Written by: Hilla Shaviv
Blooming beginnings: join Tulipon's journey from birth to beauty
I’m very happy, thrilled, and excited to be able to write the following words: After 6 years of the strenuous R&D process, Tulipon is finally ready for the market, and we’ll start sales in about 6 months. In honor of this milestone, I would like to give you a small window into what we have gone through before reaching this point. This would be the first article out of several where I will try to summarize our journey so far.
Part 1: The Invention of Tulipon
Has it ever happened to you that you thought of an original idea that no one has thought of before, and you were totally amazed how come it doesn’t exist in the market? In today’s reality, it seems that we have everything we need to live an easy, convenient life, at least regarding material aspects. Humankind always thought of ways to make his/her (but mostly his) life better and easier – necessity is the mother of all inventions. So you can imagine how surprised I was in 2012 when I first realized that the idea of Tulipon does not exist in the market nor is patented. In 2017 when we finally received our first patent approval, for me, it marked yet another indication that women are still inferior to men in many different aspects of life – technology, and health are two of them.
I first learned of the menstrual cup in 2007 as part of the R&D for GalMedics, my first startup. We used menstrual cups to collect the menstrual effluents and study their rheological characteristics. I remember being shocked that this was never done before. Unfortunately, this experience repeated itself time and time again since. You can find this study’s summary here, which was published in 2018. In my view, menstrual cups are one of the best inventions made for women to manage their monthly bleeding, so I tried to figure out why it wasn’t more popular amongst potential users. At that time, the women’s hygiene market was considered extremely conservative with no innovations, and only a hand full of women, who some would call “hugging trees,” knew about menstrual cups. After conducting a small market research, I concluded that it was because women probably dislike touching their menses and the need to insert fingers into the vaginal cavity as part of its insertion. Moreover, cleaning the cup and sterilizing it was not easy, especially when outside of the home. In addition, as an athlete, I found out, very embarrassingly, that the cup can fall out (saving you from the details). As a very physically active person with sporadic heavy bleeding who has experienced a hand full of embarrassing events due to leaking tampons/ forgetting to change a tampon/ getting spontaneous bleeding, and so on, the need for better technology to handle the monthly bleeding was evident to me. So I decided to do something about it, and the result was the invention of the Tulipon.