Index Fund’s portfolio is driving long-overdue innovation in femcare

 In Daye, Europe, femtech, medical technology, stitch fix, TechStars, United Kingdom, Venture Capital, women's health

U.K. startup Daye is rethinking female intimate care from a woman’s perspective, starting with a tampon infused with cannabidiol that tackles period pain.

It’s also quietly demolishing the retrograde approach to product design that women are still subjected to in the mass market “femcare” space — an anti-philosophy that not only peddles stale and sexist stereotypes, but also can harm women’s bodies.

Those perfumed sanitary pads stinking out the supermarket shelf? Whomever came up with that idea has obviously never experienced thrush or bacterial vaginosis. Nor spoken to a health professional who could have told them vaginal infections can be triggered by perfumed products.

The missing link: There are few people with a vagina in positions leading product strategy. And that’s the disruptive opportunity female-led femcare businesses like Daye are closing in on.

The Index Ventures-backed startup is shaking up a tired category by selling the flip-side: thoughtfully designed products for period care that first do no harm and second take aim at actual problems women have — starting with dysmenorrhea. The overarching strand is building community — to help women better understand what’s going on with their bodies and reinforce shifting product expectations in the process.

We chatted with Index principal Hannah Seal about the fund’s investment in Daye, and to get her thoughts more broadly on a new generation of female-focused startups that are driving long-overdue innovation.

The interview has been edited for length and clarity.

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