Preterm and underweight babies who survive their first month can still suffer severe long-term health problems — diabetes, heart disease, developmental delay. Keeping them warm can help prevent those problems. Founded in 2008 and based in San Francisco, Embrace Innovations has done just that for more than 200,000 babies across 14 countries with its simple, cost-effective infant warmers. It hopes to help even more babies in the developing world with an assist from its first commercial products.
Jane Chen, Embrace Innovations’ CEO and co-founder, tells NewCo that over the next few years the company wants to help one million babies. It’s created a consumer-facing product — Little Lotus. For every Little Lotus product purchased in the U.S., $25 goes toward the purchase of an Embrace infant warmer for use in the developing world. In the U.S., traditional incubators cost about $20,000; Embrace’s infant warmer costs just one percent of that.
The Embrace infant warmer utilizes a wax-like material that liquefies and maintains a temperature of 98.6 degrees for up to eight hours before solidifying. After that, the infant warmers need to be charged for 35 minutes before reuse. Affordability combined with portability makes Embrace’s Infant warmers ideal for remote areas where resources are scarce and hospitals are hours away. Little Lotus products utilize a material similar to that used in Embrace’s infant warmers, though the Little Lotus products, which include a swaddle, sleeping bag, blanket, and scarf, do not require electricity.
Here are some nuggets we learned from talking with Chen …
- Fifteen million preterm and underweight babies are born every year around the world.
- Embrace has partnered with corporations such as Salesforce, Tesla, and Dermalogica to gift Little Lotus products to employees with newborns.
- The designs seen on the Lotus swaddles, Touch Our Future, were traced by mothers and babies directly helped by Embrace’s incubators. The Dalai Lama and 18 Nobel Peace Prize laureates also provided artwork, as did celebrities Ashton Kutcher and Mila Kunis.
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