Investment Notes: Ovira
Blackbird has invested $1M into Ovira, a direct-to-consumer company addressing the discomfort and isolation of period pain.
Blackbird has invested $1M into Ovira, a direct-to-consumer company that addresses the discomfort and isolation of period pain.
Ovira founder Alice Williams’ own struggle with endometriosis and debilitating period pain inspired her to found a company addressing a problem experienced by 88% of women.
Natural period pain is caused when the muscles in the uterus contract or tighten during a normal cycle. However, 73% of women suffer from conditions that cause more serious pain. Conditions such as uterine fibroids (39% of women), adenomyosis (14%), endometriosis (10%) or PCOS (10%) can stop people from living a normal life.
Ovira’s mission is not just to create a device, but to create a movement.
Ovira provides a drug-free solution that works to reduce pain. The device, commonly known as a TENS machine, provides small electric pulses to the abdomen. While TENS machines are best known for use in labour, they have not yet been widely used to address period pain. Ovira is specifically designed to be comfortably and unobtrusively worn during the day or while sleeping.
Current methods of managing period pain, such as painkillers, are detrimental to long-term health. Taken over long periods of time, they are bad for liver and general health. Many of the codeine-based painkillers have reduced efficacy over time, can be addictive and cause severe withdrawal symptoms.
Ovira’s mission is not just to create a device, but to create a movement that changes the conversation around a misunderstood and universal problem. Along with the device, Ovira is building a community to change how societies and companies understand and build policy around period pain.
Alice Williams has a passion and understanding of this problem. For years, she suffered period pain every month caused by endometriosis, including blackout pain, vomiting and not being able to leave bed.
Her own struggle and difficulty being understood instantly connects her with women of all different backgrounds. Her interactions with her beta testers read like therapy sessions.
Alice has the ambition and charisma to convert others to her cause. People are coming out of the woodwork to volunteer for her, doctors are asking to set up medical trials, angels are signing up to invest.
We got to know Alice through Startmate and were impressed by the progress she made during the program, which included shipping her first batch of devices to 80 beta testers and single handedly getting regulatory approval from both the FDA and TGA for the device. The first Ovira devices have been shipped to 80 beta testers, and the response has been excellent. The first batch of production devices has landed and are being delivered to happy customers.
This round will allow Ovira to expand their team, and they are currently hiring more staff.
We are excited to be joining Ovira on this mission!
You can order an Ovira device online.