Anyone with children is well aware of the mountain of equipment that the smallest humans seem to need: car seat, crib, toys, highchair, changing table, stroller, bouncy seat, monitors, just to name a few! And when the family wants to take a vacation trip, particularly by airplane, figuring out what to shlep along and what to do without for the duration is a serious dilemma.
If the family is staying in a hotel, there might be a crib available, but many families are now opting to stay in an Airbnb, or rent a house or condo for their family vacation. Or perhaps they are planning a visit to the children’s grandparents, who do not have the necessary items in their home. Now what?
BabyQuip is the answer! BabyQuip is a platform business model (think AirBnB or Uber) comprised of a network of independent providers. These independent entrepreneurs, known as Quality Providers (QPs) deliver clean, safe and insured baby equipment to the vacation destination, and pick the items up as part of their service. The process of renting is simple. Before going on vacation chose a Quality Provider in your vacation destination and shop and pay online for the necessary items. The local provider makes contact with you to arrange delivery. Some will even meet you at the airport!
Originally named Babierge (baby + concierge), the company was founded in 2016 in Sante Fe, New Mexico, by Kerri Couillard, who was faced with needing to get rid of her now-unused baby equipment. Rather than just toss them or give them away, she had the bright idea to try renting them. This turned out to be a very good idea!
On April 19, 2018, Berenice Magistretti of, wrote that the company was concluding a $1.3 million seed round with investments from Startup Capital Ventures, GWC Innovator Fund and Stanford-StartX Fund, among others. At the time, according to Magistretti, the company had over 200 partners, but expected to reach 500 by the end of 2018. They had acquired the Rent Baby Equipment and Baby Equipment Rental directories, as well as forging partnerships with Destination Hotels and Kid & Coe.
BabyQuip is now run by Fran Maier and her son, Joe Maier, along with a talented team of web designers, graphic artists, marketing and operations experts. (Kerri Couillard left the company in 2017.) They are supported as well by a team of professional advisors who themselves are founders and CEOs of successful businesses (as well as being parents who know from first-hand experience the difficulties of traveling with small children).
The QPs who provides services through BabyQuip are carefully screened and provided with intensive training in baby gear safety, tips on sales and marketing and proper cleaning of the equipment. They are also taught to monitor safety recalls and are provided with liability insurance as an added level of safety for both the QPs and their customers.
Fran Maier has worked at numerous other start-ups, includingand , as well as being a co-founder of . In the interview with VentureBeat, Maier said that really led to her present venture, joking that she “went from matching and marriages to babies!”