“Women want a closer connection with their baby.”
Pregnancy is rough. It starts with what feels like food poisoning that last for three months. Then, once the nausea subsides a little, the heartburn sets in, and you can’t even like at a snack without fire roaring in your throat. Then you get to the point where it hurts just to exist and no clothes, not even the maternity pants with the extra stretchy waistband, fit. But the very worst part of pregnancy is the constant anxiety that comes from wondering if your baby is okay inside the womb. Sure, you can do a kick count, but what do you do if the count is low? How do you know the difference between paranoia and an actual, medical emergency? I once showed up to my doctor’s office unannounced and demanded an ultrasound just because my baby’s kicks seemed a little less enthusiastic than normal. I was desperate for a peace of mind, like all pregnant mothers are, and wishing there was some way to get it more easily and more affordably.
Which is probably why Rubi Life, the makers of a wearable fetal activity tracker, walked away with the $40,000 grand prize at the 2017 Utah Entrepreneur Challenge.
Rubi Life offers the peace of mind for which pregnant mothers long. Using nanotechnology, the Rubi Life fetal activity tracker — attached to an elastic maternity band — tracks kick count, heart rate, and fetal position. Rubi Life sends the activity tracker data to an app on the mother’s phone and alerts her if her baby is at risk.
“Women want a closer connection with their baby,” says Rubi Life founder Eric Stopper. Stopper was inspired to start Rubi Life after his wife’s miserable pregnancy during which she was constantly sick and worried about her unborn son. “There was definitely a log of anxiety,” Stopper says. “I felt there had to be something better.”
Stopper originally intended to create an at-home ultrasound system, then pivoted to a more wearable fetal tracker. He plans to use the $40,000 from the Entrepreneur Challenge to develop the app.
The Entrepreneur Challenge, managed by the Lassonde Entrepreneur Institute, is open to all university students in the state. Stopper is a senior in the marketing program at BYU, but will be taking time off from school to run the flourishing business. After winning, Stopper told other entrepreneurs, “Take it one day at a time, when you feel like giving up you just have to make it work.”
To bring the story full circle, I offer that same advice to pregnant woman everywhere.
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