Anya baby & breastfeeding app logo - a lower case letter a with a baby's face with a tuft of hair with the word anya in lower case to the right

LatchAid Ltd. secures £1m seed funding

April 7, 2022

Breastfeeding and early parenthood support innovator LatchAid Ltd. announces today that it has closed its seed funding round as well as an ultra-competitive £510k InnovateUK Innovation Loan.

Breastfeeding and early parenthood support innovator LatchAid Ltd. announced today that it has closed its seed funding round as well as an ultra-competitive £510k InnovateUK Innovation Loan as testament to its ground-breaking technology and user traction.

LatchAid was founded by Dr Chen Mao Davies, an Oscar (Academy Award) and BAFTA award-winning R&D specialist who previously worked on the visual effects of Hollywood blockbuster films Gravity and Blade Runner 2049. Chen’s own struggles with breastfeeding compelled her to start LatchAid in order to revolutionise breastfeeding and early parenthood support with equal parts technological innovation and empathy.

The company’s total funding to date has comprised a mix of innovation loans, convertible loan note from the KQ Labs accelerator programme, and equity investment from strategic business angel investors. The angel group was led by Dan Cobley, former MD of Google UK & Ireland, and also includes Eileen Burbidge MBE, the “Queen of British VC”, along with Priya Oberoi, founding partner of the female-centred healthcare fund, Goddess Gaia Ventures, among others.

The LatchAid app rebranded as Anya in late 2022, to serve parents better across 1,001 days of parenting. LatchAid lives on as the unique 3D breastfeeding animation tool in the Anya app.

Commenting on the round, Founder and CEO, Dr Chen Mao Davies, said, “As a Chinese female solo entrepreneur running a women’s health business, it’s not easy to find investment. But if you can find the right investors, great ideas and a great team will ultimately attract funding.”

As well as positive health outcomes for mothers and babies, breastfeeding offers social, economic, and environmental benefits. However, the UK has the lowest breastfeeding rate in the world90% of women give up breastfeeding before they want to because of pain, health issues, and/or lack of support. Unsuccessful breastfeeding costs society $1bn per day globally

The company has already garnered numerous awards and funding competitions, including a COVID-19 Fast Response grant; a Sustainable Innovation Fund grant; the prestigious Women in Innovation Award from Innovate UK; grants from NHS Improvement, UnLtd, the EU and the Health Foundation.

Dan Cobley, former Head of Google UK and Ireland, and co-founder of ClearScore and Salary Finance said: “Chen has already achieved so much with such limited resources. I am convinced that, with this funding and the support of such a great group of investors, Anya and LatchAid will grow to be an amazing force for good in this critical health area, first in the UK and then across the world.”

Funds from this round will be used to augment the technical and commercial teams and to expand the company’s B2B offerings to healthcare organisations as a licensed prescription app, to corporates for employee benefit schemes, and to insurance companies for health insurance packages. It also aims to expand its B2C market reach to expectant and new mothers. Product R&D goals include developing sentiment AI capability, expanding core support to a 1,000-day cycle (from pregnancy until the baby is 2 years old), enhancing 3D interactive components, and cross-platform development for iOS and Android.

It has recently completed a successful pilot with 12 NHS trusts and the HCRG Group across the UK, demonstrating positive health economic benefits.

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