Mae, a digital health platform that provides pregnancy and postpartum support for Black people, announced its launch with $1.3 million in pre-seed funding.

The round was led by SteelSky Ventures with participation from Avestria Ventures, MBX Capital, Rhia Ventures, and the Social Starts Health and Happiness Fund.

WHAT IT DOES

Mae offers a pregnancy tracker, personalized lifestyle and care tips, and access to culturally competent experts like doulas, lactation consultants and pregnancy coaches.

“We cannot impact maternal health outcomes in the U.S. without focusing our immediate attention on the massive, life-threatening inequities impacting Black mothers and our babies,” CEO Maya Hardigan said in a statement.

“Mae is reshaping the experience of Black expectant and new mothers by serving as a trusted, culturally relevant resource. As a Black mother, Mae is the resource I wish I’d had during my own pregnancies.”

WHAT IT’S FOR

The company said the pre-seed funding will go towards its long-term goal of becoming a value-based, supplemental care option for pregnant Black people.

MARKET SNAPSHOT

In 2019, the maternal mortality rate for non-Hispanic Black women was 44 deaths per 100,000 live births, two and half times higher than the rate for non-Hispanic white women and three and half times the rate for Hispanic women, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Pregnant people in the U.S. are also more likely to die from pregnancy or childbirth complications compared with those in other high-income countries, according to a report by the Commonwealth Fund. In the U.S., people face a shortage of maternal care providers, aren’t guaranteed access to home visits after birth and may not have access to paid leave. 

“Black maternal healthcare is a national crisis,” Maria Velissaris, founding partner at SteelSky Ventures, said in a statement. “While structural and systemic bias continue to plague our healthcare system, solutions like Mae are vital to empower women to access, educate and advocate their way to better outcomes.”

Though femtech is still small compared with the larger digital health market, a Frost & Sullivan study expects it to reach $1.15 billion by 2025. 

Other companies in the maternal health space include Cayaba Care, Babyscripts and Ovia Health.

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By seohan