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Parents & Kids Deserve a Secure, Reliable, Quality Baby Monitor.

So, we built it.

Written by: Harbor CEO & Cofounder, Kevin Lavelle

Becoming a parent is one of life’s most extraordinary experiences.

It’s also the most exhausting. And challenging. And humbling.

As parents, we must keep our little ones safe, especially in those early years. We must also help them develop into children who can hold their own and find their place in the world.

Simple, right?

If only. Layer in the uncertainty, the sleep deprivation, the constant demands of personal and professional lives… Let’s face it, we need help.

Harbor is here to help, but let’s zoom out for a minute.

Despite all the advances in medicine, technology, and modern conveniences, fewer people are having children, and those that do are having fewer children. This is a problem. With far reaching near and long term societal consequences.

It sounds almost ridiculous to say out loud, but the very future of humanity rests on nearly everyone having children. For a whole host of reasons, the birth rate in much of the world is declining. In places like Japan, the birth rate is below the replacement rate. In the United States, the fertility rate has dropped by over 50% from 1960 to 2021, going from 118 to 56. It continues to fall.

There are many hypotheses as to why this is occurring. One thing is certain: if we could somehow make it easier to raise children, the net effect on society is substantially positive.

So we’re doing just that.

At Harbor, our mission is to create happier parents and healthier families, one restful night at a time.

By leveraging our incredible new technology to democratize access to sleep expertise, we will transform how we take care of our loved ones, including ourselves as parents. It’s an enormous challenge, but it’s one we believe is worth pursuing.

To understand how, I’d like to share a deeply personal story that led to us setting out on this mission.

Seven years ago, my son was asleep in his nursery upstairs. I rolled over to check the Nanit app on my phone, only to find that it had closed out. With no idea how long the app had been off, I sprinted upstairs in a panic. To my great relief, he was fine. (As it turns out, kids are far more resilient than we first-time parents give them credit for.) To discover that my baby “monitor” had left me in the dark was alarming, to say the least.

Hours of research and recommendations from friends led me to Nanit, which was considered to be the best and most innovative baby monitor available. 

After the incident, I did some investigating and learned that you cannot rely on any apps on your phone or iPad to be a baby monitor. But Nanit markets their product as a baby monitor, it’s all over their marketing materials, and, as of January 2024, they proudly advertise they are the top-selling baby monitor on the market. 

The reality is Nanit, like Owlet and many others, is merely a camera with an app. And apps are not reliable. You may or may not be alerted if an app crashes. If you are monitoring your baby on your phone and take a phone call, you are no longer monitoring your baby. If you forget to charge your phone, you won’t be alerted that your phone is about to die. We then learned we couldn’t travel with a Nanit either, as many third party WiFi networks don’t allow you to add cameras, especially hotel networks. 

This led me to a frustrating conclusion: we could not rely on Nanit as a baby monitor. So, what then?

We bought an old-school, local-only camera and monitor. It has its limitations, but above all else, it emits a very loud, repeating alert if you lose connection with the camera or if the battery is dying. For a first-time parent, that offers peace of mind.

But still, it wasn’t perfect. Old-school monitors don’t have record, rewind, or remote viewing capabilities and aren’t accessible outside the home.

Each system, whether a WiFi-enabled camera or an old-school radio monitor, has great benefits and significant limitations. This was true seven years ago and somehow it’s still true today.

Parents and children deserve better. So we’re building it.

Introducing Harbor

Harbor offers a revolutionary camera and monitor system unlike anything that exists today. The camera and monitor connect directly to each other, even without the internet. Each device also connects to the cloud with end-to-end encryption, so you can safely access the monitor’s feed outside of your home if needed. It’s smart and safe, and it has allowed us to create features that empower parents, like:

  • Smart audio, which means you can choose to be alerted when your child needs you but not when they’re just talking to their stuffed animal at 3am. (Note: This is only appropriate with children at a certain age, not infants)
  • Parent-specific haptic alerts, which silently wake one caregiver via Apple Watch when their child needs them with backup audio alerts if you don’t wake up.
  • A 10-inch, high-resolution monitor that allows you to see up to four different camera feeds in one dedicated device, not only on your phone. You can manage the volume and zoom of each feed independently too.
  • Bonus: Our monitor is not only beautiful but can also be used as a digital picture frame when the camera is not in use.

    And that’s just the start.

    Helping a child develop healthy sleep habits can be challenging for all parents. Hands-on expertise from a night nanny or infant care specialist is completely out of reach for most families: in major cities, in-person support costs $400–600 per night. Even then, the quality of care varies greatly and there’s no guarantee you’ll even be able to book someone.

    Individualized overnight care led by real experts has been unaffordable and fragmented. Until now, that is.

Harbor’s Remote Night Nanny, a solution that costs 95% less while still offering eyes-on expertise all night.

From bedtime through waking, Harbor’s expertly trained, professional night nannies, night nurses, and infant care specialists can remotely monitor your little one. Through the Harbor Monitor, they will alert you only when your child needs you, rather than you listening to the monitor all night long. They’ll follow the same protocols that in home, expert night nurses follow, alerting you when you need to go in, just as they would go in if they were in your home. Because we’ve built the hardware, we have fail-safes built in should we lose connection with your camera or monitor. Importantly, we will never have access to your camera if you do not grant it. When your Remote Night Nanny session is over, we no longer have access to your camera or monitor.

With the Remote Night Nanny, our focus is on using science-backed, time-tested methods to safely, lovingly, and affordably help your child develop healthy sleep habits for their age.

If you tell someone with children that you’re expecting, they’ll share their favorite products, tips, and tools...

Why? Because parents want to help parents. Anything one of us can do to make this wonderfully challenging journey a little bit easier helps all of us.

Harbor was started by two parents. Since we started building in 2022, some of our team members have had their first kids, too. We build with our experiences in mind and use our real lives to test and improve our tools.

From the start, we wanted to create something that could empower happier parents and healthier families, one restful night at a time. We want all parents to have access to world-class expertise and sleep more soundly.

Because well-rested parents are better parents, better spouses, better team members, and better community members.

Sleep is the foundation of health and happiness. We’re here to help you get all of it.

Kevin & the Harbor team