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Innovative new compression-based breast pump gives mothers unprecedented freedom, enabling efficient and discreet pumping
Innovative new compression-based breast pump gives mothers unprecedented freedom, enabling efficient and discreet pumping
315 backers pledged $47,665 to help bring this project to life.

About

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$47,665

315

Make a donation directly through paypal if that's easier on our website (www.kohanainc.com

Top details you need to know:

1. 100% of the funds raised in this campaign are going to a trial to understand more about breast pumps efficacy, breastfeeding and just plan getting milk out fast and efficiently - there is NO OVERHEAD and the Kohana team is paying themselves NOTHING

2. We are studying a BRAND NEW compression based technology with far reaching implications - think combination vacuum + compression for NICU moms, compact and discreet design for working moms, low cost manual option for developing countries. This technology is novel but also routed in history - it's based on the most effective hand expression techniques studied over thousands of years

3. Our team is a group of parents with small children. We have bootstrapped this concept with ~$50,000 of our own money and thousands of hours of our own time to date - we have reached our financial limit and need your help!!! $5 and $10 donations from lots or supporters will go a long way

4. This milestone will have a huge impact on our ability to raise the additional funds needed to get this product to market QUICKLY. It isn't easy to fundraise a new breast pump with traditional investors but these trial results will make us shark tank ready!

Check us out http://www.kohanainc.com/

The problem: Pumping breast milk is hard work but a necessary evil for many new moms*

*As a disclaimer, we passionately support ALL new moms in their infant feeding decisions; we are simply striving to help moms who may choose to breastfeed do so easier. This is a NO JUDGEMENT zone

Breast milk has many well-known benefits for babies

• The beneficial effects of breast milk on infant health are multifactorial and well researched; select examples include protection from respiratory and GI diseases, improvements in cognition, and lowered risk of asthma, sudden infant death syndrome and obesity

• Despite the widespread recognition of the benefits of breastfeeding and the clear recommendations by the World Health Organization and American Academy of Pediatrics, only 19% of infants in the U.S. are breastfed exclusively for the first 6 months of life and 27% are breastfed at all at 1 year

• Harvard researchers hypothesize that improved breastfeeding rates can have a big impact on both infant health and total healthcare costs – saving an estimated ~1000 lives & $13B in healthcare costs each year

Although mothers stop breastfeeding for various reasons, the number one reason is that mother’s perceive their milk supply is too low to satisfy their babies

• Using a breast pump to express milk also may worsen the mother’s perception that they are not providing enough milk, particularly because the pump is ~50% less efficient than breastfeeding, - this is a big deal because >90% of new US mothers have used a breast pump

• Breast pumps are particularly necessary for the ~60% of mothers that return to work within 1 year of giving birth if they wish to continue to provide milk for their baby

• In addition to the struggle to maintain a milk supply sufficient for her baby, many mothers also feel embarrassed and ashamed using a breast pump 

• Pumping at work requires privacy, isolation, and considerable time (~15% of the work day) in an already stressful time period

• These are the critical obstacles confronted by millions of working mothers as they face the prospect of pumping breast milk at work so it is no surprise that almost 50% of those women who return to the work force say they stopped breastfeeding before they were ready

Although breast pumps have revolutionized a new mother’s ability to go back to work AND feed her baby, there has been very little innovation, change or improvement in the breast pump design over the past 30 years

• There are a lot of copy cats on the market and currently available breast pump options all use similar vacuum technology and design

• Breast pump suction can cause pain for some women, including tissue swelling and even permanent damage

• The necessary tiny spaces, valves, and membranes in ALL currently marketed vacuum pumps complicate and lengthen set-up and clean-up time, as well as require high-profile and obstructive product designs

Our solution: A more efficient, compact and easy to wear compression-based breast pump

We are tackling these problems head on with a radically different type of breast pump, a first-in-class compression breast pump that mimics the age-old and trusted art of hand expression to create a more natural and comfortable breast pump

• Our design is based on existing scientific research on hand expression and our cutting edge in-house proof of concept studies (see the video for more details!)

