CogniKids, creator of intelligent baby products including a sensory bib for teething babies and a baby bottle grip to promote self feeding, has recently started distributing in the United States – thanks to a deal with Buy Buy Baby, a chain of 135+ stores across America.
The innovative baby products are also taking off in Europe. CogniKids has secured a deal that will see the range distributed in Spain, Slovenia and Hungary – building on a strong market presence in Ireland and the UK.
With a solid career in teaching, entrepreneurship was perhaps a surprising choice for CogniKids founder, Ollwyn Moran. ‘Life is short and I want to soak up as many different experiences as I can. When things are stable, I find myself itching for the next challenge. I could have stayed in a teaching job that I loved, but why not just go for it?’ explains Ollwyn.
In 2013 CogniKids was awarded prize money from The Ireland Funds Business Plan Competition prompting Ollwyn to apply hers
Ollywn maintains that the investor ready process was a journey of both professional and personal development. She tells Start & Scale that she appreciated the ‘tough love’ approach of the Dublin BIC Investor Ready Programme. ‘Given my background, writing a business plan was not something I had a lot of experience in. I needed people to give me the constructive feedback that would push me forward. Telling it like it is can be a rare commodity but luckily my Dublin BIC consultant did that, while also being a constant source of support and encouragement.’
Funding for Growth
Testimony to the innovative product range, the solid business plan and the market potential, CogniKids secured €250,000 in funding from Enterprise Ireland and a private angel investor in 2015.
With the vast majority of this funding earmarked for ongoing product development, Olwyn is already looking to the future. In July this year, the Cognikids team had the opportunity to pitch to investors at the Bloomberg Pitch in London to an audience of 170 venture capital and angel investors.
CogniKids has secured distribution deals with stores nationwide including Lloyd’s pharmacy, Mother-care and 80 Tesco’s locations. ‘Our plan is to build the brand in America, we are looking to position the products in mid to high end boutiques over the next 12 months’’ Ollwyn offers some advice to startups ‘I cannot express more strongly; do your research in terms of the legal aspects of your product – do your homework on IP and what is the best route for your product’’
For CogniKids product information please visit their website https://cognikids.com/