Meet The Founders Demystifying Gynaecological Care

With a little help from the Amazon Web Services CTO Fellowship Program, start-up Syrona is on a mission to change the women's healthcare landscape

By Isobel Van Dyke

7 March 2023

yrona Health Founders Chantelle Bell and Anya Roy are on a mission to ensure that women and non-binary people everywhere have access to gynaecological research and resources no matter the stage of life they are at.

It probably comes as no shock that women's bodies are significantly under-researched, in fact just 2.5% of publicly funded medical research in the UK goes to women-only study areas. Stories of medical misogyny are ever-present, yet rarely dominate the headlines – enter Syrona Health. A start-up on a mission, through the power of tech, to change that landscape, with its team of doctors, scientists and pioneering business women.

With the help of AWS and their programs such as the CTO fellowship, this co-founder duo have built a business that, though in its early stages still, is making waves throughout the tech industry and actively creating space for women within the startup world and beyond.

Here we caught up with both co-founders to discuss their experience with AWS, the future plans for Syrona and the big mission...

“The next funding round is more about numbers and the quality of the product so we’re feeling more confident”

What’s your mission and what is Syrona Health?

Here at Syrona Health we’re building a personalised digital help solution for women going through different life stages and transitions, so something that suits everyone whilst they go through that specific life stage.

In terms of mission, we’re passionate about making gynaecological care accessible for everyone, currently a lot of gynaecological health is really under-researched and under-served. We want to change that so we have different representations both from the patients and clinicians and getting care for underrepresented groups as well as high quality research.

Where did this idea first come from?

We were classmates. We did a course which was Bioscience Enterprise at Cambridge and that essentially sets people up for doing what we’re doing now. The idea came from speaking about past experiences and things we’d seen within the healthcare industry.

How long did it take to grow your team?

It was a fairly slow process, it started off with three or four of us - the two of us and a designer and a developer. But as the platform grew so did we and we were able to hire more designers and more developers.

What were the biggest challenges when raising money?

Gosh, so many. Fundraising has been so challenging. As women of colour, people like us aren’t represented in the investment space, so they either don’t get it or don’t believe in us as founders which is hard to go through. We’ve definitely heard racist, sexist, misogynistic comments in the past few years, but having said that there are also lots of good people out there too. We raised from the best there could be at the end.

It’s definitely a harder journey for us but persistence is key. The barriers are: 1) you’re women, 2) you’re women of colour, 3) you’re working in the women’s health space. But things are changing, so hopefully at some point you’ll stop being over mentored and start raising some sterling instead.

Is there anything you would’ve done differently on your journey so far?

You need to work out how to hire well. One of the things we learnt was to hire slowly and with intent - but fire fast if things don’t go well. Being first time founders it’s really hard to do that. The biggest lesson is that persistence is the key. The one thing that hasn’t changed is that even though the product and service has evolved, the mission statement has always stayed the same. We wanted to create access and to democratise women’s health. And as long as you always stay true to that then you’re on the right path.

Where do you hope to be in five years?

I would hope that the Syrona platform is in the hands of millions, that it’s synonymous with women’s health and everyone will know what Syrona stands for. That’s the dream, to be a British company that has taken it a lot further and become a global brand for women’s health.

How are you feeling about the next funding round?

A lot more confident actually. Because the numbers don’t lie right? The seed round is always the hardest - which is what we just went through - the next round is more about numbers and the quality of the product so we’re feeling more confident.

The Short Stack

With a little help from Amazon Web Services CTO Program, start-up Syrona is on a mission to change the women's healthcare landscape.

By Isobel Van Dyke

More from Business