The 2021 Amazon Launchpad Innovation Grants cast the net wide to find Australia’s most innovative new businesses who deserve a boost to help them go global. An expert panel chose five winners – let’s meet them.
A Bluetooth-enabled smart, wearable bodysuit for infants is taking baby monitoring to the next level.
‘Why is my baby crying?’ ‘Are they hungry?’ ‘Tired?’ ‘Too cold?’ Simple questions like these can cause overwhelmed, sleep-derived parents a lot of stress as they try to figure out what their baby needs and if there’s a cause for concern regarding their health.
Bio-medical engineer Shem Richards and his partner experienced this anxiety after the birth of their first child. “In the hospital we had all the support that we ever needed,” he tells Kochie’s Business Builders. “If we had any questions, we could go into the corridor and ask a midwife or paediatrician. But then comes the moment when you bring your baby home, and they start crying and you feel out of your depth.”
After speaking with other parents, Shem found this to be a common occurrence and used his experience as a medical device engineer to create the Goldilocks Suit: A wearable, portable, Bluetooth-enabled baby monitoring device.
The business idea: Smart, wearable baby clothing and app
Much like a doctor uses a device such as an EEG to diagnose a patient’s pain, the Goldilocks Suit provides feedback to parents on their baby. “It’s essentially a cry interpreter to help stressed parents get to the root of the problem more quickly and more often – allowing more time for cuddles,” says Shem.
The Bluetooth-enabled device in the suit records the baby’s temperature, sleeping patterns, breathing, feeding and development. Information, along with parenting advice from qualified healthcare professionals, is provided via the intuitive Goldilocks smartphone app.
“The closest product to Goldilocks is your midwife,” says Shem. “We aren’t trying to replace your midwife, but we are trying to augment them. Because often parents have these questions at 3am when a midwife isn’t around. If nothing else, Covid has taught us that midwives and medical professionals aren’t always as accessible as you may require.”
The Goldilocks suit was named after the ‘Goldilocks zone’ – a colloquial term used in astronomy and other sectors to describe things that are ‘just right’ (just as the character in the popular fairytale required).
“It’s about helping new parents understand what is normal and abnormal in babies,” Shem explains. “We don’t tell parents how to parent. We work with the parent to ensure their baby is in the Goldilocks zone and provide assistance when required. Think of it like Google maps: When you go into a foreign environment you use Google maps to get some local insights into the area, so you can enjoy your time there. Goldilocks is giving new parents bite-sized bits of information to reduce the questions they have, so they can enjoy their time with their newborn.”
Research and development
While Shem’s first daughter Amali provided the inspiration to create the Goldilocks Suit, his second little girl Allegra became the test subject and the first baby that Shem and his team collected most of their data from.
The company also collects qualitative data about infant development to allow it to develop highly sophisticated neural networks (machine learning algorithms) to detect anomalies with infant development as early as possible.
As well as being unique in making the sensor device part of the clothing, it’s also been designed to be portable rather than tethered to a WiFi-enabled hub by ensuring the data transfer is compatible with the latest in 5.0 Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) technology. “This means that an infant’s health insights can be accessed wherever a parent takes their mobile,” says Shem. “This includes at the shops, when they’re travelling or even in a foreign country.”
After initially manufacturing the prototypes in China, the shipping was delayed when Covid hit, so manufacturing is now done in Australia.
Test and measure
Last year Shem and his team ran a pilot of 20 units to test the first Goldilocks Suit. This gave them the confidence to scale up their manufacturing and they produced 50 units in January this year, which were sold to early adopters. After getting feedback from this trial, they made some improvements and manufactured 300 units for a pre-sale campaign that ends on 14 June.
Going forward, Shem is keen to ramp up sales on Amazon, particularly in Australia, so winning an Amazon Launchpad Grant package has come just at the right time. Amazon Launchpad is Amazon’s program to help startups and entrepreneurs grow their business online. It helps with inventory management, order fulfilment, customer service, and marketing support, allowing brands to focus their efforts on the innovation that results in more unique products.
“As an engineer, I am very aware of my lack of experience in the e-commerce industry,” says Shem. “So who better to get insights, training and support from? There is no better partner for us to have at this stage as we look to grow our direct-to-consumer market.”
Meet the other Amazon Launchpad Innovation Grant winners:
Find out more about how new and emerging brands are growing locally and scaling globally on Amazon Launchpad.
This article is brought to you by Kochie’s Business Builders in partnership with Amazon Launchpad.