When Inge Plautz returned to the workforce as a new mother in 2017, she found herself in an uncomfortable place – breast pumping inside her vehicle in a downtown Milwaukee parking garage.
Plautz, who is a senior vice president of Old National Bank, was attending a seminar in a facility where she was also hosting clients. After calling the facility, she discovered there were no accommodations for a nursing mother.
“On a personal level, for me, I never want my wife pumping in a car in a parking garage in Milwaukee,” said her husband, Steve Plautz. “I don’t want that happening to anyone else’s wife, sister or mom.”
Shocked by how little people knew about the needs of a nursing mother and the lack of available resources for on-the-go breastfeeding mothers, the couple decided to develop a solution. They co-founded PumpHero, LLC in 2017.
PumpHero is a free mobile app that uses geolocation to offer nursing mothers a curated list of nearby mothers’ rooms or “pump sites.” The app specifically caters to nursing mothers who travel frequently or are returning to the workforce.
PumpHero generates revenue via ads and also charges businesses to appear on the app’s curated and vetted list. Businesses also pay a fee to PumpHero to have their app included in a company’s wellness benefits package. However, the company also has plans to eventually create a subscription-based premium version of the app that will offer exclusive features.
A year after the app launched, PumpHero had 850 users, 40% of which are active, Inge Plautz said. Active users, she said, are those returning to the app not only to find nursing rooms, but also to add new pump sites and engage with other users on PumpHero.
While the app includes public facilities such as airports or museums, the majority of pump sites are in or around professional settings such as co-working spaces. Although users can submit locations, not all identified sites fit PumpHero’s strict criteria.
“Every location listed on the app is vetted and they are expecting moms so we can control and promise that consistent experience,” Inge Plautz said.
For a pump site to be PumpHero approved, the location must be a safe and secure space with a lockable door, a comfortable chair and an outlet, Inge Plautz said.
PumpHero, which graduated from gener8tor’s gBETA program in December, is in the process of establishing partnerships with businesses and corporations.
Pump Hero, LLC
Location: Milwaukee Founders: Inge and Steve Plautz Founded: 2017 Product: A mobile app for breast feeding mothers. Website: pumphero.net Employees: 2 Goal: Increase partnerships with businesses and expand mobile platform service offerings. Experience: Inge Plautz is a senior vice president for Old National Bank. Steve Plautz is a Navy veteran and former firefighter.