CNBC Disruptor 50

19. Maven Clinic

Founder: Kate Ryder (CEO)
Launched: 2014
Headquarters: New York City
Funding:
$202 million
Valuation: $1 billion
Key technologies:
N/A
Industry:
Health care
Previous appearances on Disruptor 50 List: 0

Persephone Kavallines

Maven is the largest virtual clinic for women's and family health, and as of last August, it also became the first female-focused health start-up valued at over $1 billion, or so-called unicorn status.

Offering technology-based care for fertility, pregnancy, and parenting, Maven has grown quickly from a service that in its early days was popular with college students seeking quick telehealth advice, to a scalable digital health program now being used by large employers and health plans.

As with many emerging technologies in the health-care space focused on bridging the gap between digital and the patient as a consumer, Covid-19 accelerated the uptake and acceptance of Maven's business model, even if the premise for the business was in place from well before the pandemic. 

"We saw it in the fact that 50% of U.S. counties were without a single OB-GYN. We saw it in galling racial disparities across fertility, maternity, and pediatric care. We saw it in the lack of financial support for LGBTQ+ family building. And, in the U.S., the richest country in the world, we saw it in the highest maternal mortality rate in the industrialized world," Maven founder and CEO Kate Ryder wrote in a blog post at the time of its big fundraise.

While the company is female-led and puts women and families first in its business model, it is important to note that its disruptive approach ultimately results in a Maven member base that is 40% male.

Over the past year, Maven has added 100 new clients, including five of the Fortune 15 companies, one of them being Microsoft. Among existing clients, which include L'Oreal, 50% expanded their use of Maven services last year as it invested in new programs, including enhanced care management for high-risk patients, a service to match patients with providers of the same background (race, ethnicity, sexual identity, religion, etc.) and MavenRx, which focuses on managing the cost and complexity of fertility medications.

The August 2021 historic $110 million in Series D funding was co-led by Dragoneer and Lux, but Maven has also attracted the interest of powerful, successful American women. Oprah Winfrey joined the round, adding to Maven's roster of celebrity backers, which includes Mindy Kaling, Natalie Portman, and Reese Witherspoon.

The round was more than just a milestone for Maven – female founders received just 2% of all U.S. venture capital funding in 2021.

Female health tech — also referred to as femtech — is gaining traction. Fertility company Progyny, a three-time CNBC Disruptor 50 company, has grown to a valuation of roughly $4 billion as a public company and has doubled in value since its first trade in 2019. And despite the fact that women-founded firms still receive an inequitable share of venture investment, 2021 was a breakout year for femtech specifically, according to a PitchBook report, with global venture capital investment surpassing $1 billion for the first time. 

With its recent funding, Maven is focusing on reaching new populations, including Medicaid, which is responsible for paying for nearly half of all U.S. births. 

Like many start-up founders, Ryder's determination to create Maven came partially as a result of personal experience, in her case medical frustration and trauma. A miscarriage left her feeling "lost, discouraged, and confused why something so painful and physically taxing was considered outside the bounds of traditional healthcare," she wrote in a post.

Now a mother of three, she has had a newborn in the natal intensive care unit, a painful recovery from a C-section, and describes herself as the "biggest critic" of Maven products.

The company boasts work on behalf of over 10 million families across 30-plus medical specialties, and is adding more employers at a time of return-to-work for many caregivers. Whether a new parent navigating return-to-office, the same-sex couple seeking adoption; women suffering from fertility issues; or institutional biases in the current health system, Ryder sees a similar underrepresented community problem to be solved.

"For all of these patients, and countless others, digital health offers a way to be seen, heard, and supported," Ryder stated.

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