My team and I started Maven three years ago as a scrappy group of healthcare outsiders with a big mission of better supporting the female patient and her family.

We saw firsthand the gaps in care that women face, particularly around access to birth control, fertility treatment, and pregnancy and postpartum care. We also saw that the “user experience” in healthcare — that is, what it feels like for an actual patient getting care — far too frequently is not the core focus of the system. As a result, patients are commonly left frustrated, dissatisfied, and deeply unheard.

These challenges still drive us. What’s changed, as Maven has grown and matured as a company, is that we have now mapped our path through the healthcare system’s tangle of bureaucracy, powerful interests, and misaligned incentives — and toward revitalizing the patient-provider relationship and putting power back with the individual.

We have also now raised over $15M, including a recent $10.8M Series A funding round. This funding has brought amazing new people to our team, advisory board, and board of directors, incredible new clients offering Maven to their employees, and has catalyzed partnerships with practitioners and medical practices strongly aligned with our mission.

Now, with our latest round of funding as fuel, we will be focusing on three main areas going forward:

First, we will build on a current point of strength in continuing to work with the best practitioners

Our vetted network of Maven Practitioners is, undeniably, the backbone of Maven. These remarkable individuals — now 1,000 of them — have dedicated their time, energy, and expertise to help us deliver exceptional healthcare. The stories of compassion from our Maven Practitioners are incredible: One pulled over to the side of a road and took a video call with a patient who desperately needed a UTI prescription; another helped a patient solve seven years of bladder issues on a 20-minute video appointment; a third took time out of her own vacation to counsel a new mom through postpartum anxiety in a series of video appointments.

These are just a tiny number of examples. We’ve served nearly 100,000 patients on our marketplace since launching the business in 2015. What keeps our patients coming back is a trust that, at Maven, you can always count on committed, caring, and personable practitioners who will go well out of their way to help you. We’re now not just able to deliver great digital care, but we’re helping patients find high quality practitioners in-person as well. For instance, we’re able to facilitate connections to patients’ local OB-GYN practices that have low C-section rates, and just as importantly, high patient satisfaction ratings on Maven. We carefully screen for excellence when we accept new practitioners (we turn away the majority of applicants). It is incredibly fulfilling to see the impact our providers have and the deep relationships they develop with their patients both on and offline.

Second, we are going big with our enterprise platform, Maven Maternity — and continuing to partner with companies to bring Maven to their employees

Before Maven even launched as a consumer platform, we started talking to employers to understand how best to help them deliver great healthcare to their employees. We heard that maternity was one of the top costs for self-insured employers — nearly 1 out of 2 babies born in the US are on corporate health plans — and that employee retention was a huge problem. To be exact, 43% of women leave their job after having a baby — yet many of these women say they would prefer to stay in their jobs but are anxious about transitioning back to work. Sub-standard postpartum care in the US and the lack of support specifically around returning to work both play a role here. There was no platform in the market to address these issues. So we built one.

In early 2016, we rolled out Maven Maternity to our first clients: a 15-month pregnancy, postpartum, and return-to-work program that top employers are now offering as a benefit to their employees. The cornerstone of this program, again, has been our network. Not only do members get on-demand access to Maven Practitioners, but our practitioner network has actively helped us shape the program to be as effective as possible. Maven OB-GYNs and Nurse Practitioners helped create our C-Section reduction protocols and high-risk case management. One of our fertility doctors, from the Colorado Center for Reproductive Medicine (CCRM), helped craft our new fertility program. And Maven’s back-to-work coaches directly designed the manager workshops we now offer clients to make their work environments better for new parents.

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Third, we will continue to listen to our patients and evolve with and for them

Women’s health is an area where everyone seems to have an opinion. Unfortunately, this dynamic has often led to inertia in creating systems that fail to deliver the most effective care to women — particularly when it comes to reproductive and mental health.

Ninety percent of new moms on our platform have reported separation anxiety when they return to work. Thousands of college women turn to Maven for birth control prescriptions, reporting that they’re too afraid to go to their impersonal campus health centers. One of our patients recently told us that more than anything, Maven “validated” her while she was pregnant, because she didn’t want to seem too high-maintenance in her needs, but at the same time, she wasn’t able to be effective at work or at home without more support.

During my own pregnancy, I had an amazing 24 hours in the labor & delivery ward, but a horrible 24 hours in the postpartum ward, where I checked out early, having gotten hasty — and, it turned out, incorrect — advice on basic topics like breastfeeding and postpartum anxiety. I used Maven nearly every day in the first two weeks after having my son.

One of the areas we’re building out further, at the request of our patients, is our patient communities that enable women to support each other in challenging moments. Ultimately, this ties back to our overall goals of enabling Maven patients to be their own advocates, with the support of both our practitioner network and other women like them.

If it’s possible, I am even more mission driven today than when I started. Industries like transport and retail have seen incredible innovation, and we will soon have self-driving cars and drones delivering toothpaste. And yet as a system we still haven’t figured out how to offer accessible support to a woman grieving a miscarriage.

The healthcare system requires urgent reform. Often lost in the discussion, however, is that reform will almost certainly need to come, disproportionately, from women. Women, as consumers of healthcare, drive 80% of all healthcare decisions. Women also make up 80% of all healthcare providers. And yet, amazingly, it is the female voice that is too commonly lost in this debate. At the highest level, this is what Maven intends to change.

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