Posted by: Leila Chreiteh
Posted on 02/24/2021
For us, Talli has always been love at first Demo Day. 💙
In the fall of 2020, Outlander VC’ Founding Partner Leura Craig happened upon Lauren Longo pitching at Launchpad2X. Immediately, Leura was intrigued by the badass female founder determined to help new parents with innovative, intuitive tech. With Lauren’s background in user experience and software product management—coupled with her husband John’s software and hardware development background—they created the first Talli device as a way to stay afloat during the overwhelming first months with a newborn.
As Lauren and John spoke with friends about how they were keeping up with new-parent life via a simple button device they’d built, they realized they’d built something other parents needed too. Putting their technical skills to work, they developed their concept into a beta version of the Talli device—all built inside plastic storage containers! They sent the beta device out to 30 families across the US, along with a web application they’d built to record and analyze the device’s event data. After receiving overwhelmingly positive feedback from their beta testing, they decided to go all-in getting Talli ready for market, bringing on long-time colleague Patrick Caldwell as Talli’s CTO to work with Lauren as CEO.
From the beginning, the Talli team has received frequent requests from other segments of the caregiving market who wanted Talli to help them, too: parents of older children with special needs, people struggling with diagnosis and management of chronic diseases such as epilepsy, and adult children managing the care of aging loved ones. Talli has laid the groundwork for their platform to easily expand into these additional segments, building the entire Talli platform for easy reconfiguration.
Next week, Lauren and Patrick will present at Outlander VC’s inaugural Demo Day, bringing the meet-cute story of Outlander and Talli full-circle. To mark the occasion, we’ve asked both Lauren Longo and Leura Craig to reflect on Talli’s journey since that pitch in the fall of 2020 and how they foresee Talli changing even more lives in the next 20 years.
Lauren Longo, CEO, Talli: Millennial parents have grown up as master multi-taskers with technology streamlining their professional and personal lives. With a growing number of couples working toward a seemingly-elusive work-life balance while also raising children, more and more parents are turning to tech for new ways to solve age-old parenting dilemmas: sharing the load of feedings, diapers, sleep, and day-to-day care, while also monitoring overall health and development; finding success with breastfeeding (a common hurdle new moms face); establishing sleep schedules that are healthy for baby and supportive of parents’ mental and physical health; and more.
Traditional pen and paper tracking can more-or-less get the job done but are a little clunky and obviously have zero automation for getting the data into a useful summary to show trends and patterns. Baby tracking apps have emerged in recent years as the next step; however, logging events in an app is a multi-step process and requires you to have your phone with you in the first place—neither of which is ideal in the 24/7 whirlwind of infant care. Plus, this method requires all of your child’s caregivers to be relatively tech-savvy, which can be difficult for nannies, grandparents, and other caregivers to access and update, preventing consistent tracking of care when Mom and Dad are away.
Talli’s simple, one-touch device distills the multi-step logging of these apps into the press of a button. It’s quick and easy for parents, freeing up time and mental space in their daily routine, and it’s intuitive enough for grandparents and nannies, enabling consistent tracking of care across caregivers. And we’ve even added an Alexa skill for hands-free logging as well! From the Talli device or Alexa skill, baby’s events are logged in our app, where all data appear in real-time from anywhere.
Lauren: In the short-term, we are planning to unlock full customization features this summer, which will allow parents to extend the use of their Talli beyond the infant phase. Once Talli is fully-customizable, the sky’s the limit for what our customers can track and for other markets we can serve.
With that being said, we envision Talli providing simple tracking across the care tech market: infant care, senior care, chronic conditions, and animal care in B2C and B2B channels. We also envision our customers publishing their own Talli configurations that helped them and that others can download and use, such as configurations for smoking cessation, plant care, daily chores, workout routines, etc.
We know that caregivers across industries are facing increasing demands for data entry and tracking, in addition to increased patient loads. It’s approaching an untenable situation, reflected in high turnover rates and staffing shortages. We believe that simplifying the logging of repeated care activities to the push of a button will expedite the data-entry process for overworked staff and allow them to improve the consistency of data being tracked. In this way, Talli can help staff focus on the quality of care and improve the health outcomes of the people they serve.
Lauren: First and foremost, we’re parents, so we know from personal experience how difficult and overwhelming that first year is with a new baby. We know how important and daunting it is to try and keep up with everything from shaping a symbiotic sleep schedule to getting the hang of feeding (especially breastfeeding) for both baby’s development and a parent’s peace of mind that you’ve got this under control.
We’ve spent our careers honing technical skills for finding the simplest ways technology can solve a real-world problem and then implementing those solutions. But, until Talli, we were applying these skills to things like budgeting systems and time card management. These are real business problems, for sure, but Talli is our opportunity to improve the day-to-day life and well-being of families throughout all of the wonderful and challenging stages of caregiving.
