Reinventing postpartum health for the digital age
- Why impact tech investor Unconventional Ventures invested in LEIA Health.
Each year 140 million women around the world give birth. Close to 90% experience physical and mental difficulties during their first year as a parent.
The vast majority of these new mothers go unsupported and undiagnosed through this difficult time, due to postpartum care being underserved and offline globally.
This is why we’ve invested in the Stockholm based Femtech company LEIA Health. They work to bridge the gap between the ever growing expectations of millennial parents and the experience offered by maternity health providers.
The problem with postpartum care today
Pregnancy is commonly divided into the 1st, 2nd, and 3rd trimester. Let us introduce you to the 4th trimester! It occurs when the baby is out and it lasts for three months up to a year. This is when the woman’s body heals from birth, hormones step onto a roller coaster and life is totally changed.
During each of my two pregnancies I felt informed and safe with instant access to healthcare. However the second I gave birth all the information, healthcare and support shifted to the baby leaving me feeling overwhelmed, alone and unsure of whether the symptoms I was experiencing were normal or not.
Due to the lack of information I went untreated for birth injuries for years, which had a massive effect on my mental and physical wellbeing, says LEIA Health co-founder and CPO Sandra Wirström.
This is an experience that most new mothers can strongly relate to. Since there is still shame and taboo connected to issues related to postpartum health — physical as well as psychological — which tends to lead to a hesitation to proactively seek out professional help, they risk being left alone with their symptoms.
Women (370 million of them to be precise) are already tracking several aspects of their health through apps, such as menstrual cycles, fertility and pregnancy. Postpartum is simply currently a massively underserved area.
The future of the Reproductive health market
Women’s health and wellbeing has been underfunded and under researched since the dawn of time. Looking at the segment of reproductive health, a concept that includes sexual health, fertility, and family planning, less than 2.5% of publicly funded research has been dedicated to this space. This despite the fact that one in three women will experience severe reproductive health issues in their lifetime.
The overall segment of reproductive health is estimated as a $171 billion market globally by 2027.
With healthcare shifting from Treatment to Prevention, this market is estimated to grow from $50 billion in 2019, by CAGR 11% into $84 billion by the end of 2024.
The same trend can be seen when it comes to healthcare spending. In 2019, a mere 18% was allocated towards Prevention and wellbeing — with the remaining 83% spent on Care and treatment — which is estimated to more than triple and reach 61% by 2040.
In Europe, the Femtech market at large is growing rapidly, with an increasing number of products and services designed to meet the specific needs of women.
The industry is diverse and solutions range from fertility tracking, to menstrual cycle tracking, to breast cancer detection and health monitoring. Also introducing innovative solutions for mental health, sexual health, and nutrition, among other areas.
When it comes to addressing postpartum care, the space is still to a large extent an open playing field and presents as a huge untapped market.
Given the sheer size of the target group, addressing each new mother, it has room for several potential players to establish themselves and take significant market shares.
The data driven approach to postpartum care
LEIA Health’s platform addresses postpartum in a data driven way. They provide check-ins, personalised content and important insights accessed with ease, helping women feel confident.
All knowledge is evidence-based and created by midwives, gynaecologists, breastfeeding experts, parenting coaches, physiotherapists, postnatal depression specialists, and more.
What makes LEIA Health special is also the way that they address several aspects of postpartum care in the same place.
The platform features a Postpartum health tracker, Data driven content and health insights by established experts, and Postnatal depression and pelvic dysfunction screening.
By digitalising screening models, LEIA can identify women at risk of complications at a much earlier stage and guide them to the right health care provider.
Lowering the threshold and providing easily accessible assistance to a person that might not have the time nor ability to proactively go out and seek answers to the questions they have or issues they are experiencing is a necessity.
After all, that person’s main task at hand is to care for their newborn baby, which limits their options and opportunities to find care for themselves significantly.
How we knew LEIA Health & Unconventional Ventures were a good match
Nora and Thea are a driving force in the new generation of tech impact investors and we knew early on that they would be a perfect fit for us. UV’s unwavering passion for creating positive change in the world, in combination with their experience investing in impact startups, makes them a very valuable partner to have on this journey, says Astrid Gyllenkrok Kristensen, LEIA Health co-founder and CEO.
We got to know the founding team behind LEIA Health and their vision when they joined our UV Accelerator program. Already from the start it was obvious that the founders understood the problem in depth and had a clear idea of the type of solution they wanted to build, says UV General partner Thea Messel and continues,
Having had the opportunity to follow them and their progress ever since we consider it a huge privilege to join them more officially on their mission, as investors in their latest round.
Get to know impact tech investor Unconventional Ventures better and learn why we invest in diverse founding teams building impact tech companies.