Two female-led startups, both with platforms assisting women with health care, announced investments Thursday aimed at expanding their offerings to help as many women as possible.
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When Carolyn Witte and Jeni Mayorskaya sought answers to questions related to their reproductive health, they not only found the experience off-putting, but it opened up a larger discussion about women’s health care—something they decided needed a new approach.
Those discussions led both women to start their own companies: Witte and Felicity Yost started Tia in 2016, a health care platform building a new online and offline model of women’s health care. Meanwhile, Mayorskaya founded Stork Club in 2017, a maternity care platform that extends traditional insurance coverage to provide all possible options to people who want to have a baby.
Tia, headquartered in New York and San Francisco, raised $24 million in a Series A round of funding led by Threshold Ventures, with participation from Define Ventures, ACME, Torch Capital, John Doerr, Homebrew and Compound. The company last raised a $2.5 million seed round in January 2019, bringing Tia’s total raise to $32 million, according to Crunchbase data.
Witte’s background is working for Google in consumer products and search, so Tia started out as an app to help people find information in a private way.
“It was kind of like having a best friend who went to medical school, but could translate the information in a way that speaks like a 29-year-old while also teaching you,” Witte told Crunchbase News.
Within the first few months the app was available, Tia hosted 200,000 conversations, she said. It was in those early years they also learned that not all women’s health care related to sexual or reproductive health, but included all types.
“Women wanted Tia to be their doctor,” Witte said. “That’s when we built the second part of our platform for doctors, so our users could follow their care journey online and offline.”
Tia also went a step further and opened its first clinic in New York in March 2019. A little over a year later, the clinic has 3,000 patients and is a one-stop shop for women, providing multispecialty physicians and evidence-based care providers, such as nutritionists and acupuncture, Witte said.
The company is also providing that new standard of care for women at a 40 percent lower cost, which led the company to secure financing, she said.
The new funding will go toward bringing its clinic’s standard of care for women to new markets, expanding the service and virtual care models, and creating new partnerships with service providers and health systems so that care can be more affordable, she said.
“It’s all about taking Tia from a proven concept to a mass-market concept,” Witte said. “Now we will make this the new standard of care for women everywhere.”
While researching options for having a baby, Mayorskaya learned that maternity care was the single-largest health care cost for most employers, at $130 billion a year, she said.
“A vast majority of large employers pay for health care directly from their balance sheets,” Mayorskaya told Crunchbase News. “Essentially, it is like they are running health care businesses in tandem to their core business.”
Maternity costs are driven by what she calls “million-dollar babies:” births of multiple babies and premature babies who often spend time in the neonatal intensive care unit. In vitro fertilization methods often result in twins or triplets, she said.
Stork Club is changing the paradigm by partnering directly with the best doctors and a new IVF model to incentivize doctors for better outcomes and lower costs, Mayorskaya said. The company already helps reduce costs by 15 percent, she added.
It also partners with employers to add better maternity coverage to their traditional health care plans, providing coverage and support during all stages of the family journey, even providing users with out-of-pocket care information.
“We help have a family on your terms and save companies millions of dollars,” she added. “We are not just an app company, but the next generation of maternity care with better outcomes and reduced costs for employers.”
The seed round will be used to introduce and educate more employers about changing their maternity care offerings. That change and transparency are things Loren Straub, principal at Bowery Capital, said is missing in health care right now.
“Jeni gets that, helps employers with an approach that is more beneficial to their employees and their bottom line,” Straub said. “This creates a business opportunity that also reduces costs and stands them apart from competitors.”
Illustration: Li-Anne Dias
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