Microbiome science can explain how genetics and the body interact, explaining why similar genes can generate variable outcomes among populations. Understanding these interactions introduces new pathways for treatment and prevention of disease and ailments, ultimately extending health and life spans. Evvy is a newly-launched startup focused on using metagenomic sequencing to understand women’s health like never before. The company’s first product is an at-home vaginal microbiome test that’s used to assess and understand vaginal health to address conditions such as yeast infections, UTIs, infertility, gynecologic cancers, STIs, and premature birth. The test is approved for use in all states and is available direct-to-consumer on Evvy’s website as well as through clinical partners. Evvy plans to expand its biomarker offering to include different conditions so that women are empowered to take control of their health with data and scientific knowledge that was previously unattainable.
AlleyWatch caught up with CEO and Cofounder Priyanka Jain to learn more about how Evvy is disrupting women’s health, the company’s strategic plans, recent round of funding, and much, much more.
Who were your investors and how much did you raise?
Tell us about the product or service that Evvy offers.
Evvy is launching the first-ever at-home vaginal microbiome test to use metagenomic sequencing to tell you what’s up down there, why it matters, and what you can do about it.
Why? 30% of people with vaginas suffer from imbalances in the vaginal microbiome every year (read: bacterial vaginosis, yeast infections, and UTIs). What’s more — the latest research has uncovered groundbreaking links between the vaginal microbiome and infertility, STIs, preterm birth, gynecologic cancers, and more.
But even though the vaginal microbiome is an important biomarker, women and people with vaginas have never had access to that information about their own bodies — until today.
The Evvy Vaginal Health Test is available in all 50 states and performed as a simple, at-home swab. Test results are delivered back after 2 weeks in a personal, private online dashboard with actionable results, curated insights on how your vaginal microbiome is related to your holistic health & recommendations based on your unique health context.
What inspired the start of Evvy?
There is so much we don’t know about how to best care for women and people with vaginas — after all, we weren’t required to be in US clinical research until 1993. At Evvy, we’re building a new understanding of the female body by discovering and leveraging overlooked female biomarkers.
Evvy was inspired by our own personal experiences. Almost everyone with a vagina will deal with a UTI, yeast infection, BV, or another vaginal infection in their lifetime — and many of us recurrently. But the taboo around vaginal health means that we often go through our care journey alone, and with deep embarrassment. It’s time that vaginal health, and women’s health as a whole, gets the destigmatized investment it deserves on a systemic, clinical, and personal level.
For us, the vaginal microbiome is just the beginning. We’re already planning to expand into new biomarkers, datasets, and products that can transform how we diagnose and treat conditions in the female body.
Evvy is the first of its kind to leverage metagenomic sequencing in testing for vaginal health. Women’s health is deeply under-researched and we feel that it requires the best technology in the market to be understood.
What market does Evvy target and how big is it?
The market is anyone with a vagina, really. The vaginal microbiome is constantly in flux throughout our lives (puberty, pregnancy, or menopause, or recurring events like sex and menstruation).
What’s your business model?
We sell our test direct-to-consumer on our website and through clinical partners.
How has COVID-19 impacted the business??
We began Evvy during the pandemic, however, COVID-19 has made more people comfortable with at-tests like ours!
What was the funding process like?
We were excited to see the interest and the growing desire from investors to put capital into women’s health. As we always say, women’s health is not a niche market!
What are the biggest challenges that you faced while raising capital?
Explaining vaginal infections to people who don’t have vaginas!
What factors about your business led your investors to write the check?
While the gaps in our understanding of the female body are incredibly frustrating for women and our providers, they also present a huge opportunity to change the way we predict risk, diagnose, and treat disease.
What are the milestones you plan to achieve in the next six months?
Educating people with vaginas and our providers about the vaginal microbiome, building an incredible team, and harnessing the power of our unique, in-depth dataset to start iterating on our recommendations, finding new biomarkers, and informing precision treatments.
What advice can you offer companies in New York that do not have a fresh injection of capital in the bank?
Keep your mission big but remember to start with a focused problem and customer (and be obsessed with their feedback!).
Also, remember that venture capital isn’t the only type of capital!
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