Vira Health has raised £1.5m in seed funding from MMC Ventures and Local Globe to launch their first app, Stella.
Treatment plans are tailored around a person’s particular symptoms such as sleep disturbances or urinary incontinence. If a woman was dealing with sleep disturbances, her treatment may include cognitive behavioural therapy, pelvic floor exercises and other guidance related to lifestyle or behavioural change. The plans take place over 12 weeks which gives users time to learn, practise and introduce new changes. In addition to this, Stella also has articles, recipes, mindfulness, meditations, exercise suggestions and access to events such as yoga classes.
Stella is part of Vira Health, a digital health company dedicated to improving long term health for women. Vira Health was founded in 2020 by Andrea Berchowitz and Rebecca Love. Its mission is to make high-quality personalised menopause care accessible to everyone. The long term aim is to improve life expectancy for women by reducing the prevalence of conditions such as diabetes, osteoporosis and dementia.
The app is expected to be available for iOS in August.
Alongside the funding from venture firms, there are a number of angel investors. Investors include Megumi Ikeda, Managing Director, Hearst Ventures, Andrea Zitna of Elvie and former Spotify executive Sofia Bendz.
The funding will be used to further invest in product development and team expansion.
Menopause is one of the most common reasons for the decrease in women moving into leadership roles. It often coincides with the transition to senior-level positions. In the UK, it is responsible for about 14 million lost working days and at least 1 million premature career exits.
It typically affects women and people with periods at midlife although some may experience symptoms before this. The impacts on daily life can be debilitating affecting personal and professional life.
Symptoms can include hot flushes, insomnia, joint pain, anxiety and depression.
Andrea Berchowitz, co-founder, Vira Health, said: “At Vira, our vision is to fundamentally transform long term health and wellbeing for women. We believe better menopause care is the first step. Female health issues have historically been under-researched and under-invested, and this remains the case today. There is an opportunity to use technology to redress this balance by improving the collection and use of female data in healthcare. This first round of seed funding is a step towards realising our vision.”
Dr Rebecca Love, co-founder, Vira Health, said: “Menopause is a time point in a woman’s life where you can fundamentally change the trajectory of her lifelong health. It seems outrageous that we have not been focusing on this before. Stella is about getting women the relief and support they need for immediate symptoms like sleep issues, incontinence, mood swings, hot flushes and many others as well as setting them up for the best brain, bone and heart health in later life.’