On August 3rd, PearX S20 alum Sequel, received FDA approval. Sequel’s co-founders, Greta Meyer and Amanda Calabrese, worked hard to develop their product and work through the FDA clearance process. This can be a grueling process, so it’s truly a huge milestone for Sequel to be able to launch their FDA-approved tampons. We wanted to mark the occasion by looking back on our journey working with the Sequel team.
Founders, Greta Meyer and Amanda Calabrese
We met Sequel co-founders, Greta Meyer and Amanda Calabrese, when they were still students at Stanford. They were both undergraduate engineering students, where they participated in the LaunchPad d-school course in 2018 to design and launch a product. They were both professional athletes that had lived first hand, menstruation leaks during practice or worse an athletic tournament. Mar was tasked with helping them refine their fundraising pitch and this is how our partnership with Sequel got started.
Sequel joined our PearX S20 cohort, right at the start of the pandemic, when they were still called Tempo. And even though it was unexpectedly a virtual cohort, it was an outstanding PearX class, with many other breakout companies like: Seven Starling, Interface Bio, Federato, Expedock, Gryps, and rePurpose Global.
PearX check-in during Covid.
After meeting Amanda and Greta, we chose to invest in Sequel for a few key reasons:
Big market opportunity:
Greta and Amanda were both superstar athletes and had a pain point: menstruation products are still not reliable for women. While participating in the Launchpad course, they dug into this more to see if others felt the same way. They learned that most women still prefer a tampon to all of the options out there, but they unveiled a common frustration for women: they had to combine their tampons with pads or pantyliners to avoid leaks. Amanda and Greta realized that, while the tampon had been around for ages, it hadn’t seen any innovation in nearly a century. They saw a big opportunity to build a women’s health company that was focused on innovating this big, unmet need for women.
Their product vision:
We were excited about their mission and vision: to re-engineer the tampon. For their product, the two engineers envisioned a redesign of a tampon in a spiral-shape to fit more comfortably and better absorb periods to prevent leaks. They designed and patented their design, so it’s truly proprietary. We really liked the product innovation and their vision to shake up an old industry that’s dominated by a few huge players like Tampax.
Greta and Amanda were stellar founders and superstar athletes too: Amanda competes for the US Lifesaving Association and Greta played Varsity Lacrosse while at Stanford. They had first hand experience with tampons failing them while being active, and we loved that they were both extremely purpose-driven.
Amanda and Greta presenting during Demo Day
During PearX, they built out a pretty robust go-to-market strategy, assembled influencers, and started a beta program. They got a quality system up and running to prepare for FDA testing. They were able to beta test with 75+ users before PearX Demo Day. They presented to thousands of investors at Pear Demo Day and raised a seed round from MaC VC, Long Journey Ventures, and others.
Since participating in PearX, they’ve had a number of exciting wins. Greta and Amanda were included on the Forbes 30 under 30 list for manufacturing and industry. Amanda moderated a SXSW panel on content creators and stigmatized spaces. And they received positive press from Fortune, the Wall Street Journal, Forbes and others.
With FDA approval behind them, we are excited for the Sequel team to be able to focus on commercialization and getting their product out in the world. We know the best is yet to come for this company!