ice and twenty bags of breast milk.)
It’s a struggle that is often overlooked, but which Torgersen experienced herself. Women who come off of maternity leave and are committed to breast feeding have to pump every few hours during the day to continue to provide their kids with breast milk, and to maintain production. But when those working mothers travel it’s often stressful and calls for compromise.
Many women opt to pump more frequently to stock up on frozen milk before they leave and pack their breast pumps and bags into a suitcase and onto a plane. While away, mothers face a dilemma: stop pumping altogether and risk not being able to lactate, “pump and dump” (which means wasting a lot of milk), or pump, store, and take home (which also presents problems when it comes to storing milk in small hotel refrigerators, lugging it onto an airplane, and keeping it cold). This difficult situation causes many women to compromise and choose between breastfeeding and going on business trips.
“Our mission is to create solutions that will help lighten the load—both physically and emotionally—for working, breastfeeding moms so that they are able to maintain their commitment to breastfeeding (on their terms),” Torgersen explained.
Customers can carry packages home starting at $79 and ship overnight starting at $139 dollars, depending on how much milk they want to ship. That price point may not be feasible for many women, but Milk Stork says it has partnered with companies like Snapchat, OpenTable, PayPal, and Viacom to implement the service as a reimbursable travel expense, according to its press release.
Though the company currently only offers a solution for women traveling domestically in the U.S., Milk Stork says it will use the funds to reach internationally and support working mothers traveling abroad as well.
Illustration: Li-Anne Dias
Editorial Note: A previous version of this article stated that the cooler was “TSA-approved.” It has since been updated.