Babbly secures US $2.5M seed financing

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By CPE News

CPE News Brief (6.14.2022) – Babbly has raised US $2.5 million seed financing led by Esplanade Ventures and with participation of American Family Insurance Institute for Corporate and Social Impact, and Trend Forward Capital.

The financing closed in February 2022. Sheldon Elman from Esplanade Ventures has joined Babbly’s board of directors.

Founded by CEO Maryam Nabavi and CTO Carla Margalef Bentabol, Babbly provides parents with smart insights and actions to support their child’s development from 0-5 years.

photo credit: Babbly


How our seed funding will help tackle one of parenting’s greatest challenges

It’s exciting for any founder when others are willing to invest in their vision. I’m thrilled that Babbly has raised $2.5M USD in seed round funding—and for me, the moment is even more meaningful because it’s personal.

When my son was 18 months old, his language was not developing as expected. He wasn’t hitting his milestones, but our pediatrician advised me to wait until our next appointment and see if he was still behind at his next check-in. It was like being told to sit back and do nothing, and I couldn’t shake the feeling that we were losing precious time. So, I trusted my gut and asked for help from speech and language pathologists—and within six months, my son was saying words and putting short sentences together.

My story is not unique. In fact, speech and language delay affects one in 10 children in the US & Canada. Like many aspects of early development, speech and language is tracked by various checklists and age-based milestones. It’s a common source of confusion for parents—but one that is rarely acknowledged. Different checklists offer different age ranges, and there is no single, reliable source of truth we can trust. The status quo leaves us confused and unsure, especially when our concerns aren’t being taken seriously by others. At Babbly, we’re setting out to change that.

Informed Intuition: A new way to empower parents

We are turning this problem on its head by moving from a milestone and checklist-based model to what we call “Informed Intuition.” We know parents have strong instincts when it comes to raising their children. When we translate the science, provide objective data and offer judgment-free support for parents, they are empowered. They feel confident that they can make a difference in their children’s development—and they know when they need to take action. With this in mind, we believe it’s time to create a parent-first approach to early childhood development that acknowledges parents’ perspectives and concerns in a more meaningful way.

We’re challenging the mantra of “wait and see” with an approach that educates and empowers parents. When my co-founder Carla and I first started Babbly, we knew our North Star was to support as many parents as possible by giving them real-time knowledge about their child. We developed a technology that makes sense of the speech and language milestones, so busy parents can find clarity and support. With our proprietary speech-recognition software, parents can quickly and easily determine what kind of speech skills their children have and learn what actions they can take to build new ones.

Focusing on speech and language development
We are starting with a focus on speech and language, because this is an especially difficult thing for parents to track on their own. It’s one of the more complex and nuanced areas of early childhood development—and a common source of anxiety for many parents. If children fall behind, less than half get the intervention they need, and often not until they reach preschool age. By then, families have been scrambling for years to find answers and resources. And, Covid has made the problem even more urgent: families suddenly have to navigate virtual doctor’s visits, and waitlists for intervention have ballooned to 18-months in parts of US & Canada. With our depth of focus on speech and language, we can offer parents a depth of support they can’t find anywhere else—but we believe our “Informed Intuition” approach has the potential to solve other parenting challenges in the future.

Finding new ways to amplify our impact
Any time a parent shares how Babbly has helped them and their family, I’m reminded of how vital clarity and support are in this journey. That’s why our seed round funding is important—because it means we can expand our AI-powered platform to reach even more parents in the early years of their child’s development. The funding round was led by Esplanade Ventures with participation from American Family Insurance Institute and Trend Forward Capital. We’re thrilled to welcome Dr. Sheldon Elman from Esplanade Ventures to our board, who will bring decades of experience as an investor, operator and physician.

This is an exciting time for us at Babbly, because the funding will help us to expand our reach to parents that have children from 0-5yrs, and enable us to give them hyper-personalized support that is powered by our proprietary insights and data. And, it will allow us to amplify our impact by creating new experiences that are purpose-built for speech-language pathologists.

I am endlessly fascinated by the diversity of the early childhood development journey and I am grateful for our early employees, investors and advisors who trusted us with their time and resources. Together, we can make a real difference for parents. At Babbly, we see a future where Informed Intuition is the norm not just for speech and language, but for many different areas where parents struggle to find answers. I want to help parents understand that they have options and encourage them to trust their instincts. When we support them in this way, we can make a world of difference for their families and their children.

About Babbly:

Babbly provides parents with smart insights and actions to support their child’s development from 0-5yrs. The company is based in Canada and was founded by Maryam Nabavi (CEO), former VP of product at Idea Couture (Acquired by Cognizant) and Carla Margalef Bentabol (CTO), former Machine Learning Scientist at Amazon.