Crystal Nyitray knows a good thing when she sees it. In her role as the Entrepreneurship Program Manager at QB3 Startup in a Box at the University of California, she sorted through new product ideas in the life science categories, picked the ones she thought would be successful, and helped turn entrepreneurial ideas into well funded companies. Although she typically only worked with companies in the bioscience field, she saw the potential in Otteroo and excitedly took the company on.
We spoke with her about why she thinks the little infant neck floatie has such a big future.
If you typically only work with medical and scientific devices, what made you want to work with Otteroo?
Although Otteroo is a little bit far from our typical therapeutic company, their innovation and approach to solving an unmet clinical need, especially on the consumer side, has a lot of value and is something we’d like to support.
What made Otteroo stand out to you?
I’m a pretty big Otteroo fan. I think what they’ve done is incredibly elegant and clever. They have a very simple approach to providing zero gravity-like exercise for infants that have muscular or skeletal deformities, and then understanding how that can help the positive development in a child. I think that’s really interesting because a lot of companies come at it with the science in your face. I really like the way that they’re thinking about this. It is so much more than a toy, and I think they recognize that.
What do you think about the company’s growth so far?
Just look at their numbers. They’ve sold close to 20,000 products already with a grass roots-based commercialization approach. I think that’s incredible. I don’t know that any of our other companies have been able to do that well in such a short amount of time. And, I think that really speaks to the talent that is based in Otteroo.
Tell us more about working with the team at Otteroo.
I think one of the great things Tiffany has done is acquiring such a fantastic understanding of what the product is and what the market is. But, at the same time, she is very keen on understanding how to develop their intellectual property to protect their technology, as well as design studies and get the right scientific key opinion leaders on board to really validate that it’s more than a toy. I think it’s quite a unique interesting approach.
And, I think their pedigree, too, speaks a lot to their capacity to do great things Tiffany’s a well-trained ex-management consultant, and you can see that her skill set is very well in tune with Otteroo’s success.
What kind of growth potential do you see in Otteroo?
I think it’s huge. What parent wouldn’t be excited or interested in making sure their baby’s toy is both functional as entertainment, as well as developmental? I think that’s a huge aspect of the market that’s still very untapped. Especially, having the science and the data to back that, which is what they’re doing right now, is great. I think we all look at different technologies, like Baby Einstein, but how much data is there to really support that these are valuable things? Having that design component from the front end, thinking about those scientific metrics of success, is potent. It definitely builds to the value proposition of their product.