by Angela Priestley
There’s a new unicorn in town and this time it covers a space that’s typically been underserved in the entrepreneurial and tech startup world: women’s and family health.
This startup, Maven Clinic, was founded by Katherine Ryder in 2014, to offer an on-demand virtual clinic dedicated to women’s and family healthcare services, including pregnancy and postpartum care.
It has just raised an additional $110 million in late-stage financing which gives it the $1 billion valuation, marking a record first in the maternal health space, according to Stat News.
And it has a number of high profile investors involved, including Oprah Winfrey joining this latest round, following previous big-name celebrity backers like Mindy Kaling, Natalie Portman and Reese Witherspoon.
Announcing their newfound $1 billion valuation, Maven noted that well before COVID-19, women’s and family health was “already riddled with inequity”.
They quote figures showing that 50% of US counties do not have a single obstetrician available, as well as racial gaps in fertility, maternity and pediatric care. They also highlight the lack of financial support for LGBTQI+ families.
Ryder explains in the announcement how her parenting journey started the same way as so many others, with a miscarriage. “An experience that left me feeling discouraged, and confused why something so painful and physically taxing was considered outside the bounds of traditional healthcare.”
Now with three children, Ryder says that each pregnancy presented its own challenges — all of which has seen her become the biggest critic of the very product she’s created with Maven, constantly asking if its enough to ensure families have the support they need for the wide range of issues people face.
“With this in mind, Maven built the largest and most diverse network of practitioners in our category, representing more than 30 specialties and 350 subspecialties across women’s and family health, to ensure we could meet our patients’ needs, any time, anywhere.
“Whether a member needs an egg donor consultant, maternal mental health provider, genetic counselor or a lactation consultant, Maven supports them.”
Ryder also highlights the diversity of their network.
“Our practitioners look like the patients we serve, with 40% identifying as BIPOC, and speaking more than 30 languages.”
With this latest round and new unicorn status, Ryder says Maven is breaking new ground on this type of heathcare, and will further build on their “patient-first approach”.
With backers like Oprah Winfrey and a new unicorn status to boot, this startup is clearly on to a good thing.