A former world-class lacrosse player, Greta Meyer is no stranger to hard work, teamwork and perseverance, just a few of the key traits that make for a great entrepreneur and Ferolyn Fellow.
Sports also led to her innovation, as she experienced first-hand the challenges of competing during her menstrual cycle and not finding an adequate solution in the products available. This led her to co-found Sequel, a startup that is developing a re-engineered tampon which promises to be comfortable and leak-proof, and that she expects to make a big impact not only on women’s health, but also the environment.
Addressing a universal, but seldom discussed, problem
Born and raised in Philadelphia, Greta relocated to California in 2015 to attend Stanford University, where she received her BS in Engineering Product Design. The major was a perfect fit for her skills and interests, as it combines mechanical engineering and design thinking, which allows her to use both creativity and problem-solving.
She also played lacrosse at Stanford, ranked among the top 15 teams in the country, for two years until an injury sidelined her. “Sports have always been a key part of my life, and I’ve learned a lot along the way,” she says. “They have a component of entrepreneurship in team management, and the underdog mentality you develop allows you to see opportunities,” she says.
The idea for Sequel, which started as a class project, came about as she saw women like herself who were performing at the top of their sports but were challenged by existing menstrual products that led to constant worry because they were inadequate in preventing leakage.
Convinced there must be a better way, she partnered with her fellow classmate Amanda Calabrese, also a top-tier athlete and lifeguard, to find a new solution. The two women developed a business and marketing plan their senior year to address this large unmet need of leakage, as well as the other problems inherent in tampons, including dryness and discomfort.
Greta and Amanda spoke with numerous athletes to investigate this taboo topic that affects all women, yet can be uncomfortable to discuss. “From the top pros to the weekend warrior, every woman struggles with these issues,” said Greta. “We believe this will be revolutionary for all women, as we all face the same challenges, whether on the field or in the office.”
Sequel finds its first act
Together they have raised a pre-seed and seed round, and the team is currently primarily focused on R&D, testing and learning more about the industry’s safety data and material science of the fibers they are using.
They are building products for testing in the UK, Ohio and now California and are in the process of submitting to the FDA. “We are really proud of the work we are doing to ensure the product is designed with thoughtfully sourced materials so the tampon is soft and comfortable as well as leak-proof,” said Greta. “We are also excited that we are developing a more sustainable solution, as this will reduce the waste that is currently taking place as many women use tampons and pads simultaneously to avoid an embarrassing leak,” she added.
The co-founders see the tampon as just the first in a line of women health’s products that need to be re-engineered for a performance upgrade.
Joining the Ferolyn Fellowship
One of Greta’s mentors at Stanford has been Eric Chehab, a Ferolyn Fellowship graduate, who helped her through many of the steps needed to advance the innovative concept. He recommended the Fellowship, which resonated with Greta as she enjoys having a space where you can freely discuss your ideas and receive input in a constructive and invigorating environment.
“In the Ferolyn Fellowship, the mentors, current fellows and graduates are eager to jump right in and get their hands dirty,” says Greta. “Eric has already been instrumental in helping us better understand the challenges that we will face and providing recommendations. I look forward to continuing to learn and innovate in the robust Fellowship environment.”
Kate Garrett, also a former graduate, serves as her mentor. “It’s incredible to have access to so many seasoned and successful professionals, like Eric and Kate, to take our company to the next level. Everyone is so invested.”
Life outside of work
Greta loves living in San Francisco and enjoying all that one of California’s premiere outdoor meccas has to offer, such as biking, hiking, backpacking and camping, to take advantage of the beautiful weather that allows for year-round activities.
About the Ferolyn Fellowship
Founded in 2015 in tribute to Ferolyn Powell, CEO of the start-up Evalve (MitraClip, Abbott Labs) and a dynamic leader in the medtech startup world. Ferolyn’s leadership journey was defined by inclusion, precision, curiosity and learning the power of leading with a whole heart. The program supports rising leaders with a strong passion and aptitude to transform healthcare. Its mission is to provide high impact, in-context mentorship that changes lives.
Participants undergo an immersive 10-month program of customized mentoring and personal development around values-based leadership, personal brand development, and guest mentors on topics such as venture funding, company pitching/storytelling, and clinical/regulatory challenges. The fellowship is run with the key support of Fogarty Innovation, which provides fellows with access to educational programming and team resources.