4moms, the small Pittsburgh-based company that’s re-imagining the baby products industry by incorporating robotics, electronics, and innovative engineering into things like strollers, infant seats and playpens, has raised $20 million from Bain Capital Ventures. The firm’s sister fund Bain Capital also has investments in Toys R’ Us (Babies R’ Us) and Gymboree, so there’s the opportunity for some knowledge-sharing and marketing opportunities here, it seems.
As for the 4moms products, in case you haven’t seen them – well, they’re pretty crazy. TechCrunch’s gadgets team has been going hands-on with these things for years, and doling out compliments like “the coolest gadget I have ever seen since the original TiVo…and it’s just a damn stroller.” Seriously, these things almost make you want to pump out babies (or more babies) just to try them out. Well, almost.
What makes the 4moms products so different? For starters, they’re not your typical baby products – they’re basically gadgets. This Origami stroller opens and closes with the tap of a button, for example.
If you don’t have kids, you may not realize exactly how impressive some of this technology is. True story: my husband and I had to google “how to set up a playpen” on our first attempt. We had to watch a YouTube video to figure it out, I’m embarrassed to admit. Another time, we forgot to set it up for the sitters (ahem, grandparents) in advance, and later found out they just let the kid stay up until 1 AM because she had nowhere she could get comfortable sleeping. Let me just tell you, the fallout from her sleep deprivation is not something I’d wish on anyone. Ever. So, yay: someone is working on building better versions of all this stuff, and making products that anyone could use.
That being said, there are some downsides to the 4moms products. The stroller is still a bit hefty, for example. But the bigger concern for some parents will be the price. These products are seriously high-end. A good chunk of the baby-making demographic can’t afford to spend nearly $900 on a stroller. But then again, maybe the grandparents owe us one?