Despite raising $6.5 million initially, the company hit a wall in raising more funds.
24 Oct, 2018FORTUNE.COM
Naya Health, a firm that sold a $1,000 “smart” breast bump, has stopped offering the product for sale on its website, no longer updates its social media accounts, and has shut down its customer-support site.
Customer complaints are rampant, with buyers complaining about late shipment, no shipment at all, flaws in the product, and an inability to obtain replacement parts critical to pumping.
Naya’s breast pump relies on the flow of water instead of an air-vacuum to stimulate milk production, and a soft silicone seal instead of hard plastic cup. It was advertised as more comfortable as a result. The pump monitored milk flow and other parameters that could be tracked via a smartphone app. It was also lightweight, sleekly designed, and had fewer parts requiring cleaning.
CNBC first reported on Naya Health going dark on Oct. 23. Naya Health didn’t immediately response to a request for comment from Fortune. CNBC received a bounced email reply to its attempt.
The company said in September 2017 that it had sold over 1,000 units. However, despite raising $6.5 million initially, according to Bloomberg the firm’s founder, Janica Alvarez, said she had hit a wall in raising more funds. The New Yorker cited Naya in an article examining the difficulty of women-oriented products receiving venture-capital funding.
It also had a hard climb to sell its pump at $1,000, when competing models could cost $200 to $400, and could be rented and covered by insurance. The New York Times Wirecutter product-review site noted the price at just $650 in its October 2017 breast-pump roundup. Its top picks ranged from $160 to $220.
Naya Health launched a Kickstarter campaign in late September 2017 for a follow-up product: a smart bottle that promised to track how much milk was pumped into and how much a baby drank out, as well as provide “the nutritional composition of your breast milk.” While the bottle raised nearly $109,000, it included a reward level with a heavily discounted breast pump--just $449, including one smart bottle.
The company’s Facebook page was last updated in June. On that last post, one owner posted four weeks ago that, “my breast pump stopped working and I’m desperate to be able to pump so I can go into work.” Another said in August, “I ordered your pump in May and it’s been over 3 months and no sign of it anywhere!!” That post said they had paid $1,500 upfront for the pump and supplies.