Evvy is on a mission to radically reinvent how we understand and treat the female body, starting with the vaginal microbiome. Evvy’s first product — the Evvy Vaginal Health Test — is the first-ever at-home vaginal microbiome test to use metagenomic sequencing to tell you what’s up down there, why it matters, and what you can do about it.
Why? 30%of people with vaginas suffer from imbalances in the vaginal microbiome every year (read: bacterial vaginosis, yeast infections, and recurrent UTIs). For those struggling with recurrent vaginal symptoms, Evvy’s test finally brings specificity to what is otherwise a long and difficult journey of identifying what may be related to their symptoms.
What’s more — the latest research has uncovered groundbreaking links between the vaginal microbiome and infertility, STIs, preterm birth, gynecologic cancers, and more. Evvy empowers anyone with a vagina to take control of their preventative health by understanding these associations in the context of their unique microbiome.
But even though the vaginal microbiome is an important marker of health, women and people with vaginas have never had access to that information about their own bodies — until today. The Evvy Vaginal Health Test is performed as a simple, at-home swab (think a Q-tip!) but provides powerful information: it can uncover all bacteria and fungi present in your vaginal microbiome. The results experience includes personalized reports and curated recommendations for improving vaginal health based on your unique microbiome. All Evvy tests also come with a free 1:1 consultation with a certified health coach who is specially trained to walk you through your results, answer questions about your microbiome, and prep you to talk to your doctor if you need.
Founded by Stanford alums Priyanka Jain and Laine Bruzek, the Evvy team includes scientists, designers, doctors, and entrepreneurs, including a group of leading OBGYNs and vaginal microbiome researchers with decades of experience at organizations like UCSF, Stanford, Harvard, Cleveland Clinic, and more.
Where did the idea for Evvy come from?
Evvy was founded on the simple insight that there is so much we still don’t know about how to best care for women and people with vaginas — after all, women weren’t required to be in US clinical research until 1993. At Evvy (co-founded by Stanford alumni Priyanka Jain and Laine Bruzek), we’re radically reinventing how we understand and treat the female body, starting with the vaginal microbiome
Evvy is inspired by our own personal experiences. Almost everyone with a vagina will deal with a UTI, yeast infection, BV, or another vaginal infection in their lifetime — and many of us recurrently. But the taboo around vaginal health means that we often go through our care journey alone, and with deep embarrassment. It’s time that vaginal health, and women’s health as a whole, gets the destigmatized investment it deserves on a systemic, clinical, and personal level.
For Evvy, the vaginal microbiome is just the beginning. We’re already planning to expand into new biomarkers, datasets, and products that can transform how we diagnose and treat conditions in the female body.
What does your typical day look like and how do you make it productive?
We have a very singular daily focus at Evvy: ensuring every member has an insightful, supportive, and empowering experience on the Evvy platform.. There are so many things that go into that — product development, research, talking to customers, writing content, and so much much. But our members are our #1 priority, and their experience is the most important thing for us to spend our time on right now.
But everything else obviously has to stay moving forward. You can’t take things off the burners ever which is one of the hardest parts about being a founder, but our number one priority is our customers. It has to be.
How do you bring ideas to life?
We work very collaboratively and very fast. But part of being able to move that quickly is deeply understanding the unique skills and abilities of everyone on the team! So a crucial part of bringing ideas to life at Evvy is caring for the people that work here, learning what they love to work on, and what keeps them motivated.
What’s one trend that excites you?
We strongly believe that the future of healthcare will be built on shared decision-making between patients and their providers. This requires empowering women and people with vaginas with better information about their own bodies so they can actively advocate for themselves at the doctor’s office.
In a sea of misinformation about vaginal health on the internet, we’re proud that Evvy is providing scientifically accurate and engaging education — as well as a product that can truly help people better understand their bodies.
What is one habit of yours that makes you more productive as an entrepreneur?
Keep track of what works! Build a repository of knowledge from day one about what messaging, creative, strategies, etc are most successful and efficient so that you don’t duplicate work later. As a bonus, this makes it much easier to onboard new teammates and ensure their success!
What advice would you give your younger self?
Some of the best advice I ever got was “Make yourself easy to help.” If you go to someone and say, “Can I pick your brain for 30 minutes?” that’s putting all the work on them: they have to make time, set up a calendar event, take the call, follow up with you, etc.
