Jessica Ching wasn’t actually present when she first faced sexism from a prospective investor.
The 34-year-old inventor of Eve, an at-home testing kit for HPV and other sexually-transmitted infections (STIs), had a conflicting meeting, so her co-founder Evan Moses presented to a group of potential investors in her place. After the panel, the event’s organizer approached Moses and asked about Ching. When he learned why she was absent, according to Moses, he said, “That’s too bad; she would have looked really good on stage.”
“Evan was uncomfortable, I felt icky,” Ching says. “We didn’t pursue any investments through [them].”
Despite the incident—and thanks to some tenacity and persistence—Eve Medical went on to raise more than a million dollars in its 2014-2015 seed round, exceeding the original $750,000 goal. With the device available online to order across Canada, Ching is looking to another round of funding in 2019 to help expand into the U.S.
It’s a good time to grow: femtech—technology like apps or medical devices that service the specific health needs of women—is on the rise.
But while things may be changing, convincing a room full of men—and it is mostly men—that the market for women’s health care technology even exists is an ongoing feat.