Episode 68
August 24, 2021

Formula for Change

with Laura Modi, Co-Founder and CEO of Bobbie

About this episode

Laura Modi is the Co-Founder and CEO of Bobbie, the only female-founded and mom-led infant formula company in the US. With 83 percent of parents turning to formula within the first year of their infant's life, Bobbie is the first European-style organic formula that meets FDA standards. In this episode, Laura shares with us her journey from growing up in Ireland as the oldest of five with dreams of becoming a dietician, to moving to San Francisco and landing a job at Google, to working for Airbnb, where she also became a mother for the first time and found herself struggling to breastfeed and find a great formula. She talks with us about what it was like to raise a $15M Series A from investors and over 200 moms using the crowdfunding platform Republic, how she spent four years on product development to create the perfect baby formula, and the challenges she faced with obtaining FDA approval.

This episode is sponsored by

In This Episode You’ll Hear About:

  • What it was like to grow up as the eldest of five in Ireland in a family of entrepreneurs who are third generation manufacturers of construction clothing and why she went into tech
  • Why her dad encouraged her to go study business instead of dietetics and why she saw the wisdom in that later
  • What moved her over to California to work for Google and then Airbnb
  • What her experiences at Airbnb taught her about how to create a healthy family culture within a company and not just grow fast, but grow well with a strong team
  • What brought about the need in Laura’s life for a company like Bobbie and what compelled her to develop a product and work on it for four years before launching
  • Why she believes confidence and great referrals from past experiences are helpful in raising funds with investors, even if you don’t have metrics yet to share
  • How fundraising has gone for Bobbie through traditional VC funding and also the nontraditional raising through Republic, which has including over 200 moms
  • What the process of obtaining the FDA green light was like, what lessons came through it, and why it is the way it is
  • What great advice she has on how to successfully lead a startup and what is next for Bobbie

To Find Out More:

HiBobbie.com

Quotes:

“Becoming an entrepreneur myself now, have I realized that the currency to join a startup is really energy. It's passion. It’s your connection to what’s being built.”

“And it was during this I realized I love fast-growth companies. I love being in the middle of it. I loved being on call at random hours because that kind of adrenaline to be building something that wasn't just a massive revenue driver, but it was a culture changer is so impactful.”

“I think that's part of an entrepreneurial journey, which is, you spot opportunities by seeing the ridiculousness of why certain things are the way they are.”

“It continued to hit me that they are buying into my passion, my confidence, my ability to execute. What I had was, very fortunately, a decade of experience in the tech world and fast-growing companies to be able to point to to show that I did have a track record of getting shit done.”

“We were very intentional about spending the two years prior to launching and building community. And often products and companies will say, ‘well you can't do that until you have a product on the market.’ And for us, it wasn't just about the product, it was about shaking the stigma, having the conversation.” 

“When we went to market, we had hundreds of moms who were dying to share that we had just launched. I believe that is kind of the secret sauce of what allowed the business to take off.”

“It was an education of the industry that we are about to walk into. We are walking into an industry that is heavily regulated with massive companies watching your every move.”

“The people that you find that are completely irreplaceable for you, you give them the world because they are worth the world. Your entire company goes around because of the people that you hire and how you recognize them, reward them, support them.” 

“There are hands down people that give me the sweats at night if I thought about losing them...because they truly are founders, owners, developers of this business more than myself. They are incredible.”

“As a CEO, your job is to build the machine that runs, and every component of that machine is its people.”

“How you support the exit of an individual in the business will say everything about your leadership.”

Read the transcript

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