Throughout our Women Supporting Women series, we’ll be introducing you to trailblazers who make other women’s lives better. Meet our very first – Kate Ryder, the Founder and CEO of Maven, a digital health platform created especially for women.
Devorah: Tell us about Maven Clinic?
Kate: Maven is a women’s health company. We have a network of a thousand health providers all specializing in women’s healthcare -- from pediatricians and nurse practitioners to mental health providers and lactation consultants. Created to make women’s lives easier, it’s really simple. You can use our app or website to book a video appointment or just text, all from the comfort of your home, whenever you want. Individuals usually pay as they go. Costs can range from $18 for a 10-minute appointment with a nurse practitioner to $70 for a 40-minute appointment with a mental health specialist.
Our corporate benefits platform, Maven Maternity, is program for companies that lasts up to 15-months, ensuring best-in-class maternity benefits for employees during pregnancy, postpartum, and return-to-work. That specialized support is hard to get. Whether it's mental health, woman’s health, on-demand pediatrics, sleep coaching, or breastfeeding help, we have on-demand appointments and resources in one place. We also have supporting tracks around fertility, loss, adoption, and surrogacy, as well as services for partners and dads.
Devorah: What can a digital platform provide that traditional health care can't?
Kate: Connecting patients and providers directly is a great experience for both of them. A physical therapist can have location independence and provide high quality care for a woman in New York City over video, and there’s no dealing with the paperwork and bureaucracy that comes with working in a clinic. That's why providers go into medicine, right? It’s to help patients, and we make it easier for them to provide supportive care as well.
Devorah: Amazing. What did you do before you created Maven and what inspired you to create it?
Kate: I was a journalist, and then I worked in venture capital. I started covering the digital health sector in the venture capital world. It was crazy to see the ways that women dominate the healthcare industry as consumers and as providers, yet the female patient experience is so broken. I thought, "Wow, there's a huge opportunity here to build a product by women for women.” So that's what we did.
Devorah: How did you bring your vision to life?
Kate: As a former journalist, naturally the first thing I did was start talking to as many women’s and family health providers as I could, as well as patients, to understand the market and how we could improve it. What we heard was a need for “access,” particularly in areas that aren't well covered, like treating postpartum depression or helping a woman physically recover from childbirth, as well as combating some of the misinformation available online.
Women are the primary consumers of healthcare, so much of the dysfunction of healthcare was falling on their shoulders, including everything from finding the right providers and booking those appointments to getting prescriptions, from finding specialty care to taking care of their family's health. This was around the time that telemedicine (the ability to remotely diagnose and treat patients via telecommunication technology) was gaining steam, but just to access primary care providers, not specialists like OB-GYNs. So we started building a network and launched in April 2015.
Devorah: How does Maven help support women, whether they're working, stay-at-home moms or even in college?
Kate: With Maven, you can get birth control prescriptions, you can talk to a pediatrician in ten minutes. I talked to a Maven pediatrician the other night at 10pm about something that was going on with my son. We’re making healthcare easier and more convenient, especially for uniquely female care. For example, a woman dealing with grief around a miscarriage can connect with one of our mental health providers that specialize in pregnancy loss and infertility. It's not just about the convenience and the access and the price, but it's also about filling the gaps in coverage that impact women.
Devorah: What kind of support do you get from other women and how has that influenced you?
Kate: I get endless support from women. Whether it's my mother, my grandmother, my aunt, my friends, even my female investors. One thing that's fairly different than a lot of other healthcare companies, I think, is that I have a lot of female investors and an all-female board, and they're all amazing champions of Maven. When you're an entrepreneur and a young mom, all you need is support. I'm never afraid to pick up the phone and call someone if I don't know the answer to something. And in my own company, I'm always telling women to raise their hand to ask for stuff. One of the women on my team is pregnant and she told me really early, at like five weeks, and it was hugs like family. I like to think that they feel very supported in their environment.