ImpactAlpha, March 3 – Oakland-based NextGen Jane is a women’s “wearables” technology company, of sorts, that is trying to improve early reproductive health diagnosis. Its diagnostic tool? Tampons.
“Every single month during your period, your body is providing you with a natural biopsy when it sheds your endometrial lining,” the company writes on its website. “What could we learn if we had the tools to listen?”
Its service allows women to mail-in used tampon samples to test for early signs of disease. It markets itself as a convenient and more comfortable alternative to gynecologist’s speculum and stirrups.
NextGen Jane is currently in beta testing. It has raised $9 million in a Series A round led by Material Impact, which invests in “groundbreaking materials-based technologies that have the capacity to democratize access to the resources we need most.” Access Industries, Viking Global Investors and Liminal Ventures also participated.
NextGen Jane joins a growing group of health and consumer tech startups focusing on women’s issues. Bangalore-based Naramai just raised $6 million for an affordable breast cancer screening device. Lagos-based Stack Diagnostics secured seed funding for early cancer screening in a region where late- or undiagnosed cervical cancer is often fatal for women. And numerous startups are launching and raising funding to make better, more affordable sanitary products for women, both in wealthy markets (like Rael) and lower-income countries (like Bana, Afri-pads and SHE.)