Vivian Lee and Eunice Lim have been mates for more than 15 decades, and they are now also company companions to every other.
Propelled by worries in their respective breastfeeding journey, the duo embarked on their 1st business enterprise enterprise together with Go!Mama, which is Singapore’s to start with lactation pod program.
“Like most people, just after the start of my daughter in 2019, I had to return to operate and be out and about. Breastfeeding turned seriously tough then. It was so difficult to obtain a non-public house to specific milk or breastfeed,” defined Vivian, co-founder of Go!Mama.
“At function, I primarily pumped in a storeroom that could not be locked and was walked in a number of occasions by males colleagues. Nevertheless, it was my only possibility other than the woman lavatory, which was very unhygienic. When I visited my shoppers in the hospitals, there were being also (frequently) no dedicated facility for lactation intent.”
Noting this gap, she decided to stop her occupation as a organization progress executive at a health care enterprise in January 2021 and participate in a 3-month NUS Undertaking Making programme by NUS Enterprise, — the entrepreneurial arm of the National University of Singapore — and supported by Enterprise SG (ESG), that aims to support aspiring business owners get their toes off the ground.
At the conclusion of the programme, she been given a S$50,000 Startup SG Founder grant from ESG and S$10,000 from NUS Enterprise as the Accredited Mentor Husband or wife. Following this good results, Eunice at some point joined Vivian whole-time and the two officially launched Go!Mama in March 2021.
Aside from the two governing administration grants, Go!Mama has lifted S$500,000 seed funding to date.
The co-founders expended the initially number of months concentrating on products improvement, which include conducting interviews with a number of breastfeeding mothers to greater understand how to very best design and style the lactation pods. They also worked with a community manufacturer to establish a prototype, leveraging offered makerspace at Republic Polytechnic.
What’s exceptional about these lactation pods?
The latest alternative (for breastfeeding in community) are nursing rooms commonly situated in places this kind of as procuring malls, or progressive workplaces. Even so, the drawback of this kind of facilities is that they are permanent, which indicates it could be a squander of resources should really there be no nursing moms applying the rooms.
– Vivian Lee, co-founder of Go!Mama
In distinction, Go!Mama’s lactation pods are no cost-standing, completely ready-developed pods that are powered by good technological innovation. They supply moms with a cleanse, non-public and risk-free atmosphere to nurse their infant or express their breast milk.
There is also a USB charger in just the lactation pod, which permits users to recharge their electrical breast pump for the next use.
What’s more, due to the fact the pods are intended in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, the founders made guaranteed that their pods can be effortlessly cleaned and disinfected. All interior fittings are non-upholstered so they can be simply just wiped down, and a UV disinfection approach is also triggered soon after each and every use to reduce cross-contamination of viruses or bacteria.
The pods also have plug-and-participate in technical specs, allowing for them to be installed at any spot that has a energy place for electrical energy. This is best for operators who are not ready to make a lactation area in the location.
To use the lactation pods, people need to initially obtain Go!Mama’s cellular application. The application lets them look at a complete record of all lactation areas in Singapore, track down and navigate their way to the closest pod, test its occupancy, and obtain secure access to the pods.
People need to have to deliver a pin number to enter the lactation pods, which are only sent right after their profile has been verified on Singpass. “This makes certain that the pods are applied by mothers in need to have to breastfeed their toddlers or convey breastmilk, with decreased risk of abuse,” explains Vivian.
Starting up up a company amid the COVID-19 pandemic has introduced about a host of worries.
Since their organization will involve constructing a hardware item, they necessary to associate with solution developers and brands, but the pandemic has restricted them from traveling abroad and explore performing with abroad factories.
Meanwhile, Vivian observed that local factories are going through a shortage of product and manpower. Lots of services companies are also tightening their budgets, so a lactation facility may well not be the major of their priorities.
Also, with extra individuals performing from property, workplaces are also significantly less very likely to require lactation pods although this is envisioned to adjust with extra personnel now returning to the workplace.
Go!Mama has a B2B design, where our clients — who will pay back for the lactation pods to be set up — are commonly facility professionals and not our conclude end users (the lactating mums). It’s pretty complicated to really articulate the suffering and worries of a mum who has to breastfeed on-the-go to people today who haven’t skilled this problem.
As quite a few of our buyers haven’t personally long gone as a result of the breastfeeding journey prior to, it is not so straightforward for them to relate. This is anything I’m nonetheless doing the job on now, mainly because I believe that the a lot more they can have an understanding of the discomfort, the much more they will see the will need and benefit our methods.
– Vivian Lee, co-founder of Go!Mama
Moreover, as Go!Mama’s principle is the to start with-of-its-variety in Singapore, they also confront challenge in aligning them selves to the present regulations.
To aid this, they have labored with Ministry of Trade and Industry (MTI) Pro-Business Panel underneath the To start with Mover Framework and New Concept Scheme, who has served hook up them with applicable governing administration businesses to explore collaborations.
Next Sentosa trial, they are eyeing deployment at MRT stations up coming
Go!Mama has given that introduced a six-thirty day period general public demo at Sentosa in which they deployed five of their lactation pods across the island in December 2021. The mobility of the pods suggests that they can be moved very easily to distinct locations, need to one location have small targeted traffic.
The trial is however ongoing, but Vivian claimed that “a excellent amount of mums” have by now employed their pods and expressed their appreciation in the direction of this initiative.
Some also voiced out that they would like to see the deployment of the pods over and above Sentosa. In line with this feedback, Go!Mama is in talks with other neighborhood attraction providers to put into practice their lactation pods and this month, it will also be trialling their pods in the JTC launchpad @ just one-north.
“We are hoping that this will be the get started to several much more pods currently being deployed in do the job and manufacturing unit configurations to aid mums at do the job,” stated Vivian, incorporating that its critical target now is to function intently with the Land Transportation Authority (LTA) to deploy their pods at MRT stations subsequent.
“Breastfeeding mums really need additional help, and the neighborhood can do additional to assist,” urged Vivian.
“In Singapore, 99 per cent of moms attempt breastfeeding simply because it is optimal (for) toddler overall health, development and enhancement. The actuality is, mums just can’t be household 24/7 and (be) attached to their infants.”
In truth, based on final year’s facts from the Singapore Department of Statistics, much more than 50 percent of the community workforce are produced up of women.
Acquiring to hunt for a personal space each and every 3 hours — mums need to have to keep up with expressing (milk) and breastfeeding 6 to eight periods a day to manage provide — is definitely nerve-racking for mums. They are currently juggling so substantially — do the job, a new child, absence of sleeps, (managing) errands and more.
Go!Mama wants to redefine the experience of mums who are breastfeeding on the go. We also want to create a new network of lactation services fast, and (our) pods can assistance achieve that.
– Vivian Lee, co-founder of Go!Mama
Transferring ahead, Go!Mama is searching to examine new features in its lactation pods, which include air-conditioning for increased comfort and ease as nicely as the incorporation of solar panels to faucet on sustainable strength so that their pods can turn out to be a really no cost-standing device.
In the year forward, they also plan to trial additional Go!Mama lactation pods at diverse places around Singapore.
Highlighted Image Credit history: Go!Mama