Berlin-based Inne, a healthtech startup that empowers women to understand their reproductive health, announced on Wednesday that it has raised $10M (approximately €9.34M) in an extension of its Series A round. The startup had last raised its Series A round of €8M in October, 2019.
The current round was led by the Netherlands-based DSM Venturing, the corporate venture capital arm of Royal DSM. The firm invests in companies developing innovative products and services in sectors of life sciences (animal and human health & nutrition) and biomedical.
Pieter Wolters, MD at DSM Venturing, says, “We believe the market for women’s health is largely underserved, and Inne’s hormone tracking technology gives women greater control in managing and navigating their own hormonal health journey. We are excited to be supporting Inne through an investment and a close collaboration with Hologram Sciences.”
The round saw participation from Amsterdam’s VC firm Borski Fund and Vienna-based Calm Storm Ventures, a firm that invests in ‘super-early-stage’ with a focus on femtech & tabootech and female founders. Additionally, high-profile angel investors, including Taavet Hinrikus (Wise), Dr Fiona Pathiraja and Rolf Schromgens (Trivago), also joined in.
Mission to help women track their fertility
Founded in 2017 by Eirini Rapti, Inne harnesses the power of technology to help women understand more about the hormonal levels of their bodies.
Eirini Rapti says, “Women’s health is consistently one of the most under-funded areas of medical research, with women only officially required to be included in clinical research in the US for the first time in 1993. This means women have less information about what is happening to their bodies and that makes it harder for them to improve their health and lifestyle. This information gap has been a driving force for me in creating Inne and I’m thrilled that we are now able to help women learn about their bodies and be proactive in managing their own health and fertility. Inne can be the trusted partner for millions of women around the world, democratising the access to insight and information.”
Using Inne’s biosensor mini lab, women can track their daily progesterone levels, a key indicator of reproductive health and an ovulation indicator, by simply performing a daily saliva test. By using saliva, rather than temperature, the mini lab offers an as accurate as a lab progesterone test, to produce a more precise picture of a woman’s menstrual cycle.
The company claims to have helped thousands of women across Germany, Switzerland, Austria, and the UK to track their progesterone levels with the app processing over 100,000 hormonal data points. The company’s customers have used the product to help them get pregnant or to avoid pregnancy and as well as to track and manage erratic menstrual cycles.
Inne has begun the process of achieving certification as an official contraceptive product, following the results of an ongoing clinical study.
The startup is also expanding its progesterone tracking feature to perimenopause through an exclusive US partnership with Phenology, a new women’s health brand from the team at Hologram Sciences.
With this partnership, the mini lab will help women track hormonal changes during perimenopause, the early stages of menopause when hormone levels start falling. With the help of the data provided by the mini lab, women will now be able to understand more about ovulation and how their progesterone levels may cause or worsen certain symptoms. As a result, it will help them make lifestyle changes to minimise side effects, the company says.
Jess Graham, GM Phenology, says, “Together we can provide better care for US women during their menopause by being the first solution in the US to measure salivary hormone levels using a reliable at-home method.”
Moreover, Inne will also be adding the ability to analyse stress through a dedicated cortisol tracking strip. This comes as women of all ages are reporting higher stress levels, following a two-year period of remote work, default caregiver status, worries about the Covid-19 pandemic. and now an ongoing war, the result of which is detrimentally impacting their health.
Sustained cortisol levels affect the body by lowering oestrogen levels which can lead to weight gain, night sweats, sleep problems, and mood swings. By tracking cortisol levels, women will be able to use these insights to make lifestyle adjustments and improve their long-term health. This can be particularly useful if they are trying to get pregnant or manage perimenopause symptoms.
Funds to expand Inne’s reach and impact
The femtech startup says it will use the capital to continue the development of its mini lab and platform in order to serve more areas of women’s health and also expand in the US market.
Inne will launch its perimenopause feature initially in the US with an expanded product launch later this year. The cortisol tracking feature will also be available in the US in 2022. Both features will be launched in Europe and the UK at a later date.
The funding will also help the company to increase its workforce as well as invest in data science, algorithmic development, and content, so it can continue to provide personalised health data and be a trusted partner to millions of women around the world.