Backed by $5M led by General Catalyst, Evvy launches a vaginal microbiome test to support women’s health research

Another US femtech startup has joined the race to build up data-sets to support research into and understanding of a range of health issues that can affect women.

Evvy has today launched an at-home test kit for the vaginal microbiome. The user returns their swab to the startup for analysis — and gets detailed information and analysis of the microbes (fungi and bacteria) that are present in their vagina and may be associated with a variety of health concerns.

Users of the test also get personalized suggestions for things they could try (such as diet and lifestyle changes) to improve the balance of microbes — potentially helping with related heath issues they may be suffering from, like yeast infections or BV.

Variances in the microbes present in an individual’s vaginal microbiome are thought to have broad implications for women’s health — playing a role in relatively minor infections (like thrush) but Evvy also flags research linking imbalances in the vaginal microbiome to more serious issues like infertility or pre-term birth, or even linkages to the progression of cervical cancer.

Decoding the vaginal microbiome is thus seen as an opportunity to support a broad range of women’s health goals.

“We give users back a full understanding of everything that’s present. So here are all of the bacteria and fungi and importantly what is the relative amount of each of those bacteria,” explains CEO and co-founder Priyanka Jain, noting that users also get their test data in a downloadable format so they (Read more...)

How 4 New Jersey pools turned into a startup that just raised $10M

As the oldest of 12 children, Bunim Laskin spent much of his teen years looking for ways to help keep his siblings entertained. Noticing that a neighbor’s pool was often empty, Laskin reached out to ask if his family could use her pool. To make it worth her while, he suggested that they could help cover her expenses for maintaining the pool.

Soon after, five other families had made the same arrangement with her and the pool owner had six families covering 25% of her expenses. This meant that the neighbor was actually making money off her pool. The arrangement sparked a business idea in Laskin’s mind. At the age of 20, he founded Swimply, a marketplace for homeowners to rent out their underutilized pools to local swimmers, with Asher Weinberger.

The Cedarhurst, New York-based company launched a beta in 2018, starting with four pools in the New Jersey area. 

“We used Google Earth to find houses, and then knocked on 80 doors with a pool,” CEO Laskin recalls. “We got to 100 pools organically. Word of mouth really helped us grow.” The site was pretty bare bones, he admits, with potential customers only able to view photos of the pools and connect with the pool owner by phone.

That year, Swimply did around 400 reservations and raised $1.2 million from friends and family.

In 2019, Swimply launched what he describes as a “proper” website and app with an automated platform. It grew “4 to 5 times” that year, (Read more...)