Adrianne Weir co-founded Medolac with her mother to make a difference in the global shortage of human donor milk (and it’s working!)
Adrianne co-founded Medolac in 2009 with accomplished serial entrepreneur, Elena Medo after she spent more than a decade in healthcare. Having previously developed a national network of human milk banks, Adrianne has strong market instincts with a focus on innovations with a global market reach. She is driven to improve access and expand use of lifesaving human milk products. This mother-daughter duo are the innovation leaders for neonatal nutrition, and the global human milk market. Medolac has developed a pipeline of novel human milk based products to serve a potential $1B domestic market.
Adrianne’s leadership has defined Medolac as a company of firsts:
- The only female led commercial milk bank in the world.
- First application of high volume food processing and economies of scale to human milk.
- The only shelf-stable (non-frozen) human milk products.
Medolac has made it possible to deliver human milk anywhere — from the hospital NICU to home, to last mile humanitarian needs. Adrianne’s contributions continue to disrupt this space with exciting innovations around purified components for nutritional, therapeutic and research applications, her leadership and innovation has brought significant advances for Medolac and its mission to deliver lifesaving human milk to infants around the world.
How did you decide to start your own company? What was the thought process, and what were you doing before?
My mother, Elena Medo has been an entrepreneur since I was a child. Growing it around our family businesses made it a natural progression to become a business partner with my mother. I enjoyed a successful career in the fashion industry before my joining my mother in her career. It wasn’t until I had my first daughter that the work my mom had pioneered really caught my attention. Becoming a mother gave me a deeper insight into the suffering of the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit — and the work that needed to be done to alleviate it. I was hooked, and I have never looked back. When you add passion and purpose to your career — it never feels like work.
What do you know now that you wish you had known when you started your entrepreneurial journey?
Be BOLD. Tell people what you need and step away from your desk. One of the changes I made that ultimately changed the trajectory of our company was finding the team at Alice. There are so many mountains to climb as an entrepreneur — and you’re not alone! There are no words to describe the value of establishing a network of female entrepreneurs and I wish I had done this much, much sooner.
What is the biggest roadblock you have experienced in building your company? How did you navigate around it?
We partnered with another company not realizing they were predatory, and because they were convincing and friendly (at the time) — the contract we signed did not provide the protection we would have liked, if the deal went south. And it did. Make sure that every contract you sign, every partner you engage with, every employee you hire is made with (unfortunately) the worst in mind. You MUST protect yourself. We live in such a litigious environment, expect the best and plan for the worst. If this makes you feel squeamish, just imagine what it would feel like to hand over your company. That can happen.
What is your best advice for other entrepreneurs?
Make sure you are passionate about what you are building, and if you’re not — keep searching. If you have found that passion, then shoot for the moon. Reach out to the people that you think would never take your call, and tell them what you’re doing. You might be surprised.
Stop at nothing short of Total. World. Domination. You can do it, and there is an army of female entrepreneurs out there cheering you on.