Daye, the London-based FemCare startup is developing the world’s first pain-relieving CBD tampon that will be launched later this year. According to the founder, Bulgarian Valentina Milanova, Daye already holds a patent for the specific product. In a recent development, the company raised $5.5M from high-profile investors from Europe and the US. With the fresh capital, Milanova aims to grow her team, and launch her own production site.
Investors in the startup are Silicon Valley’s Khosla Ventures, London-based Kindred Capital and Index Ventures. Alongside them, few private investors have backed up the project like Sophia Bendz, former global marketing director at Spotify, and now the principal at VC firm Atomico, Irina Havias.
Hemp for female hygiene
Founded by the 24-year-old Bulgarian Valentina Milanova, Daye’s first product is a pain-relieving tampon made out of natural fibers and CBD (non-addictive extract from the flower of the industrial hemp plant). The tampons have been designed with the idea to be completely compostable. The whole idea behind it? To fight cramps more comfortably and naturally. According to the company’s claim, the vaginal canal has the highest concentration of cannabinoid receptors, and Milanova says CBD is much safer than over-the-counter painkillers.
The idea first crossed Milanova’s mind while she was researching applications of industrial hemp for a project during the Harvard Courses, an affiliate educational program in Sofia. “The Center for Applied Science and Innovation in Sofia (the same that manages the Harvard Courses – ed.n.) has been a great support along the whole way,” says Milanova.
Soon after this Milanova went for a crash course in entrepreneurship in London taking positions as biz dev and venture associate in TechStars and Founders Factory. This allowed her to refine the idea, build up her network and bootstrap the initial product development.
Last September, Milanova quit her job and devoted to Daye – attracted a team, and continued with clinical trials. Today, the team of nine is based between London, where the whole R&D is, and New York. The trials have been conducted between Bulgaria and the Liverpool Women’s Hospital, the founder says.
A sustainable market
Tampons and female hygiene products are among those products that will always be used and needed. Daye tampons will be sold online through its e-commerce site, starting this autumn.
Currently, the market for menstrual care products estimated at $12.6B, and is expected to continue growing alongside the whole female hygiene market (6.5% by 2025). Also, Daye aims to bring the feminine hygiene products to a new more green level, as the whole product, including package, will be compostable. And this might be another essential point for the market and investors – last year an LA company called Rael announced that it raised a $17.5 million Series A for its organic period products. Daye is also operating on another market – the CBD products – which is another $20B+ market. According to Milanova, there are companies on the market that produces CBD vaginal suppositories, but they are not direct competition. Moreover, according to Milanova Daye has already patented the CBD tampon.