A start-up developing an on-the-go cleaning case for reusable menstrual cups has won a slice of £75,000 in funding from the University of Bristol.
For their final year research project Kira Goode and Monica Wai surveyed thousands of women to find what deterred them from using the sustainable period product.
The result was Cup2, a portable sterilising and cleaning case that tackles what they found to be the two key barriers to use: concerns about changing them in public toilets and difficulty steralising at home, particularly in shared houses.
Kira and Monica, who have now graduated, will use the £11,500 to fund their current patent application, as they look to go public with the design in the next few months.
Consumer testing is now nearing competition and they hope to bring Cup2 to market in June 2023.
Kira and Monica calculate that those using a menstrual cup and their cleaner will save £564 over five years and use 96.6% less single-use plastic (from disposable menstrual products) over 10 years.
They hope to donate a Cup2 for every one they sell.
Monica, who studied for an Integrated Master’s in Management with Innovation at Bristol, said: “It feels crazy to have won! It really makes the hard work worth it and it’s so exciting to be closer to our launch target!
“Ultimately, our mission is to help and improve the lives of menstruators.
“We hope that by creating this product and building a community we can work towards reducing some of the taboo surrounding periods. We also want to help the environment by reducing the use of single use plastics.”
Kira, who studied for an Integrated Master’s in Electrical and Electronic Engineering with Innovation, said: “It’s amazing to win this funding, which is going to make a real difference to what we’re doing.
“The only competitor currently on the market only fits very specific cups. Ours will cater for every size and shape.
“Cup2 will have a big impact on people’s lives, and on the environment too!”
Other winners of University of Bristol start-up funding include:
- Route Zero, a carbon calculator that shows the cost, duration and environmental impact of different transport options for a given journey. Founder Albie Baker-Smith won £10,000 and a one year membership to SETsquared Bristol, the University of Bristol’s world leading tech incubator.
- Big Sister Swap, a clothes swapping service that allows users to refresh their wardrobes sustainably. Founder Hudi Charin won £7,000.
- Milbotix, whose smart socks alert carers to signs of distress caused by pain, anxiety or frustration, and could be used by 1.5 million people living in the UK with dementia, an autism spectrum disorder or a learning disability. Founder Zeke Steet won £20,000 and pro-bono legal support from law firm VWV.
- Eleat, a company producing a tasty, healthy cereal that is high in protein, high in fibre, low in sugar, vegan-friendly and gluten free. Founders Hywel Rose and Hugh Hamilton-Green won £10,000.
Michele Barbour, Associate Pro Vice-Chancellor for Enterprise & Innovation at the University of Bristol, said: “We were once again bowled over by the range of genuinely new and interesting business ideas sent to us by our students, staff and alumni.
“It’s hugely positive to see that many of the prospective businesses had a conscious aim to improve people’s lives and solve real world problems.
“Not everyone can win, but we hope all those who sent us their brilliant ideas go on to pursue them.”
Last year, two students building the UK’s first female urinal won University of Bristol start-up funding. PEEQUAL’s urinals have since become a common sight at UK festivals, including Glastonbury.
Other winners include:
- Mifu, which aims to connect micro-influencers to marketeers. Founder Alex Asher won £10,000
- Unique Connections, a consultancy that supports young people with learning disabilities and autism. Founder Beverley Samways won £5,000
- Ultra Horizon, an engineering firm that offers high spec cyber security. Founders James Webb and Anthony Wharton won six months SETsquared Bristol membership
- Living expense bursaries of £6,000 were awarded to students Guy Maalouf and Alex Asher (in addition to the £10,000 mentioned above)to help them get their business ideas off the ground
The sponsors of the University of Bristol’s start-up funding are:
- Engineers in Business
- Santander Universities
- SETsquared Bristol
- Bristol Grid
- Basim Ziadeh
- Wilkinson Charitable Trust
- Simon Pillar
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