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Ex-Samsung Engineer Mom Finds Formula For Success In Chinese Crowdfunding
Piena CEO Michelle Kang served as a Samsung Electronic’s semiconductor engineer for nine years until she gave birth to her son. It was an experience that gave her the motivation to start her own business.
“After I gave birth to a son in Canada, I had a blood pressure problem and I couldn’t go back to work nor feed the baby. Every night when the baby cried, my husband had to wake up to make powder formula for the baby,” she recalled.
“That experience changed my life. I studied and searched, to make a product that nobody yet thought of.”
Piena‘s milk formula maker has since won the hearts of Chinese moms and succeeded in reaching its 330,000 RMB crowdfunding goal with 40 days to go on Chinese crowdfunding site The Makers.
While the ordinary process of making powder formula involves the hassle of heating and cooling over 10 minutes, Piena’s ‘Tender Touch Baby Formula Maker’ can do the job in just 90 seconds while sterilizing the water. It automatically boils, cools, and dispenses water at the right temperature for the baby and has a separate container to store and dispense formula powder. It now sells for 1,288 RMB in the Chinese market and is available at $238 USD through the company website.
In China, there are a lot of cheaper formula makers on marketplaces like Taobao, including a special self-preparing bottle launched by China-based Twtoki, which also succeeded in crowdfunding last July. However, Piena CEO Michelle Kang believes the water sterilization process Piena provides sets it apart.
“Those products in the market work likewise; mixing the formula powder with water first, then heating the water. However, Piena’s formula maker heats the water to sterilize it, then cools it down. So when water mixes with the formula powder, it’s much cleaner and safer for babies.”
Water sterilization is a concern for some parents, especially for mothers in China where most tap water is undrinkable. The WHO advises parents globally to boil water before making formula, and this 60-second water purification process by Piena is aimed at meeting that standard with minimal fuss.
“It took a lot of time and money to come up with a prototype,” says Kang. “I wish this product could help moms and dads to spend more more time with their baby, rather than hassle with preparing formula.”
Piena established a subsidiary in Shanghai’s Zhongshan Park area this March. After the crowdfunding campaign, the company is planning to launch products online through JD.com, Yihaodian, and Suning.
“As China’s economic level increases, people are looking for high-quality and reliable products. Piena promises a safe supply of Korea-made products, and we will focus on design and marketing in the China market.”
Piena received a 1 billion KRW ($845,000 USD) investment from KIPVC, and has established partnership with Innodesign to develop more baby products and home appliances over the coming years. CEO of Innodesign, YongSe Kim is one of Korea’s foremost industrial designers, praised by Bill Gates at CES.
Image Credit: Piena