How This Startup Empowers Mothers in Poverty to Save Their Infants

According to the World Health Organization, four million premature babies die annually within the first four weeks of life—about 450 per hour. In rich countries, vulnerable babies unable to maintain their own body temperature are kept in incubators that cost as much as $20,000. Embrace Innovations has created an infant warmer costing under $300. More than 100,000 mothers in poverty have already benefitted from its lifesaving design.

Our hope is that every baby goes on to celebrate his or her first birthday. Tweet This Quote

Embrace is focused on empowering mothers who are not able to access traditional healthcare. The company is developing a line of products to prevent infant and maternal mortality in developing countries, designed specifically around empowering mothers in poverty.


This post is part of a series profiling ventures in first accelerator program dedicated to impacting the lives of millions of girls in poverty. For more information on the program, check out the Girl Effect Accelerator website.

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Unreasonable Media

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  • Erin Todd

    I think this is a great way to help with the rate of infant deaths. I am curious however, once the baby is out of early infant stages will Embrace Innovations continue to provide healthcare through adolescent life? Or is it only for a certain period of time, during early development stages?

  • Matthew Montoya

    This is one of the best causes I have seen over the course of these videos! It really opened my eyes to the fact that I usually thing of nonprofits and organizations with noble justice causes, I neglect to think about the most vulnerable of all, Infants. This is not to say that the other causes are not important, more to say that I sometimes forget that there are individuals who do not even get a shot at life itself. I think this organization understood that every life deserves an opportunity, but they won;t receive those opportunities if they do not have the opportunity to live first. To think that these people dedicate their lives to fight for the lives of innocent children is absolutely breathtaking! As this organization continues to save lives and serve more people, I believe this organization will have changed the world! On another note, I thought it was amazing how she stated that the first baby their product saved was their first “customer.” I think that statement in itself brought great perspective about truly helping people as the mission of having a customer, not the conventional definition we would associate with the term customer. Overall, AMAZING!

  • Halea McAteer

    This is such an awesome product! I agree with Matthew when he said that it is a truly important cause as it gives someone a shot at life itself that they may have never had before this innovation. I was curious how women who are having these premature babies gain access to this product? Do they have to seek them out and purchase them, are they donated, do people come to their area selling them or is there some other way in which these women secure this product for their child?

  • Mallory Benham

    How can you not love this product and the benefits it can bring to the community. Although it may not help all babies, it will help someit, which is better then nothing.

  • kgallaher

    This is probably my most favorite of the Unreasonable postings. Every life matters! Embrace Innovations could have the power to change the world. It is truly remarkable.

  • Gaby Perez

    I literally got chills watching this video. It’s an amazing innovation that brings huge benefits to women in third world countries and their babies. My only question is: how expensive is the product? Will it be more expensive to create it in the U.S., thus the price rising? Other than that I loved this product!

  • zoeantonow

    Chen mentioned that they are a non-profit (or at least partially), which is cool because donations made by people better off can go toward people in need of this product that may not be as well off. My favorite part of this startup is that it brings about good on so many levels: saving premature infants’ lives, encouraging adoption, and people paying it forward (essentially) to make someone’s life across the world for them a whole lot better. I’m excited to see what other products they come out with!

  • sadeakindele

    I love that, “every life matters.” I think what they’re doing is incredible and can help families all around the world. My only question is how long does it last?? Is it single-family use or can it be recycled through many families, thus reducing the cost??

  • karnold001

    I was going to ask the same question. I don’t know the lifespan of the wax they used or how durable the product is, but if it can be reused for a couple of years then I would hope that families would share this amazing product. Love this idea!

  • pcutinelli

    This is such an amazing, innovative product that can save lives of those worldwide. Embrace Innovations has created something that can sustain life for everyone.

  • erinleigh28

    Does anyone else here have personal experience with having a premature baby living in an incubator? As I was watching this I was remembering my own twin girls that had to be in an incubator and it is awful seeing their tiny bodies in huge contraptions! That was their only issue and I wish something like this was available so I could have brought them home earlier. And I was lucky they only had to be in the NICU for a few days. Some parents have to leave their babies for a lot longer than that! I think this is fabulous for developing countries to save babies that otherwise wouldn’t survive, but I think that it will take off in developed countries too.

  • erinleigh28

    In the video it talks about bringing it to the United States to help subsidize the costs for those who can’t afford it. I think that will be key to meeting their goal of saving more babies in more parts of the world. One thing that would facilitate it being accepted in the US is to get an endorsement from the American Academy of Pediatrics.

