NutraWomen Wednesday: Laura Katz, CEO of Helaina

By Danielle Masterson

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags precision fermentation Infant formula Infant nutrition

Laura Katz founded a company on the belief that breastfeeding should not define the health of a child—or the worth of a parent. Helaina is a company that uses precision fermentation to reinvent infant formula by producing functional proteins through microbial fermentation. According to the company, Helaina has created a new category with immuno-beneficial proteins that are identical to those found in breastmilk.

“I spent a summer years ago interviewing dozens of parents. New parents, people who were really within these childbearing years and I learned quickly that feeding infants is just a major source of concern for new parents. There's a lot of shame and guilt around breastfeeding and I wanted to be able to support parents by giving them the freedom of choice,”​ explained Katz. 

The food scientist said making the back-to-work process easier for new parents is something she cares about deeply. 

“We see 25% of parents are going back to work two weeks after childbirth and it's these types of tools that can empower them to do that or support them in the process. As we see more and more women joining the workforce and getting advanced degrees, it's around 50% of women or more who are getting advanced degrees and are pursuing the careers of their dreams. And we want to empower women to be able to be a mother, but be whatever else they want to be. And it's these early decisions that you make in caring for your child that should feel easy and should empower you. So that is absolutely something that we hope that we can do, not just with our product, but as a brand.”

So far Helaina has raised $25 million, including $20 million in Series A funding, announced in November 2021. 

In addition to running Helaina, Katz is also an adjunct professor at New York University (NYU).

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