After many successful years at some of the top tech firms in the U.S. like Uber, eBay and WeWork, partners Luca Gualco and Alex Suvacioglu turned their attention to adult incontinence, an issue Gualco had been aware of since he was a young boy—his grandmother was a sufferer.
“When we started looking for a new idea nearly three years ago, senior citizens were a top priority,” Gualco says. “This is a population that is often ignored. We both had family members who had incontinence…my grandmother had it.”
While he cannot deny that the products currently available from multinational brands like First Quality, Procter & Gamble and Kimberly-Clark are effective, Gualco has noticed a lack of innovation in the market. After interviewing seniors citizens and incontinence sufferers on their opinion of current product offerings, he found several problems with the marketplace.
“The first problem they had was sizing—the current range of sizes did not fit people who were very big or very small. The second was they did not feel that companies were listening to what they want or need,” he adds.
Because was able to determine the shortcomings of the current marketplace through a call center, through which the company interviewed upwards of 80 people per day, giving them constant feedback.
This information allowed Gualco and Suvacioglu, with the help of Stanford University researchers, to develop an adult incontinence product line that is 35% more absorbent than any other product in the market and fits a wider range of body sizes.
And, recognizing that the needs of an incontinence suffer can vary between day and night or even from day to day, Because has based its subscription model and a multi-product box so users can vary their product styles based on their needs.
“Incontinence is a journey—a person goes out during the day and may they want a light pad but at night may they need something with a bit more absorbency,” Gualco says. We are building different products together because incontinence cannot be serviced with just one product.”
Customer feedback has also led to many product adjustments since Because engineers started developing adult inco products a few years ago. While fit and absorbency are the main factors in gauging a users’ comfort, other elements, like Lycra, can be influential. For example if the pull of Lycra is too strong, particulary in heavier wearers, it can irritate or even cut the skin. Meanwhile, in its light incontinence products, Because was sure to engineer lower weight products with faster strike through so the product would not leak or sag.
“People are very quick to welcome new options. They are thirsty for innovation and they are always looking for something new. They don’t want just a bigger baby diaper. They want underwear that doesn’t feel like a diaper,” Gualco explains.