  • jsims001

    Wow, Embrace is doing something very special and serious with this infant warmer!! The statistics at the beginning of the video were very sad and provoked an emotional response I wasn’t expecting. I made a personal connection with this product because I love babies and children, and love the companies mission:

    “Our hope is that every baby goes on to celebrate his or her first birthday.” This is one of the coolest products I have ever seen with real world, all important implications. Not only is it simple, cost efficient, and well-designed, it’s one of the most compassion driven products I’ve ever seen. We need more of these types of businesses in our world today!

  • Alexander Campbell

    Awesome product out of Stanford’s D-school. This fantastic team showed that getting out of the building really does make a difference. After going directly to Kathmandu, they discovered that the dozens of incubators provided to them were not being touched. They found that the highest mortality rate was in transit to and from the hospitals, thus the Embrace. Read more about it here: http://dschool.stanford.edu/extreme/impact/embrace_02.html

  • kt_ford

    The idea about if they can be reused or how long they can last were questions that popped up in my head as well. I think this is an amazing idea and I think it is awesome how they say that every life matters, but I just want to know how much this will cost people and if they can get the wax for cheap if it needs to be replaced.

  • Vanessa Roman

    This product is going help so many families that do not have the economic resources to save their premature baby’s. What is also very great about this product is that it is environmentally friendly and it is accessible for families who are less fortunate.

  • byrnesbk24

    As I read previous comments I could tell that this really hit home for some and for others they felt for those mothers out there. I do not have personal experience with such an issue but I couldn’t imagine going through something like that. This product is so specific in nature but could help in a global scale. How can people have such amazing ideas? We need more people like this out in the world.

  • Jessica Andrew

    Thank you for sharing this video! This is an amazing invention that could save many lives. This product will help so many people that don’t have the proper resources. I am glad that there are so many people that have so many great ideas that are helping people around the world. I think this is a great product that many people will start taking advantage of.

  • Abplanalp916

    This is such an awesome way for premature babies to have a chance at survival. The cost of this product is perfect for low income families who are having trouble affording the care that developed nations have.

  • Jeremy Rhone

    This is such a great product, yet so simple. It’s a shame that it took so long for someone to develop it. It’s hard to imagine that there are so many premature babies born. The fact that developed countries have such better resources for this situation than undeveloped ones really got me to think globally about the issue.

  • Jack Strader

    Matt I think you hit the nail on the head here. I totally agree that this video really opened my eyes to a problem I’ve never even thought about with a grouping of people that is so overlooked and under-considered. Just simply brilliant on all levels and I’m so pleased that someone is addressing these problems that so many of us tend to forget or not even comprehend. Well said sir.

  • Abbusse11

    Wow! I am a mother of two and blessed that they were born healthy and are both wonderful, purposeful adults. I have just become a grandmother again for the second time. This really got me ..oh my wipe the tears of joy. You hear about these terrible things that happen to babies and your heart goes out to them. I have seen our babies here in incubators and just are amazed how wonderful we have it and then you see this story and forget not all are so fortunate. I am just overwhelmed that there is so much not available to other countries and this videos are so necessary to share. I am certain that not enough people really know how bad it is in other parts of our world. Reality is 6 babies a minute that is so hard to imagine but the fact that Embrace is helping so many in such a short time is wonderful. I hope that they continue the success and save more important lives. Their mission is incredible.

  • bdelbian

    Truly inspiring! I would be lying if I said that I didn’t have a natural desire to help those in need, especially children. I love what Embrace Innovations has done. They have reminded me why I find passion in entrepreneurship, why innovation is such a prevalent part of life. More specifically I truly find appreciation in social entrepreneurship like this organization has done. They saw the need in these places that have limited access to resources and they were able to successfully find a way to improve the lives and the very likelihood of life for these infants. I admire the dedication that this group had and the positive impact they have made is fantastic!

  • 204Ted

    This was truly something great to see being used. Being in a developed nation makes us not realize that not everyone in the world has the same access to top health care procedures. The simplicity and accessibility of this product shows the ingenuity that is required to help the new generation to survive and allow civilization to advance further.

  • rntom

    This is heartwarming and I’m hopeful that it reaches more countries and changes more lives than it was intended to. This is the type of change that makes me see the world in a different light.

  • jvlewis1

    I like this product because it is simple, innovative, and saves lives. They talked a lot about premature babies. This could be an opportunity to try and fix that problem too. I do not mean it in a bad way but one thing i know is that sometimes babies can be born premature because of stress and many other factors.

  • Marcy Glad

    This is such a wonderful and seemingly simple solution to a grave problem. A low-cost, low-technology way to save babies that still gives caretakers some necessary time to devote to other care-taking tasks for the family. Thank you for being such thoughtful entrepreneurs. An investment in healthy, thriving babies has the kind of positive human impact that makes the world a better place!

