The team at Warmilu has discovered that nothing is as easy as it seems, especially when you're trying to create a new product from scratch.
The downtown Ann Arbor-based startup has been working to bring its warming blanket technology to market for the last year but has run into snags along the way, such as getting labeling and packaging right. However, the 3-year-old company is still looking to launch sales of its blanket later this fall, perhaps as soon as November.
"That's our goal, but we know it’s an ambitious goal," says Grace Hsia, CEO of Warmilu.
Warmilu represents its blanket as a non-electric heating wrap that acts instantly, is reusable, and microwave safe. Hsia and her two co-founders (all University of Michigan graduate students) developed the blanket with the idea of keeping newborns warm. It has since grown the idea to include using it for the elderly and people dealing with pain or soreness from ailments like arthritis.
"There is a robust home-heat-care market," Hsia says. "It's mainly men and women over the age of 50."
Warmilu and its team of five people (it recently hired a marketing and creative director) are hoping to use the revenues from its initial sales to help fund the further development of the blanket for neonatal care. The startup is also working to raise a seed capital round of $250,000 to fund the development of the technology, but Hsia and her partners would prefer to continue bootstrapping the venture by growing its sales beyond Michigan.
"We want to reach out and build that Warmilu presence not only in Ann Arbor but globally," Hsia says. "We would like to self-finance our growth."
Source: Grace Hsia, CEO of Warmilu
Writer: Jon Zemke