Femtech start-up LatchAid has just secured £1m to grow its breastfeeding and early parenthood support app, following strategic funding and finance support from Innovate UK EDGE.
LatchAid is a pioneering app that uses cutting-edge 3D interactive technology and 3D avatars to help new mothers intuitively learn breastfeeding skills. The app also connects breastfeeding mothers to virtual networks to let them access close-knit peer-to-peer support groups.
These features, together with support from a highly empathetic AI-powered virtual chatbot, and live 1-2-1 support from human experts, provide breastfeeding mothers with personalised expertise and companionship, 24 hours a day 7 days a week, at what can be a challenging and difficult time.
LatchAid was founded by CGI specialist, Dr Chen Mao Davies, who previously worked on Oscar & BAFTA award-winning visual effects for Hollywood blockbusters, Gravity and Blade Runner 2049.
Inspired by her own difficulties with breastfeeding and faced with a deep personal challenge, she called on her previous experience and collaborated with film industry colleagues, infant feeding specialists and AI experts to develop the technology behind LatchAid.
“As a technologist, I was frankly shocked by the lack of innovation in this space. We had once a week peer support groups, which were useful – but what about 2am when you’re lonely, in pain and at your lowest point?”
Latch Aid’s £1m raise has come from a number of sources - a mix of innovation loans from Innovate UK, a convertible loan note from the KQ Labs accelerator programme, and equity investment from expert business angel investors.
The company’s investment journey began with the award of a prestigious Innovate UK “Women in Innovation” award and has throughout been supported by Innovate UK EDGE Access to Finance Specialist, Ed Tellwright. Ed supported LatchAid through Pitchfest, Innovate UK EDGE’s investment readiness scheme, and helped the company develop a clear, compelling and credible investment proposition.
“Ed really helped me to restructure my pitch, make it punchy and follow the thought process of an investor,” says Chen. “Pitchfest proved a big boost to our investment journey.”
LatchAid’s angel investor group was led by Dan Cobley, former MD of Google UK & Ireland, and also includes Eileen Burbidge MBE, described by Fortune Magazine as the “Queen of British VC”, along with Priya Oberoi, founding partner of the female-centred healthcare fund, Goddess Gaia Ventures, among others.
“Chen has already achieved so much with such limited resources,” says Dan Cobley. “I am convinced that, with this funding and the support of such a great group of Angels, LatchAid will grow to be an amazing force for good in this critical health area, first in the UK and then across the world.”
Innovate UK EDGE will continue to support this Femtech innovator as she helps mums redefine their relationship with breastfeeding.