Eve Medical, A Medical Device Company in Toronto Founded by Jessica Ching
Eve Medical, is an early stage medical device company focused on designing innovative, user-centered medical products to meet the specific health care needs of women. Their first product, “The Eve Kit“, is home testing for cervical cancer. A woman can test herself in the comfort of her own home, send the swab to a local lab, and the test results will be sent to her directly. No more visits to a doctor for a Pap smear test!
This medical device will revolutionize cervical testing around the world, because in many situations it isn’t possible to reach a doctor for this test.
I first met Jessica Ching, the young co-founder and CEO of Eve Medical at a SheEO event and later interviewed her when I was completing an assignment for the online Coursera MOOC (Massive Open Online Course) “Beyond Silicon Valley ….”
Jessica had the idea for this device while at design university OCADU in Toronto in 2009, the result of a casual conversation with some friends. Originally Jessica intended to become an industrial designer, but now she is a woman entrepreneur extraordinaire. The path to market is a long hard road, but one that Jessica is committed to see through. Her dream is for this device to be available worldwide. There are 500,000 cases of cervical cancer, many of which can benefit from early detection. When I met Jessica, I was struck by her focus. You need to be focused to be successful developing disruptive technology, because the road to commercialization is long, expensive and difficult.
“We are a passionate team of entrepreneurs, designers, business people, researchers and advocates for women’s health – working together to make worthwhile products for meaningful change.”
Raising Funds for Research and Commercialization
The biggest challenge that companies like Eve Medical have, is how to raise the necessary funding to commercialize their product. As a medical device company, the path to market is very long and expensive. A large part of the cost is getting the regulatory approval from the different health agencies around the world before the product can be commercialized with potential customers. Eve Medical has received CE approval of European conformity and has sold units to potential customers for testing.
In the early stages Jessica was awarded the Martin Walmsley Fellowship which granted her $50K, as well as $10K from the Best Blended Value Opportunity in the MaRS UpStart Competition, $15K from the National Research Council of Canada’s Industrial Research Assistance Program and $98K from an OCE Market Readiness Grant for market and product development.
Next, they were able to raise $650K on their seed equity round, of which $150K is convertible debt. They need an additional $750k. One of the challenges they are facing when raising the $750K is where do they fit in terms of their “ask”? In their search for funds they have found that generally Venture Capitalists find the amount too low and on the other side they probably need to look at angel networks for pooled funds to reach their goal as the amount is too large for an individual angel. Jessica says: “The challenge with funding is always finding the right type of investor for the company you’re trying build.” Although they may be healthcare investors, her type of company is a subset of this group and she found that “a lot of them were not confident investors, and did not have domain [medical device] experience,” preferring to wait until more established investing sources came on board.
The second biggest challenge was to get the device clinically tested to prove this design is both effective in taking the swab, preserving the sample through its journey to the lab and user friendly. This was accomplished in the Spring of 2016 and the results of the trial at St. Joespeh’s Hospital in Hamilton, Ontario reported in Contemporary OBGYN News. The third challenge is the testing required for health approvals in each country where it will be sold as well as setting up the lab partners across the world for testing the samples. Canada, home of Eve Medical will be the first country available for distribution (although not yet covered by the Government health plans) and other countries will follow shortly.
In addition to the seed funding, Jessica is currently running an Indiegogo crowdfunding campaign aimed at “proof of concept” and social proof that the community cares about such a device. (Over 4000 women were tested in the trials).
How to Order a Kit
Eve Medical recently updated their campaign to include the following international options: the United Kingdom, Ireland, France, Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Slovenia and Hong Kong. Just select the Eve Kit Jetsetter perk and pick where you live at checkout. A few disclaimers: shipping costs will be billed at checkout and include shipping to your location only – return shipping to our lab is not included. Any duties or VAT are not included and are your responsibility on delivery. Eve Kit is not available in the United States. Questions? Email firstname.lastname@example.org
Eve Medical is also seeking the funds for the first production run. So far, this campaign has exceeded expectations and is well over the dollar target set. They have set a “stretch” goal of $20,000. There are many options to support this campaign, click on the Eve Medical page for the choices.
Author, Elaine Slatter is a small business consultant at XL Consulting Group and the founder of Fabulous Fempreneurship, a community inspiring, supporting and mentoring women entrepreneurs around the world. She is author of the complete startup guide for women entrepreneurs, entitled Fabulous Fempreneurship.