Amy VanHaren, founder and CEO of breastfeeding support platform pumpspotting, first came up with the idea for her company while sitting on a “dirty bathroom floor” in the San Francisco airport.
“I was hooked up to a breast pump that was starting to sound a lot like Darth Vader to me,” she said in an interview. “I was trying to feed both a six-week-old baby and my career. I was flying across the country every month or more. … I just found myself in this world of nursing and pumping and thinking about nursing and pumping all the time. I was really isolated and really overwhelmed.”
In comes pumpspotting, a Kittery, Maine-based company that primarily serves employers. It provides guidance to employers on how to be compliant with federal and state breastfeeding requirements and offers a team of program experts to help implement breastfeeding support in workplaces. For employees, it offers an app that gives access to lactation consultants and peer support, among other services. In addition to targeting employers, the company offers its app to consumers at $9.99 a month or $99 a year. Now, the startup is looking to grow its platform and customer base after securing $2.2 million in a recent funding round it announced last week.
The funding round was led by Sincere Corporation and Maine Venture Fund and included participation from Unum Business Ventures and Maine Technology Institute. In total, pumpspotting has raised more than $3.3 million.
With the financing, the startup will accelerate its growth in the employer market (some of its current employer customers include DraftKings, Consigli Construction and Ally Logistics). It is also using the funding to help launch its pumpspotting Healthcare product, which will allow the company to sell its platform to health systems and payers. To execute these plans, the company expects to hire a head of operation and customer service, and will ramp up its sales and marketing support, VanHaren said.
The funding comes on the heels of recent legislative momentum that aims to make it easier for women to breastfeed in the workplace. This includes the PUMP Act, which requires businesses to offer a private space for breastfeeding. The Pregnant Workers Fairness Act, meanwhile, requires employers to “provide reasonable accommodations” for employees’ limitations when it comes to pregnancy and childbirth.
“With the passing of the PUMP Act and the Pregnant Workers Fairness Act, what’s happened is there is regulation and market tailwind that are supporting this vital need for companies to offer lactation support,” VanHaren said.
Offering breastfeeding support can help with retention in the workplace, according to an employee of one of pumpspotting’s customers.
“As a woman in logistics who has experienced the ‘before pumpspotting’ to the ‘after pumpspotting’ workplace, I can personally say the implementation of the program made a positive and significant difference in my return to work transition after having my second baby,” said Mickey DeJong, head of culture and special projects at Ally Logistics, in a statement. “Logistics is typically a male-dominated industry with a high burnout rate. Offering benefits like pumpspotting to employees is a great way to approach benefits from an inclusive perspective.”
Though pumpspotting is ramping up, employers have a choice in the marketplace as they look to support breastfeeding workers. Besides pumpspotting, another company that provides virtual breastfeeding support is SimpliFed, which offers one-on-one care as well as classes for parents. Maven Clinic also provides breastfeeding support, among other family and women’s health services.
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