• Our pump uses rhythmically cycling compression to swiftly massage milk glands and stimulate expression (picture inflating, finger-like balloons around your breast)

• In addition, we are pioneering the field of breast feeding/milk expression by studying the pressure and cycles moms use during hand expression for the first time and incorporating this data into our pump design to maximize efficiency and efficacy

• Our compression pump includes easy to assemble inserts that adapt to any bra, our technology simultaneously compresses the back of the breast and mimics the compressive nipple stimulation that babies naturally provide resulting in milk flow optimization

• By reducing the number of parts from >10 to 2, we are simplifying both the set-up and cleaning 

• A Bonus: Our patent is on its way to approval and thus far, the United States patent office has found all claims to be patentable

• In summary, our innovative use of simple inflatable bladders to simulate hand expression increases design flexibility beyond what is currently on the market. It allows us to create a compact and discreet product that can be operated quietly, enabling the Gala Pump to be worn more comfortably by mothers

Image of Kohana's working prototype complete with compressing air bladders from just behind the nipple so the base of the breast and compact milk collection system
Image of Kohana's working prototype complete with compressing air bladders from just behind the nipple so the base of the breast and compact milk collection system
We envision the workflow looking like this but, since this vision, we have consolidated the set-up process down to just adding 2 parts!
We envision the workflow looking like this but, since this vision, we have consolidated the set-up process down to just adding 2 parts!

We have completed clinical testing to assess our compression pump’s efficacy and comfort

• After several prior iterations and testing on internal team members, we developed a versatile prototype (see above) that accommodated a range of breast sizes from size B-DD - ultimately, we will have 4 sizes that accommodate a range of sizes from A-GG

• In total, ~30 mothers with babies ranging from 2-15 months were tested with the compression breast pump and 100% achieved milk expression 

 • Overall, the majority of new mothers tested perceived our compression breast pump to be more effective and more comfortable than their standard vacuum breast pump  

We need this money to complete a follow-up trial that directly compares our compression breast pump to a standard vacuum breast pump

These study data will validate the efficacy advantages of compression; at this point, we be will be well poised to bring in the additional investment from accredited investors to bring our product to the market

• We have designed this study with key thought leaders to get the most bang for the buck

• Our total budget is ~$100,000; we have already raised $60,000 from early supporters and need your help to raise the other $40,000. 

• Our stretch goal of $60,000 would enable us to develop a more sophisticated prototype with more discreet features, including focusing on a maximizing functionality of a super quiet pump

Expected budget and timeline
Expected budget and timeline

We are setting ourselves up for success by studying both the impact of a compression only pump and a combination pump

• We have designed the study to control for variability by using tools to measure breast fullness and having moms come back for 3 testing sessions

• We are the team to do this because we have already been working on this concept and refining the technology for 3 years. CEO Susan Thompson and team member Elizabeth Nelson are both breast feeding mothers that can quickly test prototype iterations and has already logged many hours testing and retesting

High-level overview of study design
High-level overview of study design

Successful execution of this Kickstarter campaign will help to shift existing paradigms of breast pump design by demonstrating that compression can be employed to achieve more efficient milk removal and that mothers perceive compression technology as more comfortable and effective than existing monotonous vacuum pump options. Furthermore, an easy-to-use and more discreetly wearable breast pump can radically reduce the barriers to breastfeeding guideline compliance by making it easier and more enjoyable for mothers to express milk while away from their children

The team:

Andrew, Susan, Keegan and Caleb
Andrew, Susan, Keegan and Caleb

• The founders, Susan and Andrew Thompson, are the parents of two children, Keegan (4 years old) and Caleb (9 months old). After Keegan’s birth, Susan experienced the horrors of pumping at work and vowed to find a better way to do it. One afternoon in the winter of 2012, on their way to a ski trip, Susan and Andrew were brainstorming ways to make a breast pump better and wondered why none of the designs compressed the breast like mothers often do when they hand express. Furiously prototyping, we quickly learned that Susan could effectively express milk by building super glued latex inflatable bladders into coconut bra and cycling activating the bladders. After this day, we dedicated ourselves to iterating, testing and improving this concept into a real functional product. Susan is the CEO as well as a mother, biomedical engineer (PhD from Johns Hopkins University) and life science strategy consultant intimately aware of the challenges of breast pumping at work. Her background includes R&D, product development, financial forecasting, business development for device-focused, pharmaceutical, and biotech life science companies. Andrew is the CTO and brings technical proficiency and an industry manufacturing and management background as a Mechanical Engineering B.S. from University of Maryland, College Park. As a former employee of a leading compressor manufacturer, Andrew applies his expertise to develop a reliable, efficient product. 

