Investing & Startups| October 1, 2018
Maven raises money to make better healthcare available for working mothers
$27 million more will be used on the development of Maven, a digital health company that strives to offer women and families access to better healthcare. The money was raised during a series B funding round and announced September 26th. Sequoia Capital and Oak HC/FT led the round, with the help of previous investors, Spring Mountain Capital, 14W, and Female Founders Fund.
How will Maven use the new money?
Maven now has total funding of $42 million to help further develop its flagship product, Maven’s Family Benefits platform. This addresses issues that mothers and families could face when trying to have a baby, from fertility problems to postnatal care. Among other projects, the money will help the company introduce a breastmilk shipping service in its return-to-work care products.
The goal is to provide working mothers and parents with more targeted support when they go back to work, so they can successfully focus on working, while knowing their children are receiving the best possible care.
Supporting parents when they return to work might prove essential in ensuring they return sooner after the child is born, and remain within the same company.
Parents who lack the necessary support at their place of work, often decide to change employers if they are able to find better understanding and more flexibility elsewhere.
In other cases, mothers might choose to remain at home with their children, instead of returning to work – especially if they don’t feel their needs and those of their children will be successfully met.
The new service, combined with the existing Maven healthcare platform, will provide more working mothers and parents with the support they need to comfortably and successfully return to work.
How Maven came to be and its intended market
Many startups have been born out of frustration. Maven’s founders felt the healthcare system did not provide any or enough of the care they needed. In 2014, Kate Ryder, a former journalist for the New Yorker and mother of two, founded Maven to help fix that problem.
It was the first women’s digital health platform, and was mainly intended to provide women, but also parents, in the larger sense, access to better healthcare and the support that would motivate them to return to work after a child came into their lives.
According to Maven, more than 40 percent of American women who give birth leave the workforce. In some cases, it is a personal choice, but in most, necessity chooses for them.
Either employers don’t provide necessary support, or health plans and healthcare providers fail to do so, or all of them combined appear to work against the new parent.
Whichever might be the case, the reality is that women comprise nearly half of the labor force in the U.S., and gender diverse companies outperform their competition by 15 percent.
However, senior female leadership is at less than 25 percent and women workers, on average, earn 80.5 percent of what their male colleagues earn. This makes it more difficult for women to become working mothers, resulting in a less diverse workforce.
More significantly, women usually feel less important in the household, if they don’t bring money into it. Frustration then sets in, sometimes deepening postpartum depression and contributing to strain on the couple.
“In a system that desperately needs reform, focusing on the core patient – women – and starting with the core experience of millennials starting families, is critical,” said Kate Ryder, CEO and founder of Maven. “This is the beginning of long-overdue change in our healthcare system, and in society at large. At Maven, we’re just getting started.”
A startup funded for women, run by women and focused on women
Sequoia partner Jess Lee and Oak HC/FT partner Nancy Brown will join the Maven board after this financing round. Jess Lee has made her fifth investment since joining the venture capital firm as its first female investing partner in the U.S. in late 2016. This time, she invests in Maven, a digital health startup funded for women, run by women, and focused on women. It is easy to understand why all the women who recently joined in this venture seem so enthusiastic.
“There are so few companies out there tackling hard-to-solve women’s health challenges that are founded by women. Maven has done an amazing job creating a healthcare solution that helps give women the support they need at work,” Jess Lee said. “I’m excited to collaborate with Kate and the Maven team to usher in an era of modern health services for today’s working families.”
“In an economy where unemployment is low and competition for talent is fierce, companies can’t afford to lose experienced, accomplished women due to a lack of available healthcare options and services,” said Annie Lamont, co-founder and managing partner of Oak HC/FT.
“Maven is offering services that are a win for working women, a win for their families, a win for employers and a win for the global economy,” said Nancy Brown, partner with Oak HC/FT. “By providing outstanding fertility, maternity and return-to-work support, Maven can help close the gap and encourage a more diverse workforce.”
The company’s products are parent-oriented
According to an article by Kate Ryder, Maven works with global companies that employ from 200 to 200,000+ people. In the last year, the company has grown 14x, serving more than 150,000 patients, in 166 countries.
Maven is a means to access the knowledge of vetted OB-GYNs, therapists, career coaches and other professionals. It gives companies more and more insight into how they can create a better environment for working parents. Maven helps them offer employee benefits that could prove game changers when employees choose where they want to work. The platform includes adoption, IVF and return-to-work benefits. Maven provides medical practitioners with the modern tools they need to better support patients and clients for the next level kind of care.
Companies have only recently started to understand and acknowledge the importance of maternity benefits, which also expand after women return to work.
IBM began offering the service since 2014, along with Twitter in 2015, and last month, Goldman Sachs became the first company in the UK to extend the benefit-branch. Employers such as Snap, Cleary, Protective Life, and Bumble currently offer Maven’s services to their employees.