In the ever-evolving landscape of entrepreneurship and innovation, remarkable leaders emerge to tackle critical challenges and transform industries. One such visionary is Dr. Trillitye Paullin, the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) and Co-founder of Free to Feed, a groundbreaking biotechnology company dedicated to assisting parents in navigating infant food reactivity through cutting-edge research, innovative products, and comprehensive services.
Dr. Paullin, a respected entrepreneur, scientist, Veteran, and advocate, founded Free to Feed with a mission to address the pressing issue of infant food reactivity. As a parent herself, she experienced the challenges that many parents face when their infants develop food allergies or intolerances while breast/chest feeding. Dr. Paullin realized that there was a lack of accessible and reliable resources to help parents understand and manage these issues. Motivated by her personal experiences and armed with her scientific expertise, she set out on a journey to make a meaningful difference in the lives of parents and infants alike.
Free to Feed operates at the intersection of biotechnology and healthcare, offering groundbreaking solutions to parents and caregivers. The Free to Feed team conducts cutting-edge research to better understand infant food reactivity, providing educational support, a tracking app, and personal consultations for its at-home testing kit to detect allergens in human milk. Free to Feed was pleased to welcome on board Dr. LaChiana Hamilton as the Chief Operating Officer (COO) and Co-Founder in 2021. Dr. Hamilton holds a doctorate in Nursing Practice, specializing in pediatrics, and has brought vital clinician and operations expertise to the team.
The company’s range of innovative products is designed to meet the specific needs of infants with food allergies or intolerances. Understanding that navigating infant food reactivity can be overwhelming, Free to Feed offers a range of comprehensive services to support parents throughout their journey. These services include personalized consultations with pediatric specialists, online support communities, and educational resources to foster a strong support network for parents facing similar challenges.
Free to Feed’s success started with participating in Mission43’s Entrepreneurship Garage Cohort through Venture College. This laid the foundation for Free to Feed’s success. Their entrepreneurial journey continued participating in the Idaho Entrepreneur Challenge (IEC) in 2019. Dr. Paullin’s journey as an entrepreneur took shape through this competition, as Free to Feed was awarded $15,000, along with mentorship. Through this, she gained valuable guidance through the mentorship, and secured the resources necessary to bring her vision to life.
After Free to Feed’s success at IEC, Dr. Paullin and her team went on to receive an Idaho Global Entrepreneurial Mission (IGEM) grant, then raised over 1 million in investor funding, and developed their first-ever at-home allergen detection kit for human milk. All of this allowed her team to expand to five full-time employees, with ten part-time employees, and gave her the opportunity to be accepted into the Hoover Institution Veteran Fellowship Program at Stanford University class of 2023 – 2024. The Free to Feed team went on to be awarded a National Science Foundation (NSF) award to advance their work in real-time allergen detection technology for dietary proteins transferred to human milk. Dr. LaChiana commented on the process of applying for the NSF grant and what advice future applicants should consider. “Try and try again! It took Free To Feed several submissions before we were awarded the grant. Stay committed to your end goal, even if that means accepting failure on the front end.”
Dr. Paullin reflects about her entrepreneurial journey and notes, “Perseverance has been our greatest asset. We have navigated seemingly insurmountable obstacles to get to this point and are grateful to those who have supported us along the way such as the Venture College.” Her remarkable journey as the CEO and Co-founder of Free to Feed epitomizes the transformative impact of an entrepreneurial vision and underscores the significance of research-driven solutions in addressing critical societal challenges.
Dr. Paullin’s journey from a passionate entrepreneur to the CEO of a pioneering biotechnology company serves as an inspiration to aspiring entrepreneurs and Veterans. Through Free to Feed, Dr. Paullin is leaving an indelible mark on the world of healthcare and parenting, and her journey reflects the collaborative spirit and entrepreneurial support found within the Venture College at Boise State University.