 • Rachel is the clinical trial operations manager and will conduct all user testing at her place of employment. Rachel is certified by the National Certification Corporation as a Women's Health Nurse Practitioner (WHNP). She has hands-on experience working with new mothers at the Newborn Family Unit at Massachusetts General Hospital, and she also has experience conducting human subject research, including maintaining site documentation for IRB approval, sponsor and IRB communication, consenting patients, collecting data and analyzing data. She has completed the 90 hour Lactation Consultant training program with certification as a Breastfeeding Specialist. 

 The prototype development team consists of Tim and Elizabeth from Northeast Biomedical: 

• Tim Looney has 20 years of hands-on experience with technology projects including scope definition, design & development, schedule management, risk management, requirements gathering, and resource planning. Over his career he as has held a wide range of duties within: engineering, product development, medical device design, international operations, executive management, marketing, finance, and quality management systems. He is the President of Northeast Biomedical, Inc. is a product development firm that specializes in the design and development of medical devices and equipment. We work with companies at all stages of your development from the research through product launch. We have experience with a wide variety of projects including: minimally invasive catheters, optical diagnostics, stent systems, drug/device combinations, spectroscopy systems, automation systems, and specialized electronic equipment. 

 • Elizabeth Nelson is an engineer by training with a passion for project management and early stage concept development. She has worked in the medical field, focusing on research and development, since 2003. Through her work, she has learned the importance of integrating design for six sigma techniques and DFM into even the earliest stages of innovation. Given her passion for early stage concept development, she integrates DFSS tools into her projects and keeps up on the latest ways to innovate. Elizabeth received her B.S.E. in Biomedical Engineering from the University of Pennsylvania and her PhD in Mechanical Engineering and Materials Science from Duke University.

Risks and challenges

We are all teed up to hit the ground running on this project. We have an amazing team in place and our budget and timeline are well laid out. We have everything in place but the last $40,000 to reach our clinical trial endpoint. After this proof of concept trial, we have some risk in moving the product into the manufacturing and regulatory stages of development. To mitigate these risks, we have equipped our team with experts in these areas and have incorporated early verification steps even into early stages of prototype development. With this data is hand, we believe we will be able to raise the additional $1M to get our breast pump product ready within 2 years. We need your help and support! Thank you.

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  1. Select this reward

    Pledge $5 or more About $5

    Notification of study completion and progress update.

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    Pledge $10 or more About $10

    Notification of study completion and progress update. 1 in 400 will be randomly chosen to receive customized IPAD loaded with top mother-related apps and complete with Kohana's logo

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    Pledge $25 or more About $25

    Notification of study completion and progress update. 1 in 200 will be randomly chosen to receive customized IPAD loaded with top mother-related apps and complete with Kohana's logo

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    Pledge $100 or more About $100

    Notification of study completion and progress update plus access to our investor pitch deck moving forward and special acknowledgement on our website. This is a chance to give feedback and be a part of the process moving forward

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    Pledge $500 or more About $500

    All of the above plus exclusive access to meet the team and come see the breast pump in action and the ins and outs of the clinical study (travel to Boston not included)

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  6. Select this reward

    Pledge $1,000 or more About $1,000

    All of the above plus access to our 1st generation Kohana Breast Pump – A chance to be the first to own the only compression-based discreetly wearable breast pump.

    $1000 is NOT reflective of the cost when the pump reaches the market. This price point is because of the higher costs of early stage prototypes and our capital needs to get there. We anticipate our full breast pump to cost $250 when the pump is available for purchase.

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    Pledge $1,000 or more About $1,000

    Everything above and 2 times money back guarantee ($2000) at Kohana's 1st year of profitability or in the event of an acquisition/licensing agreement

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  8. Select this reward

    Pledge $2,000 or more About $2,000

    All of the above plus access to our 1st generation Kohana Breast Pump and we will match your purchase by donating a breast pump to your local WIC chapter in your honor.

    $1000 is NOT reflective of the cost when the pump reaches the market. This price point is because of the higher costs of early stage prototypes and our capital needs to get there. We anticipate our full breast pump to cost $250 when the pump is available for purchase.

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    Pledge $5,000 or more About $5,000

    25,000 shares of preferred shares

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Funding period

- (30 days)