Littlebird Aims to Ease Parents’ Minds With Wearable Device for Kids
Sure the latest initiatives from the Teslas, Apples and Googles of the industry tend to dominate the tech news space — and with good reason. Still, the tech titans aren’t the only ones bringing innovation to the sector.
In an effort to highlight up-and-coming startups, Built In has launched The Future 5 across 11 major U.S. tech hubs. Each quarter, we will feature five tech startups, nonprofits or entrepreneurs in each of these hubs who just might be working on the next big thing. You can check out last quarter’s Seattle round-up here.
* * *
Becoming a parent is a scary but rewarding experience. Parents have to take total care of their newborns until they return to work, and transitioning back to the office often means leaving their children in the care of a babysitter or daycare provider. When parents are away from their children, they typically have limited contact with them outside of texting or calling the person watching their kids.
When Monica Plath returned to work, she had an unnerving experience where she lost contact with the babysitter watching her children. Although her children and the sitter were fine, Plath was determined to avoid the situation again. She wanted a solution that would help parents like herself keep track of their children at all times.
“Everything in my life is connected. I know where my dog went on a walk with Wag or Rover, but I didn’t have any of that with my own child when I was going away to work and I wanted to feel present while apart,” Plath told Built In.
Plath went shopping for a tracking device but couldn’t find any made specifically for children and instead bought and hacked a Fitbit for her needs. In 2020 she founded Littlebird and created the first wearable device that tracks a child’s location, sleep and health vitals, including heart rate.
The Littlebird wearable device connects to an app that parents access on their phones. The wearable is intended for children between the ages of one and five. It aims to provide parents with ease of mind by being able to check on their children while they are away from them in a less intrusive way than calling.
The wearable is a sleek watch-style device with a silicon latch band that is meant to be difficult to remove by children. To design the device Littlebird worked with the same consulting company that helped design Fitbits and eventually brought on Gadi Amit as CTO of Littlebird. Amit has worked on several renowned wearable devices over the years.
“There are 25 million children under the age of five in the U.S., and 62 percent of those children are cared for by nonparent caregivers,” Plath said. “Whether it’s a daycare, a nanny, an au pair [or] an extended family member, there is this real need for supplementation and to have some sort of care transparency because parents want to know how that day is going.”
Plath said she received pushback from her team about not including a screen on the device but stuck with this decision to create fewer distractions for children and prevent screen fatigue.
Since launching, Littlebird has raised $2.2 million in funding and is gearing up to raise a seed round. Despite the company’s success in fundraising, Plath said she’s received feedback that bringing in a male co-founder would help elevate the company.
“We don’t need a male co-founder to be a part of this and get to where you need to go. It’s always funny when I hear that being a woman isn’t enough,” Plath said.
Littlebird wearables are currently only available on its website, but the company has agreements to begin selling through other channels next year. Over the next year, Littlebird will continue to focus on the U.S. market before expanding outward.