Stix: Providing Discreet, Accurate and Accessible Pregnancy and Ovulation Tests

The direct-to-consumer startup wants to take the stress out of reproductive health

07.08.2020 | by Reve Fisher
Photo by Stix
Photo by Stix

To deal with health issues such as hair loss and erectile dysfunction, dozens of startups are available to address these sensitive concerns from the comfort and privacy of home. However, when it comes to purchasing pregnancy and ovulation tests, the options are oddly limited.

Stix is hoping to change that. By offering comprehensive sex education resources and direct-to-consumer FDA-cleared pregnancy and ovulation tests, the startup is hoping to add accessibility, accuracy and discretion to reproductive health care.

“We designed the whole Stix experience with privacy and convenience in mind,” Stix co-founder Jamie Norwood wrote on the company’s blog. “Whether you’re totally comfortable strutting into a drugstore in your hometown or you’re 16 and can’t bear for your parents know you’re sexually active, Stix is for you.”

As a 20-something using an IUD, Stix co-founder Cynthia Plotch did not get her period. As such, she regularly used pregnancy tests to confirm that her missed period was a result of properly functioning birth control and not an actual pregnancy. However, one day she ran into her then-boyfriend’s mother at the drugstore, turning a routine visit into an embarrassing scene from a movie or sitcom.

“It was as bad as it sounds,” she told Forbes. “But it was a moment that really opened my eyes to how totally broken the market was and made me want to fix it.”

Horrified, she called Norwood to vent. The duo then realised that a business opportunity was to be gained from this experience.

“After I consoled her for a bit and attempted to calm her down, we started talking about how terrible it is to buy a pregnancy test,” Norwood recalled. “Whether it’s in the drugstore, grocery store, or on Amazon, the experience was always so negative.”

Not only is the customer experience of buying a pregnancy test unnecessarily public, but comprehensive sex education is often unavailable, resulting in misinformed choices regarding sex and intimacy,

“The entire experience is really based on learning and education,” Plotch explained to TechCrunch. “We believe that all women deserve access to these products and peace of mind throughout the experience. So, unlike other brands, we don’t focus on the outcome of the test. We don’t care whether or not you’re trying to get pregnant. We just want to make sure that you have accurate results and the information that you need to understand them.”

According to the company, the pregnancy and ovulation tests are over 99 percent accurate. The pregnancy test from Stix can detect hCG (human Chorionic Gonadotropin) levels as low as 20mIU/hCG, which occurs about seven to ten days after ovulation. One study has shown that the average pregnancy test detects around 100mlU/hCG, making the Stix test particularly sensitive even according to industry standards.

Everything is shipped in a discreet package, so live-in partners, roommates or parents will be none the wiser. The name of the company does not show up on PayPal, either.

The Stix pregnancy test package, which includes two tests, free shipping, and instructions, costs $13. The ovulation test package includes seven tests for $17.

“There are so many different reasons to understand what your cycle looks like and understand your fertility, and that’s really what ovulation tests allow customers to do,” Plotch explained. “But I think it has required an education to know that, and that’s why we’ve really focused on building our educational resources and making them available to everyone.”

In addition to their products, the startup also offers the Stix Library, information and resources about pregnancy, ovulation, birth control and other health information.

“What we’ve found is that there is a huge problem around the lack of proper sex education in this country,” Plotch said.

The startup has raised $1.3 million in a seed round with BDMI, Rogue Women’s Fund, Vamos Ventures, Founders Factory New York and angel investors, among others. The funding will be used to grow and add diversity to the team.

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