Carrycott: Comfy for Baby, Easy for Mom and DadBy Jane Whitttington on June 15th, 2017 /
Benjamin Eu has spent time in crowded urban communities like New York City and Singapore and couldn’t help but notice the difficulties parents were having maneuvering heavy, bulky strollers through stores, streets, subways, and into taxis, buses, and cars. Thinking about this led Eu to conduct over 100 interviews and surveys with parents and caregivers. Through these interviews, he found that parents were universally frustrated with the struggles they had using strollers and prams while navigating the complexities of their lives.
Eu says, “Through talking to people, I found out that a day in the life of a parent and their child involved experiences like this: trying to get from one end of a congested mall to the other, squeezing through crowds with a stroller that is heavy and hard to maneuver, and then calling for an Uber or a taxi to get back home. Then mom or dad struggle trying to close the stroller while juggling a child, packages, and groceries. Closing the stroller requires two hands and, even then, is difficult. Meanwhile, the driver, the baby, and the traffic that is being held up are all getting impatient and the parent is becoming increasingly frustrated and tense.”
He continues, “These interviews motivated me to develop a product that would be convenient for parents and comfortable for children.”
Carrycott is a mobility-enabling electric stroller that is not only easily maneuverable but also simple to close and carry, requiring only one hand to close and carry and weighing only 15 pounds.
Eu says, “We went through a series of design changes in the development process. We first built a proof-of-concept prototype using parts from current products. Then we made woodworking tools, then 3D printing the modelled components. At present, we are using Computer Numerical Control (CNC) machining with a contract manufacturer in order to achieve a quality product.”
Eu is hardly a newcomer to the world of entrepreneurship. At only 13, he enrolled at the ERC Institute of Singapore for a diploma in Enterprise Development. After that early introduction, he attended St. Joseph’s Institution-Harvard ArtScience course. He is currently a student in the College of Engineering at the University of Michigan.
Eu was able to seek out the advice and guidance of experts throughout the world. He says that he is particularly grateful for the advice of Professor Kristin Wood, the Co-Director of the Singapore University of Technology and Design-Massachusetts Institute of Technology International Design Center.
Eu says, “Professor Wood gave me valuable advice on product design and development, providing me with the tools to conduct user studies, brainstorm ideas, and analyze our product. In addition, the MIT Global Entrepreneurship Bootcamp and a class in disciplined entrepreneurship taught by Bill Aulet gave me the link between an idea and product validation that brought me to the next stage of my venture.”
He continues, “Through these experiences, I was exposed to an entrepreneurial community that I could count on for advice from various industries throughout the world.”
Carrycott’s base in Michigan, particularly in Ann Arbor and the University of Michigan with its top ranked entrepreneurship and robotics programs, affords a distinct advantage in securing funding through awards and grants. With Carrycott’s acceptance to the Enchant Venture Capital Accelerator Program, the team received guidance in marketing, crowd funding, and design for manufacturing. The Program even took the team to Shenzhen, China to work with contract manufacturers in that country.
CarryCott is designed, prototyped, and tested in Ann Arbor and is manufactured in Shenzhen, China. While they are not yet in any retail outlets, they can be purchased online, and they carry out a robust social media ad campaign.
Eu says, “We recently embarked on a project with a product design consulting firm to improve on our current design. We have filed for the provisional patents and are looking at licensing the technology to a baby stroller company. We plan to work with the company to scale the production and reach more parents globally.”
Eu and his team, Natalie Shepich, John Benedetto, Sai Surya and Sean Ng, are dedicated to the success of the company and their goal of making life a little easier for parents and more comfortable for children.
For more information on CarryCott, visit their website at www.carrycott.com