Smart breast pump company Naya Health has booked more than $1 million in sales, says CEO

Key Points
  • Naya Health, which makes a smart breast pump, made headlines this week as a poster child for the lack of venture funding for women's health products.
  • The company plays at the intersection of two areas VCs typically avoid: expensive consumer products, and regulated medical devices.
  • But CEO Janica Alvarez says the company has already sold 1000 of the devices and is aiming for a $30 billion market.
Janice Alvarez, CEO of Naya Health.
Source: Naya Health

Naya Health hit the headlines this week as a poster child for the lack of venture funding for women's health products.

But reports in Bloomberg and New Yorker didn't make a clear case for why the company should be attractive to venture capitalists, who look for billion-dollar opportunities.

At $1,000, the pump a lot more expensive than the alternative: A $250 Medala pump that many women can access for free through their insurance carrier.

Moreover, it sits at the intersection of several markets that investors tend to avoid. It's a pricey consumer product, which typically require a hefty advertising spend, and a regulated medical device, which take time and money to hit the market.

But CEO Janica Alvarez tells CNBC that she has proof her company is different.

"We've sold over 1,000 units," said Alvarez by phone, which comes to over a $1 million in sales. And that's after being in the market for less than a year since the company got approval from federal regulators.

Alvarez estimates that the market size is far larger than the "seven-hundred million" cited by the New Yorker. She puts it at $30 billion, given that the company is expanding into other consumer products, like a smart bottle, and will provide feedback on health, wellness and nutrition.

"The breast pump is a Trojan horse strategy to get into the larger nutrition market," she said.

Alvarez also stressed that the company has spent very little on marketing, and many women are finding the product organically. The alternative is so poorly-designed and uncomfortable that women are willing to shell out, she said.

The company could continue to grow through its revenues, but Alvarez said a VC boost would help it meet demand and expand into a new product-set. It would also allow her to hire and pay herself. Thus far, she said, she's been living off minimum wage to get the company off the ground, she said.