Maven, women-focused health startup, is booming in post-Roe world

Women account for half of consumers, hold power over 80% of household financial decisions and make 70% of health-care-related decisions in their families – but their access to proper health care often comes up short. 

Especially in the post-Roe world, women are increasingly turning to their employers for proper health-care benefits for themselves and their families. Maven Clinic, a virtual women and family clinic, is allowing companies to offer their employees an extensive online network of fertility, pregnancy, adoption, parenting and pediatrics services.

“With our platform, patients have access to all these different types of care providers – adoption coach, surrogacy coach, OBGYN, midwife, doula – they can get quick support within 10, 20 minutes as well as talk to people they trust who share their lived experiences,” Kate Ryder, CEO and founder of Maven Clinic, told CNBC reporter Leslie Picker at the CNBC Work Summit on Wednesday. “Our care advocates are helping them navigate the benefits or the laws and ask whether their health plans have done anything to add them in this new and changed landscape.”

Ryder’s goal for Maven is to put women first when it comes to their health care, filling any gaps they may experience. It’s the largest virtual platform for women’s and family services.

“Women’s health and family health has always been underserved,” Ryder said.

Since Ryder founded Maven Clinic in 2014, the company has raised more than $200 million and was valued at $1 billion after its most recent round of funding in August 2021, making it the first female-focused health startup to reach this milestone. Its services have helped support more than 15 million members in over 175 countries, and the platform supports over 30 provider specialties in 30 provider languages. Maven Clinic was ranked No. 19 on the 2022 CNBC Disruptor 50 list.

Since the Supreme Court overturning Roe v. Wade in June, the company saw a 67% increase in opportunities from companies looking for travel benefits, as well as other health-care support for pregnant women.

Ryder said Maven Clinic was anticipating the overturning of Roe v. Wade after SB-8 in Texas in 2021, which banned virtually all abortions and health care relating to abortions after six weeks.

“Because we’re in the market, because we had a platform that we were able to access, we were able to jump up and step up with our products,” Ryder said. 

Maven Clinic has experienced a broader increase in demand for its products over the past two years amid a pandemic and tight labor market, which she attributed to the accessibility of its virtual platform as well as its outspoken support of health equity.

Amid the Great Resignation, more companies are adding fertility benefits to their list of perks to remain competitive as part of diversity, equity and inclusion efforts. Services like in vitro fertilization (IVF) treatment are offered at 42% of large employers in the U.S. and 27% of small employers as of 2020, and 19% of large employers and 11% of small employers offered egg freezing. 

In addition, 80% of people say they look at a company’s DEI efforts when considering an employer, and 40% of people would be willing to switch jobs if they feel their employer does not prioritize reproductive rights, according to Ryder.

“All the major medical associations have come out … saying this is a health access issue, a health-care issue,” Ryder said. “It’s also just the right thing to do – to make sure that your families, at a time when they’re really vulnerable, are getting all the right access and support.”

The Covid-19 pandemic has also disproportionately affected communities of lower economic status and people of color, making their ability to find proper care more difficult. 

In the pandemic’s wake, there has also been an exodus of women employees, as well as women leaders who have left their companies and switched jobs at some of the highest rates seen in years. The number of women currently in the workforce is similar to numbers from the 1980s, reversing decades of progress.

“If you are a business trying to grow your bottom line, it’s about the people,” Ryder said. “It’s about health equity and how, for instance, if you have a big virtual care platform, it is easier to actually really tackle this, because you have a chance to have a provider workforce.”

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