Eagan-Based Pelvital Raises $2.68M in Seed Round
Eagan-based medical device startup Pelvital has raised $2.68 million in its first round of venture capital funding, the company announced Tuesday.
Indianapolis-based Boomerang Ventures led the round, Pelvital leaders said in a news release.
The funding will be used to finish development and accelerate commercialization of a device designed to treat stress urinary incontinence, or involuntary urine leakage. It’s a condition that the Mayo Clinic says affects as many as 50% of all women.
Pelvital’s device is called the Flyte. In clinical trials, the device made women continent in an average of six weeks, said Lydia Zeller, the company’s president and CEO. In most cases, they didn’t need ongoing maintenance, either.
In an interview with TCB, Zeller said the company is working on an “enhanced” version of the Flyte that will enable remote data monitoring for clinicians. She said the company plans to share more information closer to the product’s release date.
Zeller described the Flyte as a “transformative product backed by strong clinical evidence.”
Other investors that contributed to Pelvital’s seed round included VisionTech Partners, Wisconsin Investment Partners, and Edward Bergmark, founder and former CEO of Optum.
Zeller said it’s been challenging to find funding in the current environment, especially as a women-led company. Last year, startups founded solely by women took home just 2.1% of all venture capital dollars in the U.S., according to PitchBook data. Zeller said investment in women-led companies tends to drop even more during challenging economic times.
“Venture capitalists, in general, think that they’re de-risking by investing in male-led companies,” Zeller said. “Which is ironic because if you look at the statistics, women-led companies outperform all male teams.”
Zeller said Pelvital is helping women in an underserved area. She noted that about 70% of the costs for urinary incontinence treatment come out of pocket, and 80% of affected women are not being treated because other treatments have been unable to deliver effective and lasting results. These other treatments include doing Kegels at home, using a Kegel trainer device, or using electrical stimulation devices. But Zeller said these all have drawbacks.
Another option for incontinence treatment is pelvic floor physical therapy.
“[This] is fantastic, but only 1% of physical therapists in the U.S. specialize in pelvic floor for an issue that impacts half of women,” Zeller said. “So that’s a huge gap in care.”
Flyte, which was developed by physicians at the Arctic University of Norway, uses mechanotherapy to provide continence. Mechanotherapy, which is treatment by manual or mechanic means, is nothing new, but the researchers were able to apply it to the pelvic floor to stimulate tissue repair and muscle memory. Flyte is comparable to surgery and is the fastest at home treatment available, according to Zeller.
“Flyte is becoming the gold standard of conservative care for treatment of urinary incontinence,” Zeller said.