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Want to design the best baby equipment on the planet? Ask five moms and turn their ideas into a company brand 4Moms because it has a nice ring to it.

So began the story of Pittsburgh's highly successful infant to young child equipment company. Founded in 2005 by Rob Daley and Henry Thorne, Thorley Industries signed a major deal with Hasbro in 2008.  With a new "strategic investor," giving the company its largest investment round to date, Thorley is poised for major growth and hiring this year, says Daley, CEO.

Newell Rubbermaid Inc. of Atlanta is the primary investor; the round includes a mix of new and previous backers, mostly private individuals. Daley declines to reveal the amount except to say it's more than $3 million. It will allow Thorley to focus on new product development and soon add five to its 11 person staff in the Strip District: engineers, a web programmer and customer service personnel.

"Things have been going phenomenally well," says Daley. "We were overwhelmed with the success of the MamaRoo, which started shipping in February. It's going to be a very exciting year for us."

Five additional products are in the planning. The company expects to grow at an accelerated rate of five to seven times its 2009 business in the next year, says Daley.

Thorley made its first splash with a Clean Water Infant Tub, an ingeniously simple design that bathes the baby in a continuous flow of fresh water. There's the Goodnight Sleep Trainer to assist with sleep and, most recently, the mamaRoo swaying chair, which gently cradles the baby like a caregiver, emitting soft sounds from nature or music from an MP3 Player.

The product, rolling out to more than 210 stores across the country, has proved wildly successful, tripled company projections, and has 4Moms racing to keep up with demand. An automatically, robotically folding stroller, Origami, begins shipping later this year. The company outsources manufacturing to China.

"We love being here," adds Daley. "We've got a phenomenal group of people."

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Writer: Deb Smit
Source: Rob Daley, Thorley Industries
Thorley Industries
40 24th Street
Pittsburgh, PA 15222-4656
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