TULSA, Okla. – Oct. 11, 2022 – Period care startup Sunny, creators of the first ever reusable applicator that inserts a menstrual cup like a tampon, launched today with a $1.5 million pre-seed raise led by Tulsa-based Atento Capital.
The founders of Sunny, Cindy Belardo and Drew Jarvis, started the company in 2019 after both women realized there had to be a way to make menstrual cups easier to use. After going viral on TikTok with a video about the Sunny Cup + Applicator, the pair went on to win a pitch competition presented by Atento Capital, which led them to relocate to Tulsa, Oklahoma. Belardo and Jarvis created the Sunny Cup + Applicator with three goals in mind: create better, eco-friendly period-care products, become a global resource for honest education, and help end period poverty. Sunny has already logged over $502k in preorder sales in just under 6 months with plans to ship product by early 2023.
"When we first met Cindy and Drew, we were immediately impressed with their tenacity and clear vision for Sunny," says Susan Spears, Investment Partner at Atento Capital. "They are building an innovative product that addresses a problem women face everyday and are doing so with a strong orientation towards social impact."
The Sunny Cup + Applicator ends the fuss and frustration of inserting a menstrual cup, is beginner friendly, and is actually thinner, lighter, and more flexible than normal cups, and is the only cup that can be used with the Sunny Applicator. And while every person has their own preferences, the Sunny Cup + Applicator has been optimized for use by the majority of menstruators. Currently, only one size is available, but the product line will soon expand to include various sizes and colors.
“Going through the product development process as first time entrepreneurs and at such a young age was not easy. After winning $25,000 in a business idea pitch competition my senior year of high school, I had no idea the world I’d be getting into as I worked toward making the product a reality,” Jarvis said, “but it was so worth it. As soon as we launched pre-orders, people were so excited. The world was ready for this idea that I thought up in my bedroom at 18. Of course I couldn’t have done it without the genius brains of Cindy and the engineers at Glassboard, but it’s finally here and finally real, and people want it.”
Sustainability and practicality are not always synonymous, but Belardo and Jarvis made both of these things a priority. The Sunny Cup can be worn for up to 12 hours at a time (compared to the normal 4-6 hours of a regular tampon) and can be reused for approximately one year. Furthermore, it can save the average user up to $4,000 over the course of a lifetime, and keep up to 14,000 tampons from landfills. It is also made from biocompatible, medical grade silicone and is latex and BPA free.
“But we’ve always been more than a product company,” says Belardo, “In addition to creating better period care options for menstruators, we’ve seen the reality of society’s stigmatization, dismissal and disempowerment of menstruators and underrepresented peoples’ bodies and autonomy. The reality of period poverty renders many people without sufficient education, autonomy, choices and access to reproductive healthcare. From my research in northern India and across the globe, I’ve seen the harmful effects of considering period care as a privilege rather than a right. That’s the root of the problem and what we are solving for.”
As part of their mission to end period poverty, Belardo and Jarvis have also partnered with Period.org, donating 20% of the period poverty merchandise sold on SunnyPeriod.com to provide period products to people in need. When it comes to sustainability, Sunny is planning a recycling program for the Cup + Applicator, and all merchandise shipping materials are made of post-consumer recycled (PCT) plastics. They are also giving #PowerToThePeriod through honest and open conversations and education about periods, reproductive health, and more. For materials and more information, visit SunnyPeriod.com.
Sunny joins a vibrant and growing ecosystem of Tulsa-based tech startups funded by Atento Capital, including Remble, a platform aimed at helping users build healthier relationships, PatchRx, a smart pill bottle and medication management startup, Volt, a telecom software platform, and Boddle Learning, a math-focused gaming platform for K-6 students, among many others. Additional funders include Sixty8 Capital, Inicio Ventures, and Debut Capital.
About Sunny Period
Sunny is a self care brand that launched the Sunny Cup + Applicator, the first menstrual cup that inserts like a tampon. Drew and Cindy officially joined forces in 2020 during the pandemic where they combined their visions to create the best eco-friendly self care products, be a global resource for honest education, and give back to their community to help end period poverty.
Atento Capital is an investment firm that’s driving opportunity in Tulsa through returns, quality job creation, and being helpful. By democratizing access to venture capital and creating pathways to upward mobility for traditionally underinvested groups of people, Atento has helped dozens of companies and entrepreneurs grow and thrive in the Tulsa tech ecosystem.
Jake Yablonski, firstname.lastname@example.org
Drew Jarvis, email@example.com
Cindy Belardo, firstname.lastname@example.org
Sara Broun, email@example.com
Katie Carpenter, firstname.lastname@example.org