Mumbai-based NapNap Inc is a startup that focuses to solve the challenge related to a baby’s sleep as its flagship product – NapNap Sleeping Mat emulates the environment in a mother’s womb and is specially designed to improve the quality and duration of a baby’s sleep.
Mr. Sameer Agarwal, Co-Founder at NapNap Inc in an exclusive interaction with Mommy & Baby Times, presents a rundown of the brand, the kind of acceptance they have received in the market, the unique strengths of their flagship product and the future plans of the company.
Excerpts from the interview:
July 20, 2020
MBT: Could you please give us a glimpse into the business story of NapNap Inc and the idea behind starting the company?
Sameer Agarwal: NapNap is an end-to-end consumer products company, headquartered in Mumbai (India) and focused on the global Mother-care and Baby-care segment. NapNap solves everyday parenting challenges through innovative, functional and elegantly designed products and solutions. Our first flagship product – NapNapMat is a portable baby mattress that mimics a mother’s womb using a precise combination of vibrations and white noise to soothe infants and lull them to sleep within minutes. Based on clinical trials conducted by Harvard Medical Center & Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center (Boston, USA), NapNap Mat regularizes infant breathing and treats apnea among preterm babies by 50%.
In late 2017, our friends had a preterm baby and the baby was always in distress and the baby and our friends just didn’t sleep. We wanted to help them and started looking for solutions. Being engineers and product designers ourselves, we got straight to work and within a month prepared the first prototype of the NapNap Mat and it worked! The little one was instantly soothed and soon developed a healthy sleep routine. After feedback from over a hundred more parents and several iterations later, we launched NapNap Mat as it is today.
We reached out to Deepak Gupta and Aneesha Pillai who were our engineering classmates. They had been dabbling with product design and we got together and decided to engineer the product based on the scientific data out there. They clearly saw that there was no company out there that was solving parenting problems for today’s parents and we clearly had a blue ocean to play with. The four of us built the first few prototypes and did the initial round of testing in the market before hiring our first employee. Once we had the market acceptance and the product was flying off the shelf, we didn’t need to try hard to attract great talent. We are currently a team of 16.
“The NapNap mat is a soft, beautiful mat that works like magic when it comes to putting a baby to sleep. It emits soothing rhythmic motions and comforting white noise to emulate the environment in the womb. This also helps ease the baby’s breathing thereby relaxing them further.”
MBT: Since the product – the portable baby mattress by your brand is quite distinctive particularly in the Indian market; what has been the kind of acceptance and response you have received for your product?
SA: 1 out of every 3 new mothers are sleep deprived and NapNap Mat was created to solve this very problem, to begin with. In fact, sleep is the No.1 parenting problem in the world and new parents are sleep deprived for more than 44 days in the first year of parenting. While there are a number of mattress brands in the country, the concept of a vibration-therapy-based baby bed is new in the Indian ecosystem. So, creating a new category and educating the masses about the benefits of using a NapNap Mat was one of the biggest hurdles faced by the team in the initial months. Apart from this, consumer product companies require high capital infusion and it’s even higher when someone creates something totally new and deploys resources towards R&D as there’s no reference point. So, managing capital initially to create an MVP in the market was quite a challenge and it required lot of planning. Fast forward 8 months, the NapNap Mat became a common term among new mothers in the metro region, especially Mumbai & Bangalore, and we started to get ‘word of mouth’ sales.
Also, through the journey of interacting with every single customer, we understood the sort of communication that resonated well with parents and also started addressing their concerns through expert marketing. Our customers help make our products better and also lay the foundation for new upcoming ones. For instance, the NapNap Nursing Cover originated from our conversations with mothers as we got to know exactly what they needed. Today, this product is one of the most fashionable, lightweight & multifunctional apparel in the market for mothers and it is also our best-selling product.
“1 out of every 3 new mothers are sleep deprived and NapNap Mat was created to solve this very problem, to begin with… While there are a number of mattress brands in the country, the concept of a vibration-therapy-based baby bed is new in the Indian ecosystem.”
MBT: What are the key strengths of the product which gives it a unique edge over other baby mattress products?
