Vidur Bhatnagar, 26 year old boy from Roorkee has raised US $1.1 million (Rs 7.1 crore) for his start-up venture — ‘Keriton’. Keriton is aimed at making breast milk management easier for nurses and mothers.
Bhatnagar took leave of absence from a masters degree programme in Robotics at Penn University to develop his start-up. He got the idea for the startup after seeing his sister go through the difficulty of manual breast milk management.
Bhatnagar participated in hackathon — an event in which computer programmers and others involved in software development, collaborate intensively on ‘usable solutions.’ During the event, held at Pennsylvania, Bhatnagar met nurses who were seeking a solution on better breast milk management. This resonated with his experience as well. Within 45 days of the hackathon, he formed a company to build a full scale solution for the problem.
Mother’s breast milk is important for infants but the process of managing the milk is fraught with errors including expired milk feedings. Moreover, feeding someone’s baby someone else’s milk can lead to serious diseases like HIV, Hepatitis etc.
His start-up aims to manage this issue in a more comprehensive manner with tracking mechanisms and analytics. “I found out that mothers who have their babies in NICUs cannot stay with their infants and have to pump milk upto 8 times a day and fill up to 16 bottles each day. These bottles are then hand-labeled with mother’s name, time of pumping, and when the milk was frozen. These milk bottles then arrive at the hospital where nurses spend over 13,000 hours every year just managing these bottles. Due to manual handling, there is much scope left for errors.”
How Keriton will help, he says, is by providing pre-printed barcode labels for the milk bottles and offering an app-system — an app for the mother as well as for the nurses. “A mother through the app can keep a log to track how much milk she is pumping. She can stick the barcode labels to the bottle and scan them with the app which will store all the data. When these bottles are received at the NICU, the nurse’s app automates all this information and ensures that the right baby is getting the right milk. Nurses can also send photos of the baby in the NICU to the mother through the app, which will ensure peace of mind to the new mom as well.”
The pilot phase of Keriton is to be started soon with the hospital of University of Pennsylvania. Initial investors to the start-up include venture-capitalists as well as US-based angel investors. “Once the product shows traction in the marker, next round of funding will start, may be by the end of the year,”