The company, cofounded by Forbes Under 30 list member Molly Hayward, sells its sleekly-packaged 100% cotton tampons via monthly subscription starting at $12.
Users can mix-and-match their orders based on how long their periods last and what absorbency they typically require. Cora also sells its wares in Target, although without the customization option.
Harbinger Ventures, which focuses on female-founded companies, led the round. It couldn’t come at a more competitive time for the burgeoning natural tampon market. Established players (the Honest Company, for one) and smaller newcomers (competing startup Lola) have capitalized on a surge of interest in improved period products that has also seen companies like menstrual disc startup Flex raise funds.
With this capital, the company will add liners and environmentally-friendly, applicator-free tampons to its offering. It’ll also invest in marketing, and in campaigns to benefit nonprofits and other causes both in the U.S. and abroad.
What has set Cora apart to date is its one-for-one social impact model. For every box of Cora tampons sold, the startup provides a month’s supply of sustainable sanitary pads to at-risk women and girls in India.
“Our social mission was literally the reason we created Cora,” Hayward said. “We wanted to be a catalyst for social change in a scalable way, allowing women to do something they were already going to do — buy period products — and know that they were helping a girl in need.”
The brand steers clear of the pink and pastel colors so often associated with the feminine hygiene aisle, instead opting for black and white. Its tampons are packed and shipped by women recovering from incarceration, addiction and homelessness at Colorado’s Mile High Workshop job training program.
Hayward didn’t mince words on the difficulty of raising capital as a woman, in the femtech space or elsewhere.
“We know that the number of female-led companies receiving venture capital is still very low, despite the fact that studies show that firms with women-led businesses in their portfolios perform better than those that don’t,” she said. “We also know that the presence of women and minorities in venture capital impacts the distribution of funding.”
“Like any industry, I think the the startup and VC communities will benefit from a greater degree of diversity. We need more and different types of people evaluating and investing in new ideas.”