Essity Ventures announces winners of innovative startup co-creation challenge

Three startups venturing into the field of women’s hygiene and health were awarded funding at a first of its kind co-creation challenge last month.

Egal, Planet MUTU and Roura took part in the co-creation challenge, EVolution, hosted by Essity Ventures, and will now partner with the specialist global hygiene and health company Essity. The winners will receive funding and resources with the goal to launch the pilots of the jointly developed business concepts in 2023.

The innovative winning concepts address persisting barriers to female hygiene and health and include a digital exercise app which supports the prevention and treatment of incontinence, sanitary pads on a roll to tackle period poverty and smart underwear which will alleviate period cramps.

Penelope Finnie, CEO of Egal in the USA, said: “Egal is thrilled to partner with Tork to pilot their product, Pads on a Roll, in schools in the UK and France. Tackling gender equity by providing free period products where they are needed, in the stall, with a partner like Essity is a collaboration that is tremendously exciting.”

Wendy Powell, CEO of Planet MUTU in the UK, said: “The MUTU System exercise programme is an easy-to-use NHS-recognised digital solution, proven to treat and improve pelvic floor control. But women also need immediate relief, to manage bladder leaks as they get stronger and gain control. Partnering with Tena enables millions more women to find dignity and comfort right away, as MUTU empowers them to stop leaks for good!”

Vlasta Schutzenhofer, CEO and Co-Founder Roura in the USA, said: “At Roura, we are very excited to work with Essity to bring our products to new markets sooner than anticipated and be able to leverage Essity's deep customer knowledge to ensure we are building a solution customers love.”

EVolution was hosted by Essity Ventures, the corporate venture studio of global hygiene and health company Essity, alongside partners like Highline Beta, FemTech Lab and TUM Venture Lab Healthcare. Seven startups and representatives of Essity co-created solutions across five key categories in women’s health and hygiene, including ‘the washroom of the future’, ‘becoming a woman’, ‘preventing incontinence’, ‘finding hormonal balance’ and a ‘quest for sleep.’

The event was part of Essity Ventures’ drive to collaboratively identify, validate and launch new business models and solutions that break barriers to well-being.

Kai Thornagel, Director of Essity Ventures, said: “It was truly overwhelming to witness how much the startups and Essity teams achieved together in just three days of collaborative work. The teams shared and discussed expert insights, creative thinking and well-crafted strategic approaches which led to the pilot concepts being pitched to attendees. The ideas and concepts created during the event really build on the synergies and strengths of both the young companies and Essity. And all have the potential to break persisting barriers to female health and hygiene." 

Karina Vazirova, Co-Founder at FemTech Lab and EVolution partner, said: "I really enjoyed the EVolution event and seeing how innovative startups can collaborate with Essity. My favourite part of the pitches was seeing how the proposed pilot would fit strategically into the vision of both companies and create value on both sides. The enthusiasm of the teams was absolutely contagious."

All winners. L-R: Roura, EGAL, Planet MUTU
L-R: Roura, EGAL and Planet MUTU


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Essity Ventures

Essity is a health and hygiene company that develops, produces, and sells personal care products and solutions.

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