Owlet Baby Monitors is a small startup (not found on Geekwire 200) whose mission is to empower parents with information about their infants’ health which was previously unattainable at home. Their product uses pulseoximetry technology in their smart sock product which has the ability to measure oxygen saturation levels, heart rate, skin temperature, and whether or not your child has rolled over. The smart sock transmits data wirelessly to your smart phone where an application allows you to see real time vitals, view trends, and print reports which help identify sleep quality. Owlet Baby Monitors is a pre-revenue startup which has yet to ship its first product. All products are on backorder and their first scheduled ship is the second week of February 2014.
I expected to find Owlet Baby Monitors positioned to parents of medically fragile infants. I found the exact opposite. Owlet is positioning themselves to disrupt the long established baby monitoring market by using established technology in the medical world as a completely new way of monitoring infants. Owlet presents a new alternative to audio and video baby monitors owned by nearly every parent. It also introduces features incapable of being matched by existing products. Many parents will tell you that it is impossible to hear or see if a child is breathing using a classic audio or video monitor. The Owlet Baby Monitor is capable of setting off an alarm on your smart phone if the heart rate or oxygen saturation level dips to an unsafe level. The initial price point of $250 is more than most audio only monitors, but is a midrange price point in the video category.
According to the US Center for Disease Control and Prevention website, nearly 4 million babies are born in the US each year, almost half of which are to first time parents. Owlet Baby Monitors is targeting technology affluent moms who stay up at night worrying about the health of their child and who seek out ways to become more informed. These target customers are the types of moms who walk into pediatrician appointments with a list of questions – likely already written down and an answer already researched. They have reached out to this potential customer through multiple social media channels which point to their website which contains a video tutorial of the features available to ‘Super Mom.’
Parents who are past their first child and as a result worry less and likely already own some type of monitor are likely to pass on Owlet. Owlet Baby Monitors is also likely priced out of reach for many first time parents. However, because of the new, irreplaceable features, Owlet is set to find success as an attractive alternative for their target customer.