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Innovation is born: New mom and FIU student pitch baby bottle monitor on Shark Tank

Innovation is born: New mom and FIU student pitch baby bottle monitor on Shark Tank

 


Veba Baby tracks both breast milk and formula temperature and exhaled air, giving parents peace of mind.

Irene Ferradaz Guest Contributor, FIU News

When Veon Brewster, a Ph.D. in Computer Science and student at Florida International University, became a mother for the first time, she quickly realized how difficult and stressful it was to feed her son. . She breastfed him, but often had to pump to run her errands, and after a few months she returned to work full-time as a user experience researcher at Google. I did.

Her new challenge is tracking the expiration date on bottled breast milk to ensure it's fresh for consumption.

Inspired by this very real problem, Brewster created Veba Baby, a baby bottle monitor that tracks temperature and breath in real time. Her Veba Baby, founded in partnership with her husband Sean, uses technology and health data to give parents peace of mind about their baby's milk intake.

Veba Baby, the only such device on the market, was recently featured on Shark Tank, one of the country's top-rated reality shows.

Although Mr. Brewster did not have a contract with the Sharks, Mr. Veva Baby said that even if no offers were made, the company's sales could significantly increase just by appearing on the show.The “Shark Tank effect” I would like to receive benefits. In fact, some entrepreneurs report that after the show aired, their daily revenue increased 10-20 times.

Brewster knew she was taking a risk promoting her product just two weeks after Veba Baby was officially launched, but as she says with a laugh, “Shark Tank… When they call, I can’t say no!”

Participating in Shark Tank was not only thrilling, but extremely rewarding.

Brewster said Lori really understood and appreciated the Veba Baby monitor. She said it would be a very helpful product for her first-time parents.

Mark Cuban also offered solid advice on packaging monitors and succeeding in the retail space. We had a great conversation about it and he learned that his mother spends 4-6 hours a day pumping.

Instead of applying to appear on Shark Tank on her own, as many aspiring entrepreneurs do, Brewster was contacted by the show's producers and invited to apply. She was participating in her cohort at the Techstars Atlanta accelerator in 2023. Her three-month immersive program provides access to funding and mentorship to drive business success, and she shares her inventions on Shark Tank and gives an introductory pitch to Brewster and her husband. I requested a photo shoot. (Read more about her experience applying to Shark Tank here.)

One of the most surprising things she realized during her entrepreneurial journey was how far society still needs to go to better understand the realities of new mothers, especially those who are juggling jobs. about it.

Many people don't understand how difficult it is to breastfeed a child while working, having to express milk every few hours, or the pain they experience when they can't express milk on time. I don't think so, says Brewster. When pitching to investors and venture capital firms, I am faced with the challenge of having to explain motherhood to a predominantly male audience. It can often be difficult to get people to really understand why my products are a godsend for new moms. It is estimated that 75 to 85 percent of mothers use breast pumps.

Veba Baby is still in its early stages, but Brewster is excited about the next steps.

Brewster, who officially launched Veba Baby in August 2023, recently met with Robert Hacker, co-founder and director of StartUP FIU, to continue funding R&D and adding bottle monitors. I learned about federal grants that help.

Hacker said becoming a new mother inspired Veon to expand her innovative thinking and design a unique, technologically savvy solution to efficiently track infant feedings. It's always a pleasure to work with creative and entrepreneurial students like Veon.

This article originally appeared here on FIU News and is reposted with permission. Photo from StartUP FIU. The photo of his Veon Brewster at the top of this post is from his CES in Las Vegas.

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