For me, it has made a world of difference to do the disciplined work of identifying the concrete questions or asks I have, and reaching out with something more specific like “Hey, I’d love to be in touch with X person in your network, and I’ve included a ready-to-forward email below.” That way, others can help with a single button click! People naturally want to help if they can, and if you make it really easy it’s a win for everyone.
Tell us something that’s true that almost nobody agrees with you on.
That talking about vaginal health isn’t embarrassing, gross, shameful, or something to be avoided! We’re all about destigmatizing vaginal health so we can find community with one another and learn from each other on how to lead healthier lives.
As an entrepreneur, what is the one thing you do over and over and recommend everyone else do?
Write thank you notes! Entrepreneurship takes a village — it would be impossible to build anything from scratch without lots and lots of help along the way from mentors, investors, fellow founders, colleagues, and more. You’ll need help along the way and when people go out of their way to help you, make sure to say thank you! Even better if you hand-write the note.
What is one strategy that has helped you grow your business?
The most valuable thing we do is test, test, test — and soft launch! I can’t emphasize how important it was for us to soft launch. Having mechanisms in place to learn from actual paying customers, as much as you can, is invaluable. What can go wrong, will go wrong — so while it’s tempting to get to market as fast as possible, take the time to find as many hiccups as you can with beta tests and soft launches. Risks pay off!
We’ve also really benefited from seeking out mentorship from all types of founders and startup teams. It’s tempting to only want advice from people who have been massively successful or who are 7-10 years into their startup journey, but we couldn’t’ve made it without the guidance of founders who are just 3-6months ahead. They acutely understand prioritization and immediate needs in a way that’s irreplaceable.
What is one failure you had as an entrepreneur, and how did you overcome it?
It’s easy to forget to prioritize your mental health as founder — and this can be a detriment to both yourself and your team! We want to intentionally build a culture where rest and communication are just as important as innovation and moving fast.
What is one business idea that you’re willing to give away to our readers?
One of our favorite parts of building Evvy has been finding community among women and people with vaginas who want to laugh, learn, and commiserate about vaginal health. While we’ve enjoyed building a presence on the traditional social channels like TikTok, Instagram, and Facebook, we’d love to have a dedicated space where we can also host virtual events, do AMAs, connect our members and our health coaches, and more! We’ve been exploring non-Facebook options for this and we’d love to see more community platforms built in this space.
What is the best $100 you recently spent? What and why?
Besides my Evvy Vaginal Health Test? Probably a flight home to visit family! It’s so important for entrepreneurs to remember to take care of themselves — which can sometimes get lost in the chaos of building something new. Relaxing with loved ones can be so energizing, and we wouldn’t be able to do what we do without their support.
What is one piece of software or a web service that helps you be productive?
We love Figma — which is like Google Docs for design work. Our visual brand is so important to the Evvy story — we’re committed to building a luxurious, chic, refreshing vaginal health brand which has never been done before! Being able to visually collaborate with everyone on the team has been crucial to our daily productivity.
What is the one book that you recommend our community should read and why?
“Invisible Women: Data Bias in a World Designed for Men” by Caroline Criado Pérez! It’s about the gender research gap and how the world has been built on the assumption that men are the default:
“Data is fundamental to the modern world. From economic development, to healthcare, to education and public policy, we rely on numbers to allocate resources and make crucial decisions. But because so much data fails to take into account gender, because it treats men as the default and women as atypical, bias and discrimination are baked into our systems. And women pay tremendous costs for this bias, in time, money, and often with their lives.
What is your favorite quote?
One that has really resonated lately is from Marie Daly, the first African-American woman in the U.S. to earn a PhD in chemistry (she discovered the relationship between cholesterol and clogged arteries!). She said: “Courage is like — it’s a habitus, a habit, a virtue: you get it by courageous acts. It’s like you learn to swim by swimming. You learn courage by couraging.”
- Though women and people with vaginas have often been overlooked in clinical research, that means there are incredible entrepreneurial opportunities to improve vaginal health, and women’s health as a whole.
Courage takes practice. Be willing to take risks but make sure to keep track of what works so you’re always learning!
- Trust others, and make yourself easy to help. You don’t have to know everything to succeed and you won’t be able to get where you want to go alone!
- Always make sure to write a thank you note if someone gives you their advice or time.
Steve (Stefan) Junge hails from Germany and helps with the day-to-day publishing of interviews on IdeaMensch. While he and Mario don’t share a favorite soccer club, their enthusiasm to help entrepreneurs is a shared passion.