“It’s interesting that in the Norwegian investor communities I’ve been laughed at because we have a burning desire to make the world better and easier for families with young children,” founder Anita Fevang at BabySensor AS tells Nettavisen.
Having had her fourth child four years ago, she and her husband didn’t find a baby call they felt relieve their fears about whether all was well with the baby.
Then she began the process of developing her own phone, and this resulted in BabySensor, which aims to develop the world’s smartest baby calls. Among other things, it should be able to measure the heart rate, oxygen saturation and body temperature of the baby in a completely new way.
The first version is due to be completed and ready for sale this summer, and there will be a “bracelet” with a small sensor that can be placed on a child’s arm or foot. The “wristband” sends signals via Bluetooth to a mobile app. Parents will receive an alarm if the measurements are outside the normal range.
What Fevang calls a revolutionary new version of the product line will likely come in three to five years – depending on developments in research. This version will use AI (Artificial Intelligence) technology to measure these things with the camera. According to the plan, the camera will also be able to interpret facial expressions, such as pain in premature babies.
However, Fevang had problems obtaining support for the project. Have not yet received no from Norwegian investors. She doesn’t have numbers on how many have refused, but the reactions she received are still in her body.
– Several investors took me by the arm, and said I should calm down and focus on helping families. They thought I should focus instead on how much I can earn, and grow the company, says Vifang.
According to Fifang, their reaction is particularly negative that the company wants to give ten percent of all profits to charities that stop violence against children.
However, she did not give up. With financial support from friends, family, and Norwegian nurses and doctors, I was able to get started. One year ago, the company also acquired a professional board of directors.
Received 1 million support from the European Union
Since then, there has been full speed in product development and finding partners, and now Gøril Tennes-Krogh and Line Margrethe Bårnes Hamre are co-founders.
We have world-class researchers on the team, and we will develop the second version of the product (with camera, editor’s note) alongside, among others, the University Hospital Vienna, says Vivang.
However, the company has continually collaborated with healthcare professionals, as well as designers and technology companies.
Interest from abroad has gained momentum after BabySensor recently received support of NOK 7 million from the European Union’s Eurostars programme. Eurostars is a joint initiative of EUREKA and the European Commission to promote innovative SMEs.
– She’s so amazing. She says I am really overwhelmed and proud.
Support comes in handy when they want to develop the product further, so they can release a version where they use an AI camera to “watch” the baby, alleviating parental concerns when the baby is asleep.
– We also achieved a score of 18/18 in marketing potential, at the same time we scored 18/18 in innovation, says Vifang, referring to the award from Eurostars.
Foreign companies will contribute
However, the project as a whole received 17 million NOK support from Eurostars. While BabySensor received seven million kroner, partner companies across Europe received a total of ten million kroner to develop what would be the world’s most advanced baby calling.
Vivang thinks that estimate looks very good after some Norwegian investors ” shook their heads and rolled their eyes , ” she says, when she presented them with her entrepreneurial idea.
The fact that I have dared to pitch and stand up for a different business model, despite well-meaning advice to reduce this, I am very proud of the EU’s appreciation, says Vivang.
After BabySensor received support from Eurostars, international investors called and showed interest, according to Fevang.
In working to develop the next version of BabySensor babycall, they will also collaborate with an app company in England, as well as researchers in India and the Netherlands.
Follow the development with interest
At the same time, she says, Jörn Jacobsen, director of research and innovation at Vestfold Hospital, has shown interest, and has made several suggestions.
Jacobsen confirms he has had talks with BabySensor.
The hospital in Vestfold has followed with interest the development of the BabySensor. There were talks about checking the equipment, but the corona situation prevented that, he tells Netavisen.
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