Vivian Lee and Eunice Lim had been pals for greater than 15 years, and so they’re now additionally industry companions to one another.

Propelled through demanding situations of their respective breastfeeding adventure, the duo launched into their first industry undertaking at the side of Cross!Mama, which is Singapore’s first lactation pod machine.

“Like the general public, after the beginning of my daughter in 2019, I had to go back to paintings and be out and about. Breastfeeding become in reality difficult then. It was once so tough to discover a non-public house to precise milk or breastfeed,” defined Vivian, co-founder of Cross!Mama.

“At paintings, I most commonly pumped in a storeroom that couldn’t be locked and was once walked in more than one instances through men colleagues. Alternatively, it was once my most effective possibility but even so the feminine rest room, which was once somewhat unhygienic. After I visited my purchasers within the hospitals, there have been additionally (regularly) no devoted facility for lactation objective.”

Noting this hole, she determined to hand over her activity as a industry construction government at a scientific corporate in January 2021 and take part in a three-month NUS Undertaking Development programme through NUS Undertaking, — the entrepreneurial arm of the Nationwide College of Singapore — and supported through Undertaking SG (ESG), that goals to lend a hand aspiring marketers get their ft off the bottom.

On the finish of the programme, she won a S$50,000 Startup SG Founder grant from ESG and S$10,000 from NUS Undertaking because the Accepted Mentor Spouse. Following this good fortune, Eunice sooner or later joined Vivian full-time and the 2 formally introduced Cross!Mama in March 2021.

But even so the 2 executive grants, Cross!Mama has raised S$500,000 seed investment up to now.

The co-founders spent the 1st few months specializing in product construction, together with accomplishing interviews with a number of breastfeeding moms to higher know how to very best design the lactation pods. In addition they labored with an area producer to construct a prototype, leveraging to be had makerspace at Republic Polytechnic.

What’s distinctive about those lactation pods?

The present answer (for breastfeeding in public) are nursing rooms most often positioned in puts akin to buying groceries department shops, or innovative workplaces. Alternatively, the drawback of such amenities is that they’re everlasting, this means that it generally is a waste of assets must there be no nursing moms the use of the rooms.

– Vivian Lee, co-founder of Cross!Mama

Against this, Cross!Mama’s lactation pods are free-standing, ready-built pods which might be powered through good era. They supply moms with a blank, non-public and protected surroundings to nurse their child or specific their breast milk.

This duo built Spores first lactation pods so mums can

There’s additionally a USB charger inside the lactation pod, which permits customers to recharge their electrical breast pump for the following use.

Additionally, for the reason that pods are designed in the middle of the COVID-19 pandemic, the founders made positive that their pods will also be simply wiped clean and disinfected. All inside fittings are non-upholstered so they may be able to be merely wiped down, and a UV disinfection procedure may be precipitated after each use to stop cross-contamination of viruses or micro organism.

The pods even have plug-and-play specs, permitting them to be put in at any location that has an influence level for electrical energy. That is superb for operators who aren’t ready to construct a lactation room inside the location.

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To make use of the lactation pods, customers want to first obtain Cross!Mama’s cellular app. The app permits them view a complete checklist of all lactation areas in Singapore, find and navigate their technique to the closest pod, take a look at its occupancy, and achieve protected get right of entry to to the pods.

Customers want to supply a pin quantity to go into the lactation pods, which can be most effective despatched after their profile has been verified on Singpass. “This guarantees that the pods are utilized by moms in want to breastfeed their young children or specific breastmilk, with lowered chance of abuse,” explains Vivian.

COVID-19 demanding situations

Beginning up a industry amid the COVID-19 pandemic has caused a bunch of demanding situations.

Since their industry comes to construction a {hardware} product, they had to spouse with product builders and producers, however the pandemic has limited them from touring out of the country and discover running with in a foreign country factories.

In the meantime, Vivian famous that native factories are going through a scarcity of subject material and manpower. Many amenities suppliers also are tightening their budgets, so a lactation facility is probably not the highest in their priorities.

Moreover, with extra other folks running from house, workplaces also are much less prone to require lactation pods despite the fact that that is anticipated to modify with extra workers now returning to the place of job.

1652064880 475 This duo built Spores first lactation pods so mums can

Cross!Mama has a B2B type, the place our consumers — who can pay for the lactation pods to be put in — are most often facility managers and now not our finish customers (the lactating mums). It’s somewhat tough to in reality articulate the ache and demanding situations of a mum who has to breastfeed on-the-go to those that haven’t skilled this downside.

As a lot of our consumers haven’t in my opinion long gone in the course of the breastfeeding adventure prior to, it’s now not really easy for them to narrate. That is one thing I’m nonetheless running on nowadays, as a result of I imagine that the extra they may be able to perceive the ache, the extra they’re going to see the will and price our answers.

– Vivian Lee, co-founder of Cross!Mama

Additionally, as Cross!Mama’s idea is the first-of-its-kind in Singapore, additionally they face problem in aligning themselves to the prevailing rules.

To facilitate this, they’ve labored with Ministry of Business and Trade (MTI) Professional-Undertaking Panel beneath the First Mover Framework and New Concept Scheme, who has helped attach them with related executive companies to discover collaborations.

Following Sentosa trial, they’re eyeing deployment at MRT stations subsequent

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Cross!Mama has since introduced a six-month public trial at Sentosa during which they deployed 5 in their lactation pods around the island in December 2021. The mobility of the pods implies that they may be able to be moved simply to other places, must one location have low visitors.

The trial continues to be ongoing, however Vivian mentioned that “a excellent collection of mums” have already used their pods and expressed their appreciation against this initiative.

Some additionally voiced out that they need to see the deployment of the pods past Sentosa. In keeping with this comments, Cross!Mama is in talks with different native appeal suppliers to put into effect their lactation pods and this month, it’ll even be trialling their pods within the JTC launchpad @ one-north.

“We hope that this would be the begin to many extra pods being deployed in paintings and manufacturing facility settings to give a boost to mums at paintings,” mentioned Vivian, including that its key focal point now could be to paintings carefully with the Land Delivery Authority (LTA) to deploy their pods at MRT stations subsequent.

“Breastfeeding mums in reality want extra give a boost to, and the group can do extra to lend a hand,” advised Vivian.

“In Singapore, 99 in step with cent of moms try breastfeeding as it’s optimum (for) toddler well being, enlargement and construction. The truth is, mums can’t be house 24/7 and (be) connected to their young children.”

In truth, in response to remaining yr’s knowledge from the Singapore Division of Statistics, greater than part of the native body of workers are made up of girls.

Having to seek for a personal house each 3 hours — mums want to stay alongside of expressing (milk) and breastfeeding six to 8 instances an afternoon to take care of provide — is in reality aggravating for mums. They’re already juggling such a lot — paintings, a brand new child, loss of sleeps, (operating) errands and extra.

Cross!Mama needs to redefine the enjoy of mums who’re breastfeeding at the move. We additionally need to construct a brand new community of lactation amenities speedy, and (our) pods can lend a hand succeed in that.

– Vivian Lee, co-founder of Cross!Mama

Transferring ahead, Cross!Mama is taking a look to discover new options in its lactation pods, together with air-conditioning for better convenience in addition to the incorporation of sun panels to faucet on sustainable power in order that their pods can grow to be a actually free-standing unit.

Within the yr forward, additionally they plan to trial extra Cross!Mama lactation pods at other places round Singapore.

Featured Symbol Credit score: Cross!Mama