In 2022 health care startup maven became the first unicorn in the femtech sector after raising more than $250 million from a high-profile list of investors including Oprah Winfrey, Natalie Portman and Reese Witherspoon. The company provides virtual clinic services for women and families in multiple areas such as fertility, maternity and newborn care, pediatrics and menopause, and also provides financial help and mental health support. It has more than 15 million members in over 175 countries.
Maven is end-to-end. “You can enjoy that continuity of care no matter what path you take,” said Kate Ryder, CEO. “For example, we are currently supporting a woman in London who has signed up for our fertility path. About eight weeks into the pregnancy she suffered a pregnancy loss and now she is back on our fertility path and we are helping her with cross-border egg donation between Spain and the UK.”
The startup was founded in 2014 by Ryder, then an employee of venture capital firm Index Ventures in London. “I was doing digital health at the time and the only thing everyone was trying to crack was patient engagement,” she recalls. “But a lot of the consumers of these companies were women at the time and nobody really cared about their health.”
Unfortunately, even today, the data shows that women’s health care is still largely neglected. Just consider that one in five women suffer from postpartum depression but are not receiving the mental health support they need, or that four out of five women who visit their doctor to discuss menopause are not receiving the care they need according to the British Department of Health and Social Care study.
This is the gender health gap Ryder wants to close. According to her, Maven offers more than 6,000 appointments each week, with members typically getting appointments in under an hour and the opportunity to be matched with their favorite experts. Last year, Maven published peer-reviewed studies in the medical journal The lancet This proves the effectiveness of their model: For example, patients who met a virtual gynecologist saw a 4.2-fold decrease in emergency department visits, while first-time mothers using Maven’s maternity care programs saw a 27 percent decrease in C- section fares. “We ran objective failure analysis to really see if a virtual model was affecting the results,” says Ryder. “We see that the magic happens when we put all the pieces together.”
This article will appear in the July/August 2023 issue of WIRED UK magazine.