The expertise of LactApp comes from the breastfeeding sector. The idea comes from a personal experience of María Berruezo, co-founder with Alba Padró, one of the great experts and international lactation consultant (IBCLC) with more than 19 years of experience in attention to the mother. “Before being a mother, I had an advertising agency. Motherhood turned my life upside down and opened up a new world for me. -account Maria Berruezo- I trained as a lactation consultant and met the one that is currently one of my partners: Alba Padró. A few weeks after having my second daughter, a car ran over us, and although the girl was fine, that accident separated us for two months. It was thanks to Alba that I was able to recover breastfeeding as soon as I was able to be with my little girl again. “
From that moment they conceive the idea of creating a solution that allows mothers who want to breastfeed their babies to feel accompanied and advised at all times. “All women should be able to decide. And, to do it well, women need accurate and up-to-date information, professional support and a peer-to-peer network, “she says. Enric Pallarés, the third partner and CEO of LactApp, was responsible for developing the technology and providing the business vision that has made the company scalable.
Only in the afternoon that they announced in the networks that they were going to launch the app they got more than 1000 followers. LactApp is currently the leading app for breastfeeding and maternity in Spain, where 12% of new mothers use it. The percentage grows to 42% among mothers who breastfeed during the first six months of the baby’s life.
LactApp is present all over the world with more than 200,000 registered users, 25,000 of which are active monthly users that perform more than 35,000 queries per week, that is, one consultation every 17 seconds, having already surpassed the 2.6 million queries made. 55% of the traffic comes from Spain, with the rest being distributed among the different Latin American markets, especially Mexico, Chile, Argentina and Venezuela. They are also becoming relevant in the United Kingdom and the United States.
IN THE FIRST APPLE ENTREPRENEURS CAMPUS
Data such as those indicated place LactApp among the health applications with more downloads and active users, a reason that has drawn attention to the heads of Apple selecting it among the 11 startups from around the world that will participate in the first Campus of Apple Entrepreneurs. It is a two-week event held at its headquarters in California, focused on companies run by women who use an iOS app. They are also among the 100 best startups in Europe in the Red Herring 100 Startups 2019 ranking.
But, despite the social impact and the great acceptance in the market, the company did not have an easy start. Before they had to validate the business model and convince the users that theirs was not an NGO, but a project with a business vocation for growth that brings value, both to users and to public health, convinced, as they are, of that breastfeeding prevents multiple future diseases.
For the start-up of the company, the three founding partners started with a joint contribution of € 28,000. The first 8,000 euros were allocated to the development of technology with a simple MVP that made it possible to test the product. “The reaction of the users was so positive that we were clear that we had to invest again to launch a more complete and intuitive version”, comments María Berruezo.
DEVELOPMENT ‘IN-HOUSE’, THANKS TO ENISA
The second version of the app cost € 15,000. The rest of the investment was destined to design, legal texts and management. In order to continue advancing, they then turned to a participative loan from Enisa that, in the Young Entrepreneurs Line, awarded them € 40,000. “This allowed us to make our first contract: the first developer of the app. It was an important boost that allowed us to start developing our own technology and LactApp’s first major business decision. Having the internal development of the app at home allowed us to evolve the application and get more capital through a business angel and some more loan. The team grew up with Rocio Tovar, our CTO, and we started working on our artificial intelligence to help even more mothers. “
SOURCES OF INCOME
After having demonstrated a clear Market Fit with a solution tested in a relevant environment and with very relevant organic traction data, LactApp is implementing different income channels. After the summer, it plans to launch a B2C monthly subscription model for mothers that allows them to access differentiated content and make use of the Artificial Intelligence behind the app. The free version of the application acts in a reactive way offering personalized answers to the mother’s questions. Premium users (monthly subscription of 3.99 euros) will receive proactive recommendations from LactAppbasadas on their usage data and health habits. The privacy of the data is a topic that worries them a lot and is an element that is always present in how they develop the app.
They have also developed a B2B model. “The value proposition of LactApp is to offer personalized answers. That implies that a pregnant mother, a mother with a baby of 2 days or another with a baby of 4 months do not access the same content in the app, “they explain. It has already been 6 months that a beta version of the application is available to which only professional profiles have access and they are using more than 2,000 health services that will also monetize with an annual subscription model of 89.90 euros.
Third, they offer academic and sponsorship services to health providers. Thus, the result of a collaboration agreement with the Ramón Llull University and the Faculty of Blanquerna Health Sciences, LactApp has created and manages the first postgraduate course in breastfeeding expert. The first edition of the postgraduate will be in October 2019 and during its pre-registration period it has already become the most requested training of the university’s offer, leading, before the start of the first edition, to the creation in parallel of the second edition this year 2019.
Apart from those indicated, there are other forms of income that have to do with sponsorship agreements with brands from the world’s maternity sector.
This is how, little by little, LactApp has been ensuring a turnover that if in 2018 was 30,000 euros, they expect to increase significantly this year thanks to the launch of the subscription models and various agreements with large healthcare providers.
LONG TERM TRAJECTORY
But the trajectory of this startup has only just begun. Berruezo is convinced that, within a period of five years, “LactApp will be responsible for generating a significant impact in the improvement of the world lactation ratios that will allow savings in public health costs of billions of euros. Not only will it be positioned as an essential tool in the improvement of public health, but it will possess patents and an intellectual property in the field of artificial intelligence and health very appreciable”.
They knew in advance that there was nothing in the world similar to what they launched, but the key to success is not attributed to the originality of the idea, but to the fact that:
“LactApp was born with a mission that remains intact around the figure of the woman. It is a feminist, technological and health project that progresses in a determined manner driven by the commitment of its team and the support of the community.”