Evvy is on a mission to radically revolutionize how we understand and treat the female body, beginning with the vaginal microbiome. The progressive company developed the first-ever at-home vaginal microbiome test to use metagenomic sequencing to tell everyone what’s up down there. We sat down with the team at Evvy, including Evvy’s co-founders Priyanka Jain and Laine Bruzek, to get the latest news on this blossoming enterprise. Here’s what they had to say about this influential brand that is putting vaginas first.
What makes Evvy unique?
Evvy was founded on the simple insight that there is much we still don’t know about how to best care for women and people with vaginas — given that women weren’t required to be included in U.S. clinical research until 1993. To this day, women are diagnosed on average four years later than men across 770-plus diseases. Evvy aims to close this gender health gap by studying previously overlooked female biomarkers, starting with the vaginal microbiome.
How is Evvy changing how we talk about vaginal health?
From viral TikToks about yeast infections with millions of views to hyperpersonalized care for each person that goes through the Evvy experience, we’re already changing the narrative about vaginal health on the most significant and most minor scales. We’ve built a community of tens of thousands of people who now understand their vaginal microbiome and how interventions can affect it — and in doing so have helped dispel stigmas and shame around things like vaginal discharge and smell.
Why is it so valuable to make at-home testing more accessible for consumers?
Even though vaginal symptoms are prevalent, vaginal health can still feel taboo or embarrassing! At-home testing can unlock better care by letting people understand and track changes in their vaginal health from the comfort of their own homes. We’re also investing in destigmatized and scientifically sound vaginal health education, so everyone with a vagina can better understand and care for their unique bodies.
What are the longevity implications of testing like Evvy?
Groundbreaking new research shows that the vaginal microbiome is a critical marker of overall health in the female body. The vaginal microbiome is not only associated with recurrent infections like bacterial vaginosis (BV), yeast infections, and urinary tract infections (UTIs) but also with broader health outcomes like preterm birth, infertility, sexually transmitted infection (STI) acquisition, and more — all of which can impact the longevity of people with vaginas and their families.
What’s been the biggest obstacle for Evvy?
One of the biggest obstacles to women getting the vaginal health care they need is misinformation. The internet has tons of medically misguided advice on it, in addition to the constant beauty industry narrative that vaginas should look pristine and smell like flowers. We’ve been using our platform to debunk many common misconceptions in a fun, approachable way and offer medically sound insight into, and support for, vaginal health.
Do you hope your data set will eventually help the health industry understand more about why more than 9 million U.S. women annually suffer from recurrent yeast infections/BV?
About 9 million U.S. women suffer from recurrent yeast infections; the number is higher for BV. The prevalence of BV in the U.S. is 21.2 million, and recurrence rates are as high as 80% three months after “effective treatment.” Besides the lag in funding and research, another reason vaginal infections can be challenging to diagnose correctly is that they have similar symptoms. We want to help the health care system better understand yeast infections, BV, and other vaginal infections.
Does Evvy plan to conduct rigorous studies as to whether the company’s treatments, like recommendations about lifestyle or supplements, work?
Yes — with our longitudinal testing, we are constantly tracking which recommendations are working for which people. That allows us to improve our personalized recommendation engine for each user while creating research on what is working and not for varying groups of people.
Can you give a few examples of personalized recommendations that may follow from an at-home test like Evvy’s? Are these distinct from what someone would get from a doctor at a traditional appointment?
Our personalized reports include actionable recommendations for probiotics, supplements, and lifestyle changes, alongside relevant research highlighting what has been proven (and not!) with each of them. These are framed in a way to empower people to advocate for themselves and have more informed conversations at the doctor’s office. In addition to comprehensive results and recommendations, we’re investing heavily in destigmatized and scientifically sound vaginal health education. Based on each user’s microbial results and health context, we curate relevant education and research about how the vaginal microbiome might be related to their overall health. So everyone with a vagina can better understand and care for their unique bodies. We do not diagnose any condition or prescribe antibiotics specific to what an M.D. can do.
What major fundraising milestones has Evvy achieved?
In July 2021, Evvy raised a seed round of $5 million from General Catalyst, Box Group, Virtue Ventures, Human Ventures, G9 Ventures, BBG Ventures, and others. We’ve leveraged that capital to reach our first customers, hire best-in-class talent, and continue our research and development.
What can we expect to see from Evvy in 2022?
For Evvy, the vaginal microbiome is just the beginning. The composition of the vaginal microbiome is responsible for common infections (like UTIs, BV, and yeast infections), but recent research has also shown that it’s associated with preterm birth, infertility, STI acquisition, and more. So as we look ahead, we’re planning to expand into other critical biomarkers, products, and services that can transform how we diagnose and treat conditions in the female body. And we’re incredibly excited to build an active community of people talking about vaginal health and other “taboo” female health topics along the way!