Dan Aziz stood outside of pharmacies surveying pregnant women for market research before starting his company, Luna Pharmaceuticals, which developed Premama.
Aziz was a student at Brown University at the time, putting together a business plan that could eventually sell for $100 million as part of a class assignment. He was an athlete and had always taken supplements, so he honed in on that space.
In 2010, he went to Whole Foods and asked customers what kinds of supplements they wished were available at the time. A few women told Aziz they wanted prenatal supplements other than the current pills, which were hard to swallow and often caused stomach pain.
“We have taken this approach of being very innovative and very attune to what customers want and need.”
Aziz started researching the prenatal supplement market and found there weren’t many options besides the pills women were complaining about. The more he talked to women, the more he learned they were displeased with the prenatal supplement options available.
The research continued and Aziz launched a company to offer alternatives to the prenatal supplement pills, including gummies and drink packets. Today, Premama offers eight different pre- and post-natal products, with five more on the way. Aziz says the company has grown 546 percent over last three years. He hopes to continue that pace of growth.
Premama has six employees in its Providence office, up from two employees three years ago. The company also closed a Series B round earlier this year, led by a private equity firm.
Adding new products beyond prenatal supplements has fueled much of the company’s growth. Aziz says they have added popular fertility and lactation supplements to give customers products for the whole pregnancy journey. Aziz says the company creates products that fill an unmet need or to improve upon the available options, like the prenatal pills.
“We have taken this approach of being very innovative and very attune to what customers want and need, focused on the pre- and post-natal market products,” Aziz says.
Right now, Aziz says the company is most focused on growing its online presence. Premama’s products are currently sold in 8,000 stores in the U.S. and China. They are also launching in Canadian stories soon, Aziz says. He says Amazon sales have taken off and have become a large portion of top-line revenue.
“Given the size and weight of products, it’s a natural fit to become an e-commerce company,” Aziz says. “We are spending money on rebranding the website, products and and how we offer them online to better provide customers with what they need.”
Aziz says he hopes to maintain the company’s fast pace of growth in the foreseeable future. He predicts the company will offer supplement products for men and possibly for children after they are done breastfeeding to help keep them healthy.
Aziz says the plan is to grow the company to sell. He hopes to keep the company in Rhode Island to bring more jobs here and to bring more unique products to market.
“Where we can go is pretty limitless in terms of future direction,” Aziz says.