Maven Clinic Can Improve Women’s Health With Hit Deal: VC

Startups that provide healthcare to women are gain ground among venture capitalists.

But the space still needs more blockbuster deals to really take off, Chrissy Farr, principal at OMERS Ventures, told Business Insider in an interview. Not many women’s health companies have gone public, Farr said, and those that have, thanks to the market downturn, have seen their valuations cut in half, according to a recent Silicon Valley Bank report.

Investors rely on “exits” like initial public offerings when determining valuations of similar companies, Farr said. So the lack of compelling data on that front is helping to hold back the women’s health category overall, she said.

“Depressed valuations keep the IPO window locked,” the authors of the SVB report wrote.

Maven, a startup that provides care to women and families over the Internet, is the highest-valued women’s health company at $1.35 billion, the SVB authors said. With a great business and a great team, many people are looking to Maven for a breakout, and Farr thinks the company has potential for an IPO, she said, without specifying a timetable. If something like this goes well, it could represent a landmark event proving that these businesses can work, she added.

“If they do well, it will have a trickle-down effect on everyone else,” she said. “And if they don’t do well, then we have some big questions to answer.”

Above the text, she added that those questions could include: “How can we find business models that can solve the problem? “Should we get closer to the incumbents?” Battle in political circles?”

The authors of SVB echoed Farr’s prediction, saying Maven could aim to roll out “in the not-so-distant future.” Kindbody, another women’s health unicorn, could be another contender. Its management team has been vocal for its IPO ambitions.

Kate Ryder, founder and CEO of Maven Clinic.

Kate Ryder, founder and CEO of Maven Clinic.

Maven Clinic



Women’s health, long neglected by venture capitalists, is gaining traction

Historically, investment in women’s health has lagged behind other parts of health care.

One contributing factor is this mostly male investors have long viewed the space as niche, although women represent approx half population and use More ▼ health care from men, Farr said.

Another factor may be the composition of the management teams of the companies themselves. More than 76 percent of women’s health startups have at least one female co-founder, the SVB report said. Meanwhile, only 2% of venture dollars go to companies founded solely by women.

Farr said women’s health firms also tend to face common struggles, such as trying to get paid by insurance to prevent medical complications instead of just treating them, and dealing with overwhelmed providers who specialize in obstetrics and gynecology. gynecology.

But funding for women’s health — which is on track to reach $1.7 billion this year — has more than tripled since 2018, the SVB said. While the number of deals in the sector is down about 12% year-to-date, that slowdown is mild compared to the broader VC landscape, the report said.

Kindbody CEO Gina Bartasi

Kindbody CEO Gina Bartasi

Courtesy of Kindbody



Funding for women’s health isn’t just increasing. It also diversifies.

To date, investors in the space have put the most money into startups focused on pregnancy-related care, such as infertility treatments, SVB said.

Yet investors are increasingly aware of the fact that women have health needs beyond their ability to reproduce. This year saw record funding for non-reproductive women’s health companies, the report said.

For example, menopause investment is on track to set a funding record this year after doubling between 2021 and 2022, the SVB said.

According to the report, what constitutes women’s health in the first place is constantly evolving. Maven and Kindbody have recently expanded into mental health care, SVB said. Although mental health care is relevant for all genders, women have various unmet needs.

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