SA: I would like to explain the Science behind NapNap Mat:
While a baby is swimming around in the womb, he is accustomed to all the sounds and vibrations of your body processes and heartbeat. When he is born, he is suddenly surrounded by completely unfamiliar territory. Every little change in temperature, movement and unfamiliar sound makes them feel extremely uncomfortable. Everything is so confusing to the baby. He reacts to these factors by crying which is not because he wants to pee/poop or eat but because of distress. This makes it quite difficult for the baby to fall asleep. NapNap Mat works best for 3rd-trimester moms & babies up to 1 year old.
The NapNap mat is a soft, beautiful mat that works like magic when it comes to putting a baby to sleep. It emits soothing rhythmic motions and comforting white noise to emulate the environment in the womb. This also helps ease the baby’s breathing thereby relaxing them further.
With a keystone adult by their side, the baby feels secure in the environment, and drifts into a deep sleep. The Mat has a number of benefits such as – it significantly improves breathing, boosts sleep, reduces crying, reduces colic, is travel/flight friendly and is smart and safe. It can be used in: Strollers, Car Seats, Cribs, Activity Mats, Flights and Bassinets. We have received a number of certification that assures the quality of the product- it is certified safe for 0-2 yr old babies by CPSC Approved Lab, is ISO 9001-2015 certified, CE Certified, and it meets British Safety Standards for Babies.
With an ecosystem of Smart Interconnected products, NapNap is redefining how technology and data will enable parenting in the future. We are leading this change by solving one parenting problem at a time. In fact, our workforce is 90% women and they are taking on the real challenges that parents, especially mothers, face in today’s times. Our Sleeping Mat is the only non-intrusive, low-cost device that actually cures sleep apnea in preemies, thereby saving thousands of infant lives. Currently, our product is being used in top NICUs across the country and is being clinically tested by top pediatricians. We are glad to be leading conversations around equal parenting, breastfeeding in public, PPD and Sleep hygiene to create awareness and drive change.
“NapNap has scaled 10X in 12 months since the time we have launched. Our ARR is INR 2 Crores with gross margins in the range of 66%”
MBT: What is the current size of the baby mattress market in the country? Also, define the key trends of the market segment.
SA: According to recent statistics, there are 27 million babies born per year in India. In 2019, the baby care market was worth INR 30 billion and the market is further expected to grow with a rate of CAGR- 17 % yoy.
The major trends which are giving a further impetus to the growth of the market are: rising disposable income, rapid urbanization and Internet + mobile OTT. This eventually gives a boost to the premium baby care products segment and the growth of Tier 2 and 3 markets.
“Our plan for the next one year is to scale and consolidate the Indian Market for NapNap Mat and NapNap Nursing Cover, to push traction in the UAE, EU and Australia Market. We will launch the Version 2.0 of the NapNap Mat and will introduce Shusher + (White Noise Device) very soon.”
MBT: Kindly outline on the market presence of the brand and share which of the two- offline or online is the major source for sales and revenues for your company.
SA: NapNap has scaled 10X in 12 months since the time we have launched. Our ARR is INR 2 Crores with gross margins in the range of 66%. We have 6 products ready in the pipeline – Uber Effective to treat sleep apnea and Bradycardia in premature infants with successful initial pilots in hospitals such as Surya, Cloud9, and Breach Candy. We are available on all online marketplaces in India including Amazon and FirstCry. 95% of our sales happen through online channels and 70% of the online sales happen on our website. We are available in Dubai and Australia and soon to start operations in UK.
We have formed an active social community of 20k mothers on Facebook and Instagram. Since we go Direct to Customer, we can manage to keep the MRP fairly lower and still deliver a very high quality product by offsetting channel margins.
MBT: Has there been any recent development at NapNap Inc? What are the future plans for the company going forward?
SA: We aspire to become the biggest baby mattress company in the world and pacify babies across the globe using technology, design & innovation. Our plan for the next one year is to scale and consolidate the Indian Market for NapNap Mat and NapNap Nursing Cover, to push traction in the UAE, EU and Australia Market. We will launch the Version 2.0 of the NapNap Mat and will introduce Shusher + (White Noise Device) very soon. Moreover, we are also going to come up with some Peripheral Products like Swaddle, Feeding Bottle & Pacifiers.
Also, our vision is to eventually interconnect all of our products through IoT and come up with a single mobile app for all devices which would have personalized data of every infant and would notify the parents whether the baby is awake or asleep or is moving.