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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 can...is 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.

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