Although at-home test kits have become a popular alternative to visiting a medical clinic in person, there are still limited options for people to get tested for sexually transmitted diseases. Not to mention, there is a social stigma of getting tested in-person.
Almost everything we need can now be delivered to our home – whether it’s food, groceries, or clothes. Yet there are only a few players for STI at-home kits. These kits are currently not comprehensive, especially for the growing LGBTQ+ community.
We’re excited to announce that Ash, an at-home STI testing kit, has joined our virtual accelerator. The startup makes at-home STI/STDs testing simple and more convenient, and creates a new norm of proactive sexual health and wellness habits.
The Nuts & Bolts
Problem: Allied Market Research recently published a report that indicates the global STD testing market is expected to reach over $133 billion by 2025. STIs are considered one of the most critical health challenges globally, which has led to a high prevalence of transmission worldwide. The World Health Organization estimates that 376 million new STIs are contracted worldwide every year. These diseases may contribute to increased infertility risks and other chronic health problems if left untreated.
Other problems exist as well, including finding the time to visit clinics, disclosing results to partners, and being in geographic areas with no easy access to care.
Solution: Ash is an at-home testing kit for STIs, making it more simple, convenient, and accessible to maintain sexual wellness. Anyone can simply fill out the online questionnaire to order a kit, collect samples at home, and send it back. Samples are sent to partner labs and tested within 48 hours. A physician (registered in all 50 states) reviews and signs off on each order, and results are shown through a HIPAA-secure portal within three to four days.
Getting to Know Ash
We met the Ash team through an investor at Trustbridge Partners and the Director of Cornell Tech’s Runway and Spinouts Postgrad Startup Studio, who were both excited by the team’s hustle and passion.
Both founders of Ash understand this space well. Since starting the company in 2019 to moving to work on Ash full-time in May 2020, the team reports that it has secured one of the leading FDA-cleared labs in the U.S. to do at-home tests for STIs (+4 other labs in their network), as well as secured 40 paying pilot customers after being live for only two weeks.
In previous roles, Co-Founder David Stein was a Senior Consultant at IBM, a Product Manager at MissionU (acquired by WeWork), and worked in Operations & Product at Pathstream. Co-Founder Kyle Waters was a Senior Consultant at Deloitte Digital, where he led product for digital commerce teams at clients such as Chipotle Mexican Grill and Papa Murphy’s.
Other co-founders include Mio Akasako and Emma Rayner, who round out the team with their experiences in research, design, marketing, and sales from Parsons, Kallyope, Uber, and Just East.
Ash is working towards achieving many of the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals. For example, ensuring healthy lives (Goal 3), providing quality education (Goal 4), and promoting gender equality (Goal 5). The company’s approach to making sexual wellness convenient could not be more timely. It notes that in general, most insurance companies only cover one test annually, and during the pandemic, the options to get tested for STIs are even more limited and expensive.
STI testing is also a space that is ready for disruption, even though at-home test kits are more prevalent in today’s market. Among Ash’s target market is the gay men population, which has been largely underserved yet is one of the most sexually active communities today. The company is focused on providing a household solution for gay men and the LGBTQ+ community at large.
Future of Ash
Ash is pioneering a segment by combining sexual health and wellness – starting with making the STI testing experience more convenient and accessible.
You can learn more about Ash at meetash.com.
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