Startup Leader Spotlight: Amberlee Venti
Meet Amberlee Venti, the Philly Startup Leader on a mission to reduce logistical barriers for breastfeeding and pumping women.
“The constant of my career has been serving people with limited means or mental illness (often both). I’ve always been passionate about problem solving and advocating for others. …. Helping women to reduce stress about breastfeeding and pumping may be much different than mental health/social work but directly ties into my desire to help others.”
Pippy Sips was founded and built with these ideals in mind.
Venti is a mother of two. As she returned to work after the births of her daughters, it was important to her that she continue feeding them breastmilk. While Venti was able to pump at her job, the process invited a number of issues and she was often exasperated thinking about everything that she needed to pack (pump, battery pack, flanges, hoses, milk bottles, cooling apparatus – to name a few), and all of the potential pitfalls she might encounter that day.
“Had I remembered all of the bottles, or was one still drying on the counter? Would I have to carry milk-filled bottles through a crowded conference room to get to the office refrigerator? Was I going to be off-site, without access to the fridge? If so, did I remember the cooler and ice pack? Were those products going to keep the milk at the right temperature all day? What if my return home were delayed for some reason?”
Venti’s biggest concern centered around how to make storing and cooling breastmilk easier, and she was certain that she wasn’t the only woman experiencing this problem. When she learned that some women stop breastfeeding by 6 months because of a “lack of support”, she became driven to make a product for all breastfeeding and pumping women.
On December 7, 2018, Pippy Sips filed a provisional utility patent application for their first product: Maia – an all-in-one storing and cooling system for breastmilk. Venti is now working to raise enough funds to do Pippy Sips first round of manufacturing and bring Maia to market.
“We are hoping to raise $35,000 via our crowdfunding campaign on iFundWomen (a crowdfunding platform for women-led businesses).”
The Maia crowdfund went live in January 2019, will close in March, and has had 100+ backers contribute to the initiative to date. Learn more about Maia (or contribute to the campaign!) at ifundwomen.com/projects/maia.
We Had to Ask…
Where do you see your company in 5 years?
“My hope is that Pippy Sips is a successful business here in Philadelphia. The city of brotherly loves wants breastfeeding and pumping to be accessible to all women and we want Pippy Sips to be a part of that mission.”
What is your favorite thing about doing business in Philadelphia?
“I love how people want to connect authentically in Philly. I think it’s no coincidence that the Flyers’ mascot Gritty is so popular in this city. This city has true grit and grit is needed for starting a business. Also, Philadelphia is a breastfeeding friendly city which motivates me even more! Here are just a few examples of the great breastfeeding accomplishments of Philadelphia: the “Philly loves breastfeeding” campaign showing women breastfeeding on billboards and at bus-stops throughout the city; being the first city to have a law to protect women breastfeeding in public, and instituting two laws supporting breastfeeding and pumping women in the work environment; and there being 5 “baby-friendly” hospitals in the city, meaning that they promote and support breastfeeding.”
How do you manage your work/life balance?
“I am a huge advocate of “self-care” which comes straight from my mental health background. I love yoga, long baths, reading, listening to podcasts about self-care (Forever 35!!!) and binging on Netflix (self-care in my eyes). Lastly, I love trying new things! I took a concrete-planter building workshop (at Nextfab) and made candles (at Wax+Wine) this past year and loved it because it got me out of my comfort zone and forced me to be absolutely present.”
Ask | Give
ASK: If you could connect with just ONE expert on ONE thing you need help with right now, who/what would it be?
A woman who has started a small business here in Philly, and has manufactured a product and brought it to market.
GIVE: Paying it forward is important. What skill, service, or expertise would you like to share with the PSL Community?
Mentoring. I am new at starting a business but would love to mentor any young women here in Philadelphia trying to find their path in life (career). I have supervised interns and employees in the past and love making and maintaining these connections.
To get connected with Amberlee Venti – CEO and CoFounder of PippySips – visit:
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“Every time I receive the [PSL] newsletter, I get to hear about other people in my own city taking positive risks and creating new and better products and services. It’s inspiring and continues to drive me to do the work that I do!”
– Amberlee Venti | CEO and CoFounder, PippySips