Two founders, two women, two sisters. The Hamburg-based Femtech startup for natural contraception and women's health was founded by two sisters, Eva and Lina Wüller. We talked to founder Lina Wüller about the pill, equality in the startup world and women as a target group.
Dear Lina, we are very happy that you answer all our questions about Ovy. First of all we would like to know: How did you come up with the idea to found Ovy?
After almost ten years, I had stopped taking the pill at that time because I didn't want to burden my body with artificial hormones anymore. My sister Eva, with whom I started the company, couldn't tolerate them either and had been looking into alternative options for some time. Recording my cycle with a piece of paper and a pen was too cumbersome for me and no longer in keeping with the times - especially since today you have so many technical options with your smartphone. So we asked ourselves: Why is there still no connected device that transmits the basal body temperature, the crucial data point for calculating the fertile days in the cycle, to an app that then takes over the evaluation? A reliable medical app where you can also easily enter other data points to calculate your cycle. We saw insane potential in Femtech.
What problem do you want to address with your idea and how do you solve it?
There has been far too little innovation in the overall women's health market. Taking on the evaluation of the female cycle was the first step towards where we want to go with this company in the long term: developing smart and effective products to improve the health of women worldwide. With our device and app, we help women who are looking for a hormone-free alternative to birth control, as well as women who want to have children, to determine their fertile and non-fertile days in their cycle.
Amorelie, Femtasy, Female Company: startups by women for women are just taking off and becoming increasingly important, how did you manage to establish yourselves in the femtech market?
We have developed an innovative technology with our own hardware and medical app. We have identified a problem faced by half of the world's population, women. The demand for such products is increasing rapidly among women. As a result, we got a lot of attention right from the start. A big advantage is that as female founders we can develop close to the needs of our target group, as we naturally know them ourselves
Do you think Female Founders are contributing to equality? And if so, how do you contribute to it with your startup?
Female Founders should make it their mission to continually challenge the status quo. It is obvious that equality still does not exist. This is evident just by looking at the number of startups and the equity investments that are flowing into companies founded by women. I strongly believe that people need to talk more about this issue and share their own experiences.
Two women, two founders, two sisters: What is it like to found together as siblings, what problems have accompanied you or does it also have advantages?
You never know anyone as well as you know your own sister. In dates, we know what each other is thinking and how the date is likely to turn out after the first five seconds - without having to talk to each other. That's definitely an advantage. On the other hand, you're very honest and give your opinion unfiltered. We had a coach in the beginning with whom we worked out appropriate processes that made us extremely stronger as a founding team. Interestingly, the sister constellation is especially attractive to investors. They usually know that siblings can't just split up. By the way, this is one of the most common reasons why companies fail: because the founding teams don't see eye to eye and therefore break up.
What was the most valuable tip someone gave you during your start-up phase?
I was 25 when I started my first business. At the time, my grandmother, who was an entrepreneur, said to me, "If you come up with Plan B, Plan A won't work. And that's true! If you have a Plan B and you know you're going to fall soft if Plan A doesn't work, then you're not running far enough or jumping high enough. My sister and I don't have a plan B with Ovy. We are doing everything we can to make this one venture successful.
What was it like for you to land investors with a tech product in a predominantly male-dominated industry?
98% of our conversations were with male investors. It happened that they didn't understand the problem we were trying to solve with our products, because it was naturally a female one. However, we were quickly able to attract very good investors, such as the medical device manufacturer Beurer, who participated as a strategist at an early stage. By the way, hardware is generally a red flag for many investors. That's because it takes a lot of capital and time to develop and get such products approved - and then investors don't care whether the company was founded by men or by women.
What tips would you give to other female founders?
One: If you're starting a business, start with an acute problem facing your target audience and solve it. Second, shout out your idea and get feedback. Third, prepare for the (very) long run! And most importantly, reason in pairs, and the initial night shifts will be more fun.
Where do you see your startup in three years?
In the future, we want to develop more medical devices in both software and hardware to improve women's health in the long term. In three years, we want to have new hardware in hand that will make the methodology even easier and safer.
Which woman is your biggest role model?
I am inspired by many women from the German start-up scene who develop products for us women and who stand up for issues that concern us women.
If you were mayor of Hamburg for a day, what would you change?
I would advocate for women founders who become mothers in parallel with starting a business. I would ensure that financial aid is made available so that mothers can return to the company early after giving birth and that adequate care for the offspring is financially subsidized.
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