As a mother of three, Nanit CEO Sarah Dorsett knows firsthand just how important it is for parents and babies to get proper sleep. "On average, parents lose 44 nights of sleep in just their first year of parenting," she says. And living through COVID-19 hasn't made sleep routines easier on families. A recent study suggests what many of us already know: COVID-19 has thrown off bedtime routines, and many people — including parents and children — are experiencing poor sleep quality.
Nanit is on a mission to make it easier for parents and babies to invest in better sleep. The company's flagship camera, the Nanit Pro Camera, uses computer vision and machine learning inside a baby monitor to track babies' sleep, breathing motion, and growth. Its algorithms provide timely data points to optimize sleep for both parents and babies, including recommendations on when to intervene or put a baby to sleep. TIME called it "one of the best inventions of 2018". My colleague M.G. Siegler has also been singing Nanit's praises for the past several years. So I'm especially excited to lead Nanit's Series C announced today.
Nanit CEO Sarah Dorsett
The company's ambitions go beyond the baby monitor and cameras. Nanit has moved into Breathing Wear and Smart Sheets designed to make sleep, and parenting, easier. This month, Nanit products rolled out to 340 Target stores and are available at major retailers nationwide. Last year, Nanit became the second fastest-growing company in New York's Tri-State region.
Part of what sets Nanit apart is that the current baby monitor market tends to thrive on fear — on the notion of a crib as a scary place. "There is no brand that celebrates the crib," Sarah tells me. "We wanted to share the perspective that a crib is a magical place where babies can learn, change, and grow."
Nanit has designed its products to be accessible to the parent's team of caregivers, grandparents, and family members who are interested in tracking a baby's sleep and growth. "We think we have the data and technology to support the conversation with caregivers and providers," explains Sarah. "With Nanit, you can set up user profiles. During COVID-19, we set up the ability to create more user profiles to keep the family unit connected, and the parents control the whole experience."
In my work with Sarah leading up to GV's investment, I've found her to be an "iron fist in a velvet glove" type of person. She's decisive, kind, visionary, and collaborative. A former executive at Bed Bath & Beyond, she also recognizes the power of being a mom and a CEO for a company taking on the nursery. "I can always look through my mom lens. I can always bring what I experience as a parent to product development," she explains.
As for moms running companies, Sarah observes, "There is a lot of change you have to be ready for. Lean into those qualities as a mom. Being an entrepreneur means you have to embrace what you're selling. You have to treat it like it's your baby — you're growing and nurturing it. Lean into those qualities, and they will serve you well."