Most of the investors on Shark Tank are parents — and know the anxiety that comes with a new baby. On Friday they will hear a pitch from a new company, Hatch Baby, that purports to relieve some of that anxiety; or at least create a high-tech, information-rich solution for panicked new parents.
At first glance, their product — the Smart Changing Pad — looks like a change table. But this is no ordinary change table. It doubles as a weigh scale and connects to an app where parents can track their baby’s weight, length, eating, sleeping and diaper usage. The information is shareable, so parents can stay in the loop even when they are at work or have left their child with a sitter.
Co-founder Ann Crady Weiss told CNBC in October that the product helps parents by giving them information without the need to call their pediatrician, and argued it can have a calming effect on rattled parental nerves.
“We know that parents are anxious about this, period. How do we help parents relieve that anxiety? We aren’t replacing a clinician, but this is a connected generation, and when you become a parent, your baby can’t tell you what’s going on, so this is something that can.”
In a preview clip provided to Zap2It, the sharks don’t look too impressed — especially since the product has yet to launch and the proprietors are predicting 20,000 units of sales at a price point of $299. (Prior to the episode broadcast, Hatch Baby’s website advertised a “Shark Tank special” of $199 for the Smart Changing Pad.)
The Smart Changing Pad has been reviewed by some parenting blogs. Parenting Chicken had high praise for the product overall, but cautioned that it might invoke more anxiety in some parents than it relieves.
“Are you the type to flip out and run to Emergency because your baby ate a half-ounce less than last time? Are you the type to crash through the door like the KoolAid Man because your babysitter didn’t log a diaper change? I would have found this reassuring, and loved the level of insight, but you know you, Boo.”
Even if the company is a bust on Shark Tank, Hatch Baby has funding to bring its product to market. Tech Crunch reported in October 2015 that it received $7 million in series A funding from True Ventures, a silicon valley firm. Crady Weiss has some history with True Ventures — they funded her last entrepreneurial effort, the social networking site Maya’s Mom, which was acquired by BabyCenter in 2007.
As viewers of Shark Tank know, rarely does a product without an existing sales record get an investment on the show. The sharks are often scared off by companies with existing funding, as it may affect their equity stake if they do buy in. But sometimes the sharks want to get in early if the product is particularly new and innovative.
The proprietors of Hatch Baby will have the opportunity to pitch not only the show’s regular panelists, but guest shark Chris Sacca. As Carter Matt noted in its episode preview, Sacca is a well-known, successful Silicon Valley tech investor who made timely and successful bets on Instagram, Kickstarter, Uber and Twitter.
The episode is populated with mostly technology-related items. This will be Sacca’s second appearance on Shark Tank this season. You can catch Sacca and the rest of the Shark Tank panel Friday night at 9 pm on ABC.
[Photo by ABC/The Squander]