“We all truly believe Talli is something the world needs, and we believe there’s nobody who would do it better than us. ”— Lauren Longo, CEO, Talli
Lauren: My dad has been an entrepreneur for the last 30 years in various cleaning-related businesses. Until my sister and I forced him to stop, he was famous for taking a sip of his organic and environmentally friendly multi-purpose cleaner on sales calls! He’s had his share of both success and failure as an entrepreneur, so he has been a wonderful source of advice and support to me in this journey.
My mom spent her entire career teaching students with hearing impairments and special needs, and she always went above and beyond to support her students’ families outside of school. I was lucky enough to be directly involved in her work for much of my childhood, which really instilled in me a drive to help others wherever I can.
Lauren: In short: 2020. From a business perspective, the pandemic disrupted our production and we were forced to delay our Talli Baby launch. Plus, our team has now worked remotely from homes full of kids running amok for much of this year as well. I can attest that being a full-time working mom with both of my kids at home has certainly leveled-up my ability to multitask and increased my capacity for stress!
At the same time, my kids have always kept me focused on the “why” of Talli, and they’ve been very involved in this journey in their own ways. We hope to instill in them lessons around perseverance, work ethic, and never giving in to fear by modeling those behaviors through this venture.
Leura Craig: When I first saw Lauren pitch at Launchpad2X, I was immediately intrigued by the potential of such a huge and relatable problem—one which Lauren had faced herself—that Talli was seeking to solve with intuitively simple software and hardware. As an investor, I really value founders with category-expertise who develop their solutions out of their own experiences. When you’re solving a problem you’ve faced, the motivation and drive behind your venture is extremely personal, and that’s why you want to solve it.
When I reached out to learn more about Talli, she told me about a night when she broke down sobbing because her doctor wanted her to track all of these data points and metrics so they could understand how her first child was growing and evolving. And this is a common thing that pediatricians ask for because a newborn’s eating and sleeping routine is critical to their development and growth, right? But like all new parents, she was feeling overwhelmed and couldn’t figure out a way to keep track of all that information, so she decided to build a better way.
I mean, she literally built a better way. After learning more about what Lauren and her co-founders were developing with Talli, I was not only impressed with Lauren as a brilliant, organized, and driven founder, but also that they had already managed to create and test their hardware prototype. Hardware is a notoriously difficult category for tech startups. Many ventures run into issues figuring out 1) how to build a prototype, 2) how to test it, 3) when do you get users to test it, and 4) and when do you evolve it to the next generation. But Lauren and her co-founders, through thoughtful iterations and early user testing, developed a very sticky product that people absolutely love.
Leura: Well, to start, one of Lauren’s superpowers is her eye for branding and UI/UX, which is so important in a solution aimed at ease-of-use. To have hardware that’s intuitive and elegantly designed paired with incredibly intelligent software is a game-changer in the category of baby care. But what was also compelling to me as an investor is that they’re not stopping with baby care. We’ve already seen how quickly and organically Talli’s baby care platform has grown, so we are anticipating a similarly enthusiastic response when they branch out into other categories as well.
Talli’s event logging solution can easily be applied to senior care, pet care, fitness routines, medication and symptom management, and more. But in the bigger picture, it can also be applied to B2B manufacturing or any other category of business that could benefit from smart recommendations based on tracking events. In my mind, there are endless use-cases because they’ve intentionally designed it to be content-agnostic. Talli can help people be more mindful and productive, while also enabling them to reflect on the trends of their lives based on their logged-events. That’s why Talli is such a powerful solution: it can be applied to anything.
First and foremost, I believe that other investors should invest in Talli because they’ve proven to be an exceptional early-stage company a la Outlander’s Founder Framework: the founding team has already proven they have the vision, intelligence, character, and execution to build a multi-billion dollar company. Lauren and her team are not only extremely dedicated, but they have also demonstrated they have the outside-of-the-box creativity, problem-solving, and grit necessary to navigate the challenges scaling will inevitably bring.
In the last few years, consumer hardware has been neglected by venture capital. Because of this industry trend, I worry that investors will be hesitant to embrace the potential power hardware can have in solving consumer problems, especially when combined with great software. So, to all my fellow investors who love consumer products: get excited to meet Lauren and her team! This is one of those types of companies where if they get it right, Talli will change the way we think about event tracking tech solutions for good.
“This is one of those types of companies where if they get it right, Talli will change the way we think about event tracking tech and solutions for good.”— Leura Craig, Founding Partner, Outlander VC
Our mission at Talli® is to reduce the mental burden of caregiving through easier logging of care and health data. Our flexible IoT platform provides hardware and software options for one-touch, mobile, and hands-free logging across infant care, senior care, and home health markets. Talli is flexible enough to track any type of event and then translate that data into actionable information and the insights you need most.
Based in Atlanta, GA, co-founders Lauren Longo and Patrick Caldwell are disrupting the tracking and sharing of health and care data through an IoT logging and health data platform with configurable hardware and software solutions.
Leila is a communications strategist and tech enthusiast who believes in investing in a better, more progressive future.
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