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Connell C - LB Mar 2022

Tinnitus start-up Oto raises $3.3m seed investment

The Oto team

London-based tinnitus-focused digital health company Oto has raised $3.3 million in seed investment after completing of the Y Combinator accelerator programme.

The oversubscribed round was led by Octopus Ventures, supported by Goodwater Capital and Y Combinator, with additional follow-on funding from Calm Storm Ventures and Bethnal Green Ventures.

Oto was founded by former military doctors Dr Edmund Farrar, Dr George Leidig, who also live with tinnitus, along with specialist registrar in ear, nose and throat surgery Dr Jameel Muzaffar.

The company stated it has built a science-backed support programme via mobile app to manage the condition.

Kamran Adle, investor at Octopus Ventures, said: “Tinnitus currently affects around 50 million people in the US and UK, of which 20 million have intrusive tinnitus, a condition that can severely impact an individual’s life. For many this 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 10-times cheaper and more convenient way to help people manage their condition. Though they probably don’t complain, we all know someone who suffers from tinnitus and have seen the effects it can have on an individual’s life. This is one of the reasons we wanted to support George, Ed and the entire Oto team as they tackle the market and provide an innovative digital solution to a long-overlooked issue.”

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

“For us, 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. We’re over the moon to be building on our experiences as part of the W22 Y Combinator programme and guided on that journey by a fantastic investor team, led by industry experts Octopus Ventures.”

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