On September 22, Erica Costa (LEND 2016), virtually pitched her innovative new product, Learn and Lounge, to the Rines Angel Fund at the University of New Hampshire. Founded in 2015, the Rines Angel Fund is a seed-stage venture fund helping high achieving students of all backgrounds and academic disciplines to back exceptional New England Entrepreneurs. Alongside fellow OT and Rahoo Baby Co-founder Matthew Breen (UNH, 2013), she presented their new product for a potential investment. Erica contacted us to share the news of her recently launched company and expressed how her LEND experience was instrumental in her pathway to entrepreneurship.
“LEND helped me think about the bigger picture. Before LEND, during clinical fieldwork, I was narrowly focused on what was in front of me and what I needed to do with clients that day. After LEND, I felt more encouraged to think about how my skills could somehow assist in a bigger way and on a larger scale in the same amount of time. A few years ago, Matt and I started to think critically about how we could serve more families to learn clinical insights that could help their children. Only 3% of children ages 0-3 receive therapeutic services, while 17% of children go on to have some sort of developmental delay by age five. Recognizing that not everything requires therapy, we wondered how we could use our expertise to help all families. We asked ourselves: How can we proactively approach this dilemma and possibly prevent the delay of a milestone?”
Using their clinical expertise, Erica and Matthew joined with co-founder Thomas Quinn MD, a resident physician of Internal Medicine in Boston, to create Learn & Lounge as a way to help babies work on critical developmental skills during the first 6 months of life by supporting successful tummy time, which 76% of babies do not tolerate. Set at a ten-degree incline, the lounger helps reduce acid reflux as well as promote visual tracking, exploration of the environment, and the development of curiosity and attention span. Additionally, the Learn & Lounge is designed to help babies independently reposition themselves and learn to bring their hands to midline so they can play with their own hands or put their hands in their mouth to self soothe especially when they are struggling with conditions such as neonatal abstinence syndrome (NAS) or just general anxiety. At Rahoo Baby, Erica acknowledges the importance of her development team to be open-minded and accepting of the interdisciplinary model by accepting feedback from physical therapists and other medical professionals. The Rahoo Baby team is presently collaborating with a physical therapist on their next new product.
“One of the things LEND taught me best was that every individual has their own lens and perspective. Being open to and requesting the perspective of your peers and colleagues can be life-changing for the clients you are working with.”
To learn more about Learn and Lounge visit rahoobaby.com