A $3 million round of seed funding will enable LOOM to go beyond its brick-and-mortar center to offer a new digital product and platform for sexual and reproductive wellbeing education that will launch in the fall.
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The startup offers classes from its Los Angeles-based center on a wide range of topics from periods and sex to pregnancy and menopause. The new funding will let the company make the leap to a full online platform, while the initial version will offer services on pregnancy and postpartum.
“The reality is, women make up a defensible amount of the population and, unfortunately, are faced with a chronic lack of resources around health care,” Chidi said in an interview with Crunchbase News. “When you think about the total addressable market, we want to build a health education platform that will travel with a woman at every stage of her life.”
Slow Ventures led the seed round, which also included Precursor Ventures, GSV, Moxxie Ventures, General Catalyst and Maveron. Additionally, angel investors include Halle Tecco, Sheena Yatines, April Gargiulo and Brandon Shainfeld.
The investment, which happened within three months, puts Chidi among 35 Black female founders who have raised more than $1 million in venture capital.
“As a Black gay woman, I can’t discuss my leap into venture capital without talking about the support I have received, particularly from Kat Schneider, whom I met when we were both at the beginning of our companies,” she said. “I also now realize I raised the round really fast, but that is testament to the mentorship, the VC community’s sense of herd intellect, and our strong value proposition.”
The resurgence of Black Lives Matter and people starting to understand that they have learning and unlearning to do in terms of racism, Chidi said, parallels the work she is doing with LOOM, which is helping women learn and unlearn about their bodies at the same time.
One of the things she couldn’t predict was the impact of COVID-19 on helping women feel a sense of self-discovery and access to reproductive education, she added.
“We are looking to support women and BIPOC people with access to education and support around whether they want to have a child or not have a child,” she said. “We want to build a product that is emotionally agile and delivers literacy in a way that can exist inside of the product and outside of the center. We want it to become a part of people’s lifestyle, not just another online class you are taking. When women have a deeper understanding of how their body works, they feel empowered throughout their life.”
Photo of Erica Chidi courtesy of Karen Hernadez
Blogroll illustration: Li-Anne Dias
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