Axios Pro Exclusive Content

Exclusive: Tiny Health digests $9M Series A for baby gut health

an illustration of a baby bottle full of milk with dollar signs next to the measurement lines

Illustration: Tiffany Herring/Axios

Infant microbiome testing startup Tiny Health raised $8.5 million in Series A funding, CEO Cheryl Sew Hoy tells Axios exclusively.

Why it matters: The gut microbiome, which impacts overall health, is established in infancy, and research suggests babies' guts are more responsive to intervention.

Zoom in: Spero Ventures led the round. TheVentureCity, Overwater VC, Next Coast Ventures, and Peterson Ventures joined.

  • Funds will fuel Tiny Health's research, including two in-progress studies, and its work on B2B deals including co-branded partnerships with CPG companies such as supplement makers and diaper businesses.
  • Sew Hoy says the Series A will last the company "a few years." Should Tiny raise again, she anticipates a Series B in 2027.

How it works: The Austin-based company sells home gut microbiome tests for babies, children, pregnant people and adults, plus vaginal microbiome tests, for $199 to $249.

  • The tests use shotgun genetic sequencing, a more advanced form of genetic sequencing than that offered by standard PCR methods.

The big picture: Questions remain about the best strategies for maintaining a healthy microbiome — the condition of which fluctuates based on age, environmental stressors, infections and seasonal nutrient availability.

The backstory: A mother of two, Sew Hoy created Tiny as she looked to avoid some of the microbiome issues tied to C-section birth.

What they're saying: "Tiny's commitment to being honest about where the science is, having products they've vetted themselves, and making recommendations where they really important," says Spero Ventures partner and Tiny investor Sara Eshelman.

  • "The longer term vision is Tiny Health as a household name for the microbiome," says Sew Hoy, adding that Tiny wants to help "supplement companies improve their products."

One fun thing: The "tiny" in Tiny Health isn't just a reference to small humans; rather, it also refers to the tiny microbes populating our gut.

State of play: Despite some notable flame-outs including the 2019 collapse of buzzy microbiome test company uBiome, microbiome testing companies have continued to secure venture backing.

Go deeper