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Healthcare startup Jude raises £2M in biggest pre-seed funding for UK’s solo female founder

London-based Jude, a healthcare company working on a mission to bring bladder care into the mainstream, has pocketed £2 million in funding. It is the biggest pre-seed funding round secured by a solo female founder in the UK.

Stellar list of women investors

The pre-seed investment round was led by June Angelides MBE at Samos VC (Ocado, Charlotte Tilbury, Lick, Bloom & Wild, Skin + Me). It has a diverse cap table featuring 12 female angel investors and also includes Access VC, Reckitt’s innovation fund; Stephen Bourke, Founder of Echo Pharmacy, now Lloyds Direct; and David Rowan, Founder of VOYAGERS and Founding Editor-in-Chief of WIRED UK.

Women investors contributing to the round include Montse Suarez, Founding Partner of Vaultier 7 and Iris Ventures; Rupa Popat, Entrepreneur and angel investor in under-represented founders; Maya Moufarek, ex-CMO of Pharmacy2U; Deepali Nangia, Co-founder of Alma Angels; Eva Tarasova, Investment Director at Wharton Asset Management; Renee Parker, ex-Head of Luxury Beauty at Amazon; Triin Linamagi, Co-founder at Sie Ventures; Lian Michelson, Investment director at Vala Capital; Viktoria Tchoudakov, VP Growth Marketing at ZOE; and Samira Ann Qassim, Co-founder at Pink Salt Ventures.

Funds utilisation

Jude will use the funds to invest in R&D to further develop its innovative and affordable solutions for bladder care, running large scale clinical supplements trials, expanding the marketing team and continuing its focus on educational content to break down taboos and remove stigma around bladder health.

June Angelides MBE, Samos VC said: “Samos is attracted to exceptional founders looking to develop new consumer brands, where the mission is abundantly clear, and which have the potential to disrupt existing industries and upend the incumbents. With Jude, Peony ticked all these boxes.”

Peony Li, Founder, Jude said: “My passion for finding and investing in solutions to health problems for underserved communities has led me to invest in men’s hair loss treatments and commercialised pain-relieving tampons for women with endometriosis. Now I want to smash one of Britain’s biggest taboos and bring bladder care into the mainstream conversation.”

Greg Chabidon, Head of Global Business Unit for Vitamins Minerals & Supplements, Reckitt said: “At Reckitt, we’re particularly passionate about supporting innovation in our journey to a cleaner and healthier world, with people living longer, there is growing near-term demand for health and wellbeing products that allow people to live their lives to the full – with both a healthy body and mind.”

Tackles common issue of women

Founded by Peony Li in January 2022, Jude intends to tackle a problem that impacts 1 in 3 women or 14 million people in the UK. Targeting an “invisible demographic” of women aged between 40-60, Jude joins other challenger brands on a mission to break down taboos in rapidly growing women’s health and ‘elderly’ care markets.

Its bladder-care essentials include a fully biodegradable, 100% plant-based liners, pads and clinically tested supplements. These products have been co-created with its community of 300 women.

Peony Li has a background as the Head of Investments at Founders Factory that led the investment round in London-based Karmacist. With this background, she has received military training for her fundraise, and has delivered over 100 pitches in one week.

Jude has been created with the support of world class doctors and advisors, including Andrew Vallance Owen MBE, recently Group Medical Director at Bupa; Dr. Leena Pradhan-Nabzdyk, CEO of Canomiks and Assistant Professor at Harvard Medical School; Dr. Shahzadi Harper, Medical Expert in perimenopause, menopause and healthy ageing and Mr Jai Seth, Consultant Urological Surgeon.

Jude’s products use plant-based formula and is clinically tested and proven to improve bladder strength. The Jude starter kit comes with Everyday Pads, All-day Liners and a handy bladder-care guide for £3. Since its debut, Jude has a shipped its products to nearly 2,600 customers.

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