Berlin-based startup Inne, which says it is offering a “hormone-based mini lab for women”, has raised €8m in a Series A round led by Blossom Capital. Early backer Monkfish Equity and angel investors Taavet Hinrikus, cofounder of TransferWise, Rolf Schromgens, cofounder of Trivago, and Tom Stafford, managing partner at global investment firm DST, also participated in the round.
WHAT THEY DO
Inne was founded by entrepreneur Eirini Rapti, who set out to develop a saliva biosensor device that women could use to identify their fertility window. Rapti brought a team together to help build the device, along with a reader [seen above] and an accompanying app, expected to be launched in the coming months.
“Women want to know more about their bodies and how to control their reproductive health. They may have concerns about when is the right time to start a family or they may already have decided that they don’t want to take hormones because of the side effects they experience,” Rapti explained.
“To use Inne, the woman takes a daily saliva sample on a strip and places it into the Inne reader. The app will collect and calibrate progesterone levels, enabling it to build up a picture of whether the user is fertile that day,” she said.
Providing insights into users' ovulation, periods and hormone levels, Inne says its offering will help women understand more about their bodies. “Most women only think about their fertility when they are trying to conceive and this becomes highly stressful and counter-productive. However, if you have an insight into how your body works from an earlier age, you can understand how to give yourself the best chance at starting a family at a time that’s right for you,” Rapti added.
WHAT IT’S FOR
According to the CEO, the startup has obtained certification as a medical device for their offering in Europe. Inne is expected to release more information about studies carried out to assess its efficacy ahead of launch.
In the meantime, the new funding will be used to grow the team and hire more employees in software engineering, design and operations.
Startups using technology to improve women’s health have been gaining a lot of interest from investors and the wider digital health community lately. One example is London-based Elvie, maker of a smart breast pump and pelvic floor trainer, which announced in April that it landed $42m in Series B funding.
Although progress is being made, industry players warned at a recent event in London that there was still a long way to go to break the taboos around women’s health, particularly in the male-dominated technology industry.
ON THE RECORD
In a statement, Louise Samet, partner at Blossom Capital, said: “Inne has a winning combination of scientific validity plus usability that can enable women to better understand their bodies at all stages in their lives. What really impressed us is the team’s meticulous focus on design and easy-of-use together with the scientific validity and clear ambition to impact women all over the world. We are very excited to join Eirini and her extraordinary team on the next stage of their journey.”
Dirk Freise, founder of Shortcut Ventures, added: “We’ve been watching the way Eirini has put together a very impressive team and her meticulous approach to developing the product and the business model. Women are downloading period tracking apps but these lack any real insight or value for their users. Inne analyses the data it collects and makes it meaningful and useful. Enabling birth control without chemicals is a huge step forward for women all over the world.”