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Oto, a Healthtech startup, raises £2.8 million to digitally help Tinnitus patients

Oto, a startup developing digital solutions to help with tinnitus, has closed an oversubscribed seed investment of $3.3m (£2.78m).

Tinnitus is a medical condition affecting the ears. A continuous ringing or buzzing sound that originates in the ears is the predominant symptom of tinnitus. Oto thinks that even though the disorder affects one in seven individuals worldwide, not enough is being done to control it.

“As a chronic condition that is not well understood and has no known cure, the impact of tinnitus can be far-reaching for those affected by it, which makes this raise incredibly important to us,” said co-founder Dr Ed Farrar.

Farrar, along with co-founder Dr George Leidig, lives with tinnitus, which inspired the creation of Oto in 2019. The most effective treatment for tinnitus is therapy-based, in which patients learn to cope with the condition because there is no known cure. Through its mobile app, Oto offers psychological support over the internet. 

“Achieving an oversubscribed round at any time is a huge achievement and something we’re immensely proud of,” added Farrar. “However, against the backdrop of the investment downturn, founding teams have to be more intentional about how funding is used.”

A wider economic crisis and rising interest rates have made it difficult for startups to obtain funding. The Oto team, though, is certain that it can manage its finances well.

“This means doubling down on achieving precision product-market fit to accelerate towards profitability by ensuring that the products we’re developing directly address the needs of what is an incredibly underserved community,” Farrar said.

The seed investment came from Octopus Ventures and follows a £510,000 pre-seed round from Y Combinator in January.

Kamran Adle, an investor at Octopus Ventures, said: “Tinnitus is a condition that they have little choice but to ‘learn to live with’. The Oto team, however, refuse to habituate and instead are providing a 10x cheaper and more convenient way to help people manage their condition.”

Oto is an inspiring startup that will help a lot of people living with Tinnitus. I’m certain this company will continue to succeed in its endeavours. Best of wishes to the entire team at Oto.

Shishir Gupta, Founder and CEO, StartupLanes

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