As companies redefine their benefits more broadly in recognition of mental health and caring responsibilities that resulted from COVID-19, menopause is becoming a bigger part of the conversation. A study by Vodafone across five countries found that 60% of women dealing with menopausal symptoms said it impacted their work. In a UK study, 30% of women said they missed work due to their symptoms, while 11% passed up a promotion opportunity and 8% resigned from their positions because of menopausal symptoms.
Addressing the issue, London-based digital health startup Vira Health has raised $12 million funding to improve women’s long-term health. The round was led by Octopus Ventures, with participation from US VC Optum Ventures and existing investors, including LocalGlobe, MMC and Amino Collective. The funding builds on a previous $2 million round in July last year.
The additional capital infusion will enable the platform to expand access to its menopause solutions and introduce new services such as telehealth and prescription medications.
The company rolled out its first product, Stella, a menopause app offering personalised treatment plans based on their specific symptoms last year. Going forward, it plans to expand the range of products available to deliver a complete care pathway for menopause treatment and take Stella to the US market.
According to Andrea Berchowitz, co-founder and CEO, Vira Health, better menopause care is crucial in the fight for gender equity in the workplace. She said: “The Stella app offers women a highly personalised, completely private and always-on treatment option. It is designed for a diversity of companies wanting to expand their employee benefit schemes. Our focus is onboarding more employers to Stella this year.”
Kamran Adle, health investor, Octopus Ventures said: “Menopause is an enormous yet underserved and underfunded market. 1 billion women, or approximately 12% of the global population, are expected to experience menopause by 2025.”
Dr. Rebecca Love, co-founder, Vira Health said: “It is outrageous that we have not focused on menopause care more. Stella provides women the relief and support they need for symptoms such as sleep issues, incontinence, mood swings, hot flushes and many others, and helps set women up for better brain, bone, and heart health in later life.”