ParentTech - a sector pioneered by women, born from the challenges of parenthood

Chloe ShearmanContent, Social & PR ManagerHuckletree21/03/2022

When our Future Insights: Future Living report highlighted ParentTech as a sector boasting gender equality amongst founders, we were immediately intrigued. After experiencing their own challenges in motherhood, many women with visionary ideas have turned to tech to create solutions. In this blog, we’re going to explore the realm of ParentTech, showcasing both the areas of innovation and some of the daring women making parenting a smoother ride.

ParentTech refers to technology designed to ease the challenges of parenthood. From tech-driven fertility clinics and baby monitoring wearables to platforms to share parenting experiences and services for finding childcare and family-friendly events, more than 150 high-growth ParentTech companies are operating in the UK. So far, over £350m has been invested into the sector, with more than £270m of this total coming since the start of 2018. ParentTech is clearly a sector in its infancy (pun fully intended) so watch this space for much more to come.

We highlight four areas of ParentTech below— fertility; wellbeing and care; groups and activities; and childcare and safety—via some of London’s most ambitious equity-raising startups.

Fertility

With fertility rates reaching a record low in 2020 (the total fertility rate (TFR) decreased to 1.58 children per woman, according to ONS), innovation in this space is fundamental. A number of new companies are innovating products to support couples trying to conceive.

Co-Founded by Parisian entrepreneur, Caroline Noublanche, Apricity is the world’s first virtual fertility clinic combining AI fertility research with personalised human care to maximise chances of IVF success. They have successfully raised £5.35m of equity from French fund, Kamet Ventures. Their holistic offering has developed to extend to proprietary algorithms to fully personalise treatment - including embryo selection, follicle scan analysis, and hormone optimisation.

Co-founded by FemTech entrepreneur, Tess Cosad, Béa Fertility has created the first intracervical insemination kit designed for home use. They secured £800k of equity investment and £279k of Innovate UK grant funding for their at-home fertility treatment kits before its launch to consumers this year.

Wellbeing and care

Technology for the wellbeing of babies and parents is undergoing rapid innovation.

Co-founded by Sophie Baron, seed-stage business, Mamamade, has raised £261k of equity funding to grow its organic and healthy baby food subscription service. We’re huge fans of Mamamade at Huckletree. Anything that creates more time for “mamapreneurs” to innovate is a big yes from us. Plus, their food looks genuinely delicious (even from a fully-grown adult’s perspective).

Founded by Tania Boler, FemTech firm, Elvie, sure is pumping up some hype in the breastfeeding space (you absolutely cannot stop us with the puns today). Elvie attended accelerators Future Fifty and Upscale, secured equity worth £108m, and has gained traction with breastfeeding mothers, offering an electric breast pump that is silent, lightweight and discreet. Elvie has also appeared on 11 high-growth lists since 2017. One to watch, for sure.

Groups and activities

Support networks are fundamental when navigating parenthood. Parents want to meet other parents.

Meeting this need is the Peanut app. Founded by Michelle Kennedy, Peanut is a network for meeting women in a similar life stage such as pregnancy or motherhood. Backed by £16.6m of investment, the app is on a mission to ensure no woman has to navigate the challenges of motherhood alone.

The popularity of the female-founded ‘mum app’ has also been made evident by Mush, which secured £3.18m of equity and attended the NHS Innovation Accelerator before being acquired by Mumsnet in 2021. Shameless plug: Mush was co-founded by Huckletree member Sarah Hesz, who is a bit of a powerhouse in the ParentTech space. Not only is she also CCO of babysitting app Bubble, she is also a key spokesperson for working mums and a thought leader in issues around the gender pay gap. Watch her TEDxNHS Talk.

Anyone who’s ever had to entertain a toddler for a prolonged time will understand the need for an app that recommends tried and tested activities. Founded by Isabelle Marie Delmas, ParentTech app Kinfo allows parents to share recommendations and reviews with other parents and has so far raised two seed-stage equity rounds.

Childcare and safety

Helping to find childcare is a busy area for ParentTech innovators, with tiney, HiNanny, We Are Fetching, and KidSitter representing some of London’s equity-backed childcare startups.

Founded by Rachel Beech, seed-stage startup We Are Fetching has raised over 100k since their inception. Their purpose? To help parents to share the juggle of the school run with trusted friends using their Fetching app. To maximise security, We Are Fetching partner with schools and all of their users are ID verified to ensure that people are who they say they are.

So there you have it. A rundown of some of the incredible ideas and women entrepreneurs pioneering the ParentTech sector. And, with the space still very much in its early stages, we can’t wait to see what the future holds. Let’s collectively raise a breast pump or milk bottle in honour of the women making parenting just that little bit easier.


Chloe Shearman

Chloe has both a way with words and an appetite for knowledge. She joins Huckletree from a background in the innovation ecosystem with brands such as Plus X and Central Research Laboratory. Previously a self-confessed craft beer nerd, she worked in experiential marketing with drinks industry domineers BrewDog. At the weekend, you’ll find her exploring London with her dog Lillie and getting cosy with a book.

chloe@huckletree.comLinkedIn

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