Healthtech startup Oto raises £2.8m to digitally support tinnitus patients

Oto tinnitus

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. The main symptom of tinnitus is a persistent ringing or buzzing sound that comes from within the ears. While the condition affects one in seven people globally, Oto believes not enough is being done to manage 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.

There is no accepted cure for tinnitus and so the best-recommended treatment is therapy-based where patients learn to live with it. Oto provides psychological support digitally via its mobile app.

“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.”

Startups have been finding it harder to come by capital amid rising interest rates and a wider economic downturn. However, the Oto team is confident it can spend its money wisely.

“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.”