  • KateLangyher

    Wow, so amazing! I’m blown away by the impact they are having on an equally large problem! These videos are really showing me that change is possible

  • wschutt

    I am not going to lie. This post most definitely tugged at my heart strings, and tears began pooling in my eyes while I experienced many chills that pulsated through my body when I watched this video. The raw nature of the vulnerable state of babies makes this impact more
    powerful because it creates an emotional connection with its audience–me.

    Innovative ideas like this that are creating new opportunities for the well-being of others have always interested me, even when I was little (and it was not a very hot topic on the news), and I cannot wait to maybe even be a part of one of these ideas in the future!

    This design is the essence of what true innovation and entrepreneurship is–Creating something that people want/need and is accessible/useful for them in their particular environment.

  • David Ingerman

    It is completely heartbreaking to know how many mothers have lost there babies. To know that so many of these babies are dying everyday for one simple reason, that they don’t have a basic need of warmth is unbelievable. This is an amazing products. I cannot believe this product has already saved the lives of 39000 babies over the world.

  • Matt48085

    It’s amazing how much we don’t know is going on around the world. I feel like the media is doing us a disservice in the US. I guess keeping up with the Kardashians is more important to some 🙁

  • fkrutsky

    It was a shock to me to hear how many babies were dying all around the world in such a short amount of time. I would have never thought that hypothermia could be the reason behind many of these deaths. Making a product that can help this issue and still allow the mother to tend to all of her other needs at the same time is just amazing. And here is another product that not only provides a solution but also educates mothers at the same time!

  • Lauren Schlicht

    Embrace is such an amazing concept! Its amazing to see the global impact and how many lives are being saved by this innovative invention. I think so many people take for granted the access to health care and proper medical professionals and technology that make our lives so much easier. Third word countries are in need of a useful, efficient method to incubate premature babies while cutting cost and time, Embrace does that and so much more!

  • Brooke Bower

    Amazing! My mother is actually a foster parent for medical infants and a lot of the babies that she cares for are premature babies. They normally have to stay in the ICU unit at a hospital in an incubator. Embrace would be a great product for all women who give birth to premature babies. It would allow the child to go home with their parents instead of lay in hospital, sometimes, without their parents at the hospital. I love that Embrace is actually saving so many lives throughout the world. I can see how this is a lifesaver for so many countries. Not everyone has the luxury for their premature baby to stay in a hospital. Hopefully its success will continue. I would recommend this product.

  • Jennifer Diaz

    These innovators are something special. To say that they have saved more than 100,000 infants is an astonishing achievment. I never realized millions of babies were dying because of not having proper incubators.

  • Mabel

    This organization is developing technology that is a must . There are an alarming amount of infants that die everyday because their families do not have access to the essential things . This is wonderful and i hope that this is promoted a lot more around the world.

  • rewebster3

    To think that since he began speaking that 14 babies had died is just mind blowing; to find a way around horribly expensive incubators in order to just give a life a chance to survive is truly an act of selflessness. I suppose I never really wrapped my head around the amount of premature babies were dying each day and to have him show the size of these tiny babies is mind blowing, just a great project.

  • Abby2017

    3 million babies die a year. The embrace warmer is an amazing and life saving thing.It is amazing that they helped 39 thousand infants and they are continuing to help more. This product not only helps lives, but keeps the infant safe and secure. I like how this gives infants a chance to live where there is not very good medical care. It amazed me some of the ways that the mothers would try to keep them warm. The light one was the one that really got me. The speakers said that the light could make the child go blind temporarily. That was really sad to hear. I’m glad they have a better chance at life with this product.

  • skylar365

    I love at the end he mentioned their dream of having every child celebrate their first birthday. They had a dream and now they are making that dream a reality saving 100,000 infants in 10 different countries. She also mentioned how their product went through several test phases and different prototypes, which really shows their dedication to saving infants lives. One idea at a time can help the future of this world tremendously.

  • To everyone who has commented here, thank you for your kind words. It is the goodwill and large heartedness of folks like you that helped us get going to begin with, and continues to take us through bumpy patches that we hit fairly frequently.

    When Jane and I and my other co-founders, Linus and Nag, dove into this as bright-eyed bushy-tailed grad students fresh out of Stanford, we actually thought we’d be much farther along by now. I’ve been in India 5 years now, and I look back at how naive we were. It also occasionally makes me sad that, in spite of the gratitude I’ve been fortunate to see from countless mothers and fathers in the most remote villages, other players in the healthcare system are not necessarily interested in making some of these things happen. But there are always some well meaning folks in there.

    I’m happy to share that with the support of folks like them and you, motivated by the parents and babies we help, and with the toil of a fantastic team here in India and the US and many more countries, we have now crossed a 150,000 babies reached. Cheers to that!

  • Thumbs_up

    it is a really nice startup. Besides being a good innovation, this product offers the possibility to save lives especially in places where the poverty level is too high. Congrats!!