Black women-led femtech secures $1.3M to design performance wear scientifically engineered for females

Oya Femtech Apparel
Photo Credit: Oya Femtech Apparel

As per multiple reports, US women spent $43.3B on women’s health-related issues in 2022. Urinary incontinence, bacterial vaginosis, and urinary tract infections are typical feminine health problems. In fact, 75% of women will experience yeast infections at some point in their lives, according to the CDC.

Women who train for long periods of time in workout attire that retains moisture and prevents the body from drying out may even be more susceptible to female health problems.

Oya Femtech Apparel, a black women-owned femtech apparel brand has a solution for this and has raised $1.3M in an oversubscribed pre-seed round.

The Sixers Innovation Lab led the round, with participation from REI Path Ahead Ventures, R/GA Ventures, an SPV managed by Union Heritage Venture Partners, and Techstars Sports.

“As a collegiate female athlete, I found myself struggling with recurrent vaginal health hurdles and in the dark about why. Then, many years later, I discovered the leggings I had been wearing were the culprit. Unfortunately, most performance wear is made with spandex blends, which trap moisture and do not breathe. This is not good for women athletes who need ventilation and moisture control,” said Mitchella Gilbert, co-founder, and CEO of Oya Femtech Apparel. “I took it upon myself to solve the issue by creating a line of performance wear designed with women’s health in mind.”

“As investors and entrepreneurs, we know that less than 2% of venture capital funding is allocated to women, and of that, roughly 0.05% to Black women. When we find underrepresented, passionate founders with great ideas, it is a privilege to invest in them and work alongside them,” said investors Sophia and Nia.

“Successful businesses solve real problems. By creating science-backed solutions to female health problems caused by athletic apparel, Mitch will improve women’s lives on a daily basis. We believe in Oya’s mission and Mitch Gilbert’s future impact as an entrepreneur,” said Seth Berger of Sixers Innovation Lab.

Intersection of science and style

Oya performance wear is designed with cutting-edge fabrics and sweat-wicking technology for feminine health and comfort. Leggings from Oya are twice as absorbent as those from top brands. Additionally, the innovative designs offer covert natural ventilation, which is a significant improvement over the available options.

Mitchella (Mitch) Gilbert and Patrick Ayers founded Oya Femtech Apparel at the UCLA Anderson Venture Accelerator. The company manufactures high-end, functional athletic wear with a focus on supporting women’s health. The founder becomes one of only 200 black women to raise over $1M in Venture Capital

In addition to advocating for women’s health, Oya is creating a moral supply chain. Los Angeles is where the line is primarily designed and produced. Oya uses BPA, PFA, and PFO in its fabrics.

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