As glaring disparities in maternal care continue to threaten Black and Indigenous women—who are two to four times more likely to die in childbirth— and increase the risk for babies, a range of public and private organizations are focused on solving the problem. That includes a number of providers, payers and startups that have committed to eliminating disparities and improving maternal care for all, like maternal healthcare company Mahmee.
On Thursday, the Los Angeles-based startup announced it had raised $9.2 million in Series A funding led by the Growth Equity Business within Goldman Sachs Asset Management. The company’s CEO, Melissa Hanna, said in an email that Mahmee has already made progress in reducing disparities in maternal care, and that it will use the funds to grow its operations and expand partnerships. Founded in 2014, Mahmee has raised a total of $13 million to date.
“This is a milestone raise for the company, and it’s one that we’ve been working toward since the start of the pandemic,” said Hanna, who is also a co-founder of the company. “The significance of Mahmee’s fundraise cannot be overstated as it means that a company in maternal health technology has demonstrated such meaningful improvement in birth outcomes and cost-savings to the healthcare industry that one of the largest investment firms in the world has backed its efforts to scale.”
Hanna said the funding will be used to expand Mahmee’s team, community-based provider network, and roster of payer and health system partners. Mahmee offers a platform to manage maternity care and a national network of community-based birth professionals, including its own in-house nurses and care coordinators.
The company provides subscription-based services to municipal health departments, hospitals and insurance companies starting at $49 per month or $500 per year. A subscription for live support seven days a week called “Mahmee Gold” provides new and expecting parents with a team of nurses and care coordinators who proactively screen and monitor health needs. The care providers also make referrals to culturally competent professionals, and assist with navigating social services, according to the company.
“Much of the ‘femtech’ and ‘maternity tech’ apps today are point solutions addressing just a segment of maternal healthcare. Closing gaps in care and eliminating systemic racism requires more than just apps,” Hanna said. “Mahmee is focused on provider collaboration and communication, in order to catch issues before they create life-threatening risk to mom or baby. The company offers both a software platform and a service model that delivers care differently, and that is why we’ve achieved great birth outcomes.”
Patients with Mahmee are 10% less likely to have a C-section and 50% less likely to deliver prematurely, compared with the national average, according to the company.
“Black and Indigenous birthing individuals are represented in Mahmee’s population at three times the rate of the U.S. birth census, and yet Mahmee’s birth outcomes are much better than the national average, which demonstrates that the country’s maternal healthcare disparities are solvable,” Hanna said.
Other startups provide apps and services to support women through pregnancy, and aim to reduce disparities in maternal care, like Wolomi. In addition to startups and health providers, payers, too, like Blue Cross Blue Shield Association are also targeting racial inequities in health, including maternal health.
But Hanna doesn’t see any other organizations as direct competitors to Mahmee. Instead, she said she sees opportunities for additional partnerships to eliminate disparities in maternal health.
“No single company will solve this problem alone,” she said. “I believe that partnership and collaboration between organizations is critical to the success of this mission.”
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