In the United States, the risk of pregnancy-related deaths for Black women is three to four times higher than that of white women, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Working to help change this statistic is tennis star Serena Williams. After giving birth to her daughter in 2017, Williams shared the life-threatening complications she experienced during childbirth and discussed the racial disparities that exist within the healthcare system. Now, through her venture capital firm, Serena Ventures, she has invested in a startup that works to end the maternal mortality crisis affecting Black women called Mahmee.
According to Fortune, Williams was joined in a $3 million funding round by angel investor Mark Cuban, the Bumble Fund and managing partner of Backstage Capital Arlan Hamilton.
“I am incredibly excited to invest and partner with Mahmee, a company that personifies my firm’s investment philosophy,” Williams said. “Given the bleak data around maternal death and injury rates, I believe that it is absolutely critical right now to invest in solutions that help protect the lives of moms and babies.”
Founded in 2014 by Melissa Hanna, her mom Linda Hanna-Sperber, who is a longtime nurse and lactation consultant, and Sunny Walia, Mahmee is an online platform that allows women to track their health and the health of their child after birth. Through the platform, users are able to connect with health professionals to ask questions and get advice on the health issues they’re facing.
Though Hanna says she’s aware that technology is not “going to save the world” or the maternal health care industry, she does believe that her platform “can be a component of a solution here.”
With her new round of funding, she says she plans to hire more engineers, clinicians and sales staff in order to support her company’s expansion.
Photo credit: Serena IG