Reportedly, one-third of women in the UK don’t have easy or convenient access to contraception. This is worse for women worldwide due to the lack of clinical evidence and high-quality information. The impact of hormonal contraceptives on the emotional and mental state of women also remains unknown.
From offering a full range of brands of pills to trying to get an appointment to get a coil fitted or removed, The Lowdown, a London-based femtech startup, clears all doubts with its world’s first contraception review platform. Its community gives everyone an insight into the pros, cons, benefits, and side effects of contraception. Users can search and filter thousands of real-life reviews, speak to the in-house GP or order their pill prescription via this platform.
$2.5M seed investment
The Lowdown has secured $2.5 million in seed funding in a round led by pan-European VC Speedinvest (which invested in Charles.co and CELUS). This marks Speedinvest’s first investment in the female health tech space. The financing round also saw participation from Nina Capital, Calm/Storm VC, Entrepreneur First, and four Atomico Angels, including GoCardless co-founder Matt Robinson and ex-Songkick co-founder Ian Hogarth.
The funds will be used to invest in commercial and product hires and expand their unique community-first proposition across Europe. It will supercharge its community-centred female health platform.
Responding to TFN in an exclusive interview, Alice Pelton, founder of The Lowdown said, “Alongside growing the e-commerce and telemedicine sides of our business, we have exciting plans to reimagine the physical experience of reproductive and sexual health, which we’re very excited to announce towards the end of this year.”
Building and scaling revenues in the UK, and expanding their content platform across Europe, they recently launched their German review platform.
This month they expanded this service and launched a suite of community-recommended products to help women manage their contraceptive side effects and vaginal health symptoms, including UTI’s, thrush, bacterial vaginosis, breast tenderness and vaginal dryness. The Lowdown is often the first to hear about a new solution through its community, and can educate and inform their users about these products before their competitors or healthcare professionals.
Alice leads an eight-person team based in Southwark, and will use the seed raise to invest in key commercial and product hires and expand The Lowdown’s proposition to more women across Europe. The new hires will join CTO Marija Ziterbart, and Medical Directors Dr Melanie Davis-Hall and Dr Frances Yarlett. Its team includes five full time and seven part-time staff.
Founded to relieve her suffering
Alice is a solo founder who founded The Lowdown in 2019 after suffering debilitating side effects from contraception throughout her twenties. Frustrated by the lack of clinical data, poor quality of the advice she received, and issues accessing the contraceptive methods she wanted, Alice bootstrapped and built The Lowdown’s contraception review platform to help women like her share and compare their experiences. She was working in product management and strategy for the publisher News UK at the time, and quit her job there at the end of 2019 as The Lowdown went viral.
Alice met her CTO Marija last year after just raised a pre-seed round, after she applied for a job via Work in Startups. Together they rebuilt The Lowdown’s product and tech stack in 2021, so it was fit to scale.
World’s first contraception review platform
The team has developed a suite of digital tools that are used by thousands of women every week, including a contraception recommendation algorithm based on their review data and clinical evidence. These tools are combined with seamless next-day delivery of the widest range of contraceptives in the UK including the contraceptive pill, patch, ring, injection and morning after pill.
The Lowdown is the first and only review platform for contraception in the world – and have collected a unique dataset of over 5,000 reviews and 250,000 data points on people’s lived experience with over 85 methods and brands.
Powered by user-generated content, medical advice and prescriptions, they use their unique community-first approach to put women in control of their healthcare decisions.
When it comes to competition, Alice said, “Through collecting anecdotal data at scale, and combining this with content and tools that interpret evidence (where it does exist) we can give women clarity, confidence and most importantly, control. We couple that with products and services that have choice and convenience at their core, to become the most trusted partner and source of information in women’s health.”
Talking about who will use the contraceptive review platform the most, Alice stated, “The Lowdown has build an engaged community of over 70,000 reproductive aged women who use the platform every month, and thousands have subscribed to their seamless prescriptions and consultation services. The Lowdown is there for anyone who is thinking about starting, switching, using or changing their contraception and reproductive healthcare. 15% of the world’s population (almost 1 billion people) use contraception, for on average 30 years in their lifetime.”