1 in 3 women or 14 million people in the UK are affected by incontinence, yet when Peony Li initially set out to raise for her startup Jude, a UK-based startup focused on bladder care, she was told by investors that the space wasn’t “sexy enough”. She proved them wrong and today the company is announcing a £2M pre-seed round led by June Angelides at Samos VC, numerous angel investors Access VC, Reckitt’s innovation fund, as well as Stephen Bourke, Founder of Echo Pharmacy, now Lloyds Direct; and David Rowan, Founder of VOYAGERS and Founding Editor-in-Chief of WIRED UK.
Jude targets women aged between 40-60 and joins challenger brands on a mission to break down taboos in rapidly growing women’s health and ‘elderly’ care markets. Its bladder-care essentials – fully biodegradable, 100% plant-based liners, pads and clinically tested supplements have been co-created with its community of 300 women. Launched in January 2022, Jude has since shipped to 2,600 customers and will use the pre-seed funding to invest in R&D to further develop its innovative and affordable solutions for bladder care, running large scale clinical supplements trials, expanding the marketing team and continuing its focus on educational content to break down taboos and remove stigma around bladder health.
Jude Founder Peony Li explains: “There’s no denying that this is an industry that has seen limited innovation for many years and women’s health has sadly been underfunded for too long. The reality is with better access to healthcare, women are living longer and working longer. It is imperative that innovation continues beyond menstrual tracking, fertility and pregnancy. I want to see more products and services being created to truly enable older women to live full lives. Over 14 million of us experience problems with our bladders, so why do we continue to suffer in silence? I want to break the stigma around bladder care and create a community and brand that makes people feel heard, seen and supported. I know I’ll have succeeded when we all start having conversations about incontinence in the same way we talk about periods and menopause. My passion for finding and investing in solutions to health problems for underserved communities has led me to invest in men’s hair loss treatments and commercialized pain-relieving tampons for women with endometriosis. Now I want to smash one of Britain’s biggest taboos and bring bladder care into the mainstream conversation.”