Celebrating 5 years of revolutionary growth driven by innovation, The Flex Co. secures its largest capital investment to date with $12m in renewed funding led by CircleUp.
After over two years of intensive product development, The Flex Co. is proud to add the new Flex Reusable DiscTM to its suite of sustainable period products. Flex Reusable Disc was thoughtfully designed with the comfort and efficacy of the original Flex Disc in mind, with the addition of a patented notch designed for easier insertion and a smartly engineered rim for easy removal. The company launches their newest product in celebration of five years of growth and innovation.
With founder and CEO Lauren Schulte Wang at the helm, this milestone marks The Flex Co.’s trajectory to becoming the most globally successful sustainable period care company. Driving nearly two out of every three transactions for sustainable products at retail stores, and holding a 43% share of the market1, the brand boasts one of the largest retail footprints in the industry, selling into more than 25,000 stores nationwide, alongside both domestic and international channels.
Period care is big business and The Flex Co. is at the forefront of a growing industry. The global market for sales of menstrual care products is projected to reach $24.8 billion by 2026.2 The space has also proven to be recession-proof, despite the pandemic’s impact on the US economy. As an essential household item, The Flex Co. has more than doubled its revenue over the past 18 months, led by its retail business, with a strong direct-to-consumer subscriber base. These benchmarks were all reached while achieving industry leading margins and maintaining the same headcount.
The Flex Co. has raised a total of $20 million since its founding, with $12 million in renewed funding secured since the start of the pandemic. This support from marquee investors, led by CircleUp and Halogen Ventures with participation from Quest Venture Partners, Bow Capital, Y Combinator, and Amplify.LA, continues to fuel product innovation, strengthen sustainability efforts, and drive growth.
1 Nielsen Media Data
2 Global Industry Analysts
“A central tenet of our investment process is to pursue businesses with differentiated products that solve problems for a large subset of consumers. The Flex Co. has been a part of the CircleUp family of brands since 2017 and increasing our investment will continue to fuel the company’s omnichannel playbook, helping to meet consumers wherever they shop today, and driving lifetime value offline and online,” says Karen Howland, General Partner at CircleUp who joins The Flex Co. board of directors.
Jesse Draper, Founding Partner at Halogen Ventures, who will take a board observer seat, shares, “It’s not every day you come across a founder like Lauren who is heads down building a good business at all times, focusing on profitable growth, regularly reevaluating how her marketing spend is converting, and navigating the ups and downs with full transparency. We have invested in every round and doubled down because we believe so strongly in how Flex is redefining an entire category.”
At its current run rate, The Flex Co. will have manufactured almost 100 million menstrual discs by the end of the year, and demand is growing. “We have an eye on international expansion in the next few years so our investors will continue to play a crucial role in fueling our rapid growth,” concludes Wang.
Commitment to innovation: Flex DiscTM and Flex Reusable DiscTM
Thanks to its 2016 acquisition of Softdisc, the original menstrual disc, The Flex Co. gained access to 20 years of R&D on menstrual device technology. The company used this innovation history to launch Flex Disc and Lauren Schulte Wang coined the term ‘menstrual disc’ in 2016 to highlight the different shape and benefits of the product vs. the menstrual cup.
With the launch of Flex Reusable Disc, The Flex Co. is the only company in the world to make both disposable and reusable menstrual discs, in addition to menstrual cups, all of which meet FDA standards. With its newest Flex Reusable Disc patent, The Flex Co. has now been awarded five U.S. patents, four international patents, and has numerous other patents pending. The Flex Co. has more products coming to market in early 2022.
Customer-led Product Design and Innovation
The modern applicator tampon was invented in 1929. Since launching the brand in 2016, The Flex Co. has been innovating in a product category that was largely ignored for nearly 100 years.
Pushing design boundaries is in the brand’s DNA and The Flex Co. works directly with the end consumers to innovate. Wang’s entrepreneurial vision was to create a company that would solve real period problems for real people. Dubbed “inclusive product design”, Flex’s R&D strategy involves engaging with its hand-picked community of tens of thousands of customers that help identify period pain points, provide product insights, and engage in user testing.
The patented Flex Cup is the first and only menstrual cup in the world that can be removed as easily as a tampon. It was co-invented to provide an accessible period solution by Andy Miller and Jane Hartman Adamé. Adamé lives with Ehlers-Danlos syndrome (EDS), a painful connective tissue disorder, which made it difficult to remove her menstrual cup before creating her improved design.
After suffering from chronic yeast infections for 15 years due to organic tampon use, Lauren Schulte Wang launched Flex to create body-safe, medical-grade alternatives that outperform traditional period products.
SOURCE The Flex Co.