Categories: Innovate

Tampa startup Natural Nipple works to boost the medical supply pipeline to fight Covid-19

Since pitching for Steve Case’s Rise of the Rest tour in Tampa last year, Lauren Wright, CEO and founder of The Natural Nipple, has been pushing development of the company’s infant feeding system.

But the Covid-19 coronavirus pandemic has put production on hold, so Wright has shifted gears from product development to coalition building.

Her mission is to connect private companies and a not-for-profit with healthcare professionals to get them the protective equipment and tools they desperately need to battle Covid-19, said Chris Rux, managing partner at Cherry Bekaert. The Natural Nipple recently became a client of the accounting firm.

Among her priorities: Working to bring 1 million units of personal protective equipment (PPE), including N95 respirators and disposable masks, from The Natural Nipple’s manufacturing contacts to the U.S, Rux said.

The Natural Nipple is supporting the fundraising efforts of the Society of Nurse Scientists Innovators Entrepreneurs & Leaders (SONSIEL). The organization is helping smaller providers, such as short- and long-term care and assisted living facilities, who usually can’t buy in the volume required to receive the bulk pricing that hospital systems do. Wright and SONSIEL are working to donate 1,500 masks to five hospitals a week through a GoFundMe campaign.

Wright also collaborated with a St. Petersburg tech company, Green Earth Medical Solutions, which is donating its PathO3gen footwear sanitizing stations to hospitals that are entirely out of PPE.

Related story: St. Pete tech company steps into hospital safety


Another collaboration is with Field Medical Service, which is gathering labs nationwide to provide hospitals reaching out for PPE 10,000 free Covid-19 tests.

Wright, a nurse practitioner and PhD candidate at the University of South Florida, was studying the gut micro biome of preterm infants when she discovered that babies who weren’t being given breast milk were suffering fatal complications. She founded the Natural Nipple to offer a solution that would give all babies the ability to have breast milk and to promote wellness. Read more about the company here in the Featured Founder series from Embarc Collective.

Margie Manning

Margie started her journalism career as a radio news reporter in St. Louis, before putting down her microphone and picking up a pen to work at the St. Louis Business Journal. Unable to resist the call of warm weather and beaches, Margie took an entrepreneurial detour to run an ice cream shop in Treasure Island with her husband. Before joining the Catalyst, Margie spent 14 years at the Tampa Bay Business Journal where she wrote about business successes, failures and the exciting world of innovation and start-ups. Her writing coaches are Bonnie the Dog and Coffee the Cat, joined recently by a new edition, Jack the Cat. Margie can be contacted at

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