Ovira: Photo - Supplied
Ovira founder Alice Williams suffered through years of endometriosis. She tried every solution she could possibly find but nothing seemed to work. Her situation was not unique as, according to the Endometriosis Association, around 200 million women deal with the painful condition.
Endometriosis is a common disease, in which the tissue that is similar to the lining of the womb, grows outside it in other parts of the body. Symptoms are variable but include pelvic pain that puts life on hold around or during a woman’s period. It can also cause infertility.
After studying health science at Australia's Deakin University, Alice set to work on creating the tech that would help other sufferers. She leveraged her tight network and pre-existing technology and created Ovira – a technology using pulse therapy. It stimulates the nerves and stops period pain instantly; no pills, no side effects, and no interruptions to your day.
Ovira is a Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation (TENS) device which sends small electrical vibrations that overload the nerves and stop pain signals travelling to your brain.
Ovira: Photo, Supplied
They also cause the muscles in the uterine area to relax, resulting in a calming, analgesic effect.
The medical industry has used TENS technology to treat pain for decades. Put simply, it works by overloading your nervous system to reduce its ability to transmit pain signals to your brain. When Alice realised that it was possible to create a small wearable TENS device, Ovira was born.
The ‘Love Handles” can be placed in two positions for maximum relief; on the lower abdomen and on the lower back. They need to be placed over the dermatomes T10, T11 and T12 (the nerve roots that supply the sensory fibres to the uterus.) The Love Handles are designed to be effective even if they’re not located in exactly the precise spot.
It’s incredibly simple to work; you simply turn on Ovira by pressing a button, then you can regulate the output by pressing the up/down buttons. You can also play around with the intensity levels to find a place that feels comfortable.
Ovira: Photo - Supplied
Alice validated her idea by hosting focus groups and interviews with women who were suffering from endometriosis.
Following the idea phase and MVP, Alice was keen to fast-track Ovira, so she joined Blackbird Venture’s accelerator program, “Smartmate.” To raise capital, Ovira opened a seed raise, which was closed in February 2020, securing $1.5 million in funding from Blackbird, for product development.
Over the last six months, Ovira’s market has covered Australia and the US, while manufacturing and storage is located in China. There are plans to expand soon, with the focus on New Zealand and Canada.
Ovira founder Alice Williams. Photo: supplied
The Ovira online community, particular those in the private Facebook group, make a huge difference in spreading the word, that there is a now solution to period pain and women do not have to suffer. Now the Ovira team have moved into startup space Fishburners, where they are thriving.
The Ovira team recently moved into Australia’s top co-working and digital startup community, Fishburners, and are loving being in an environment that nurtures startups and helps them navigate the various challenges they’re likely to encounter.
Fisherburners CEO Nicole O’Brien says she is proud of the work the startup community does to empower women entrepreneurs like Alice Williams.
Fishburners CEO Nicole O'Brien (Photo: supplied)
“We have found that bringing a community of female peers together in a supported learning environment where they can connect with each other and share knowledge, builds the confidence and skills needed to create a new business,” Nicole says.