As investors continue to make big bets on fertility startups, a crop of new companies are focusing on often-overlooked aspects of women’s health. Experienced founders are starting companies to help people manage PCOS and other chronic conditions, and rolling together virtual clinics with gynecology and mental health services.
Their own experiences with healthcare led CEO Alessandra Henderson and COO Jannine Versi to found Elektra Health, a startup focused on guiding women through menopause. Despite the many changes that women experience during this period of their lives, they’re seldom discussed.
When they started the company in 2019, Henderson and Versi met with hundreds of women to interview them about their experiences.
“There was this common refrain of ‘no one ever told me’. And justifiably, a frustration — ‘why is this the first time I’m learning of this really important life-changing transition?’” Versi said in a Zoom interview.
While most people are familiar with the hallmark symptoms of menopause, such as “hot flashes,” there’s a longer list that many women experience, Henderson said. Some common ones include vaginal dryness, changes in libido, difficulty sleeping, and anxiety depression.
It’s not just about managing symptoms.
“Intervening during this time of life, we’re excited about that long-term mission to be able to impact women’s health, not just their quality of life and symptoms, but long-term health,” Henderson said.
Elektra recently closed a $3.75 million seed round led by Flare Capital Partners and Seven Seven Six, a new venture firm started by Reddit co-founder Alexis Ohanian.
The company has a paid subscription program where women can access a private community and get text-based support from a dedicated expert. The program is currently in beta.
The startup also offers telemedicine visits with a gynecologist or nurse practitioner in Florida, New York, New Jersey and Connecticut. For example, a care team might guide a person through what symptoms they can expect, lifestyle changes or medications that might help, and hormone replacement therapy, when appropriate.
So far, more than 1,800 women have engaged with the company’s services.
Elektra plans to use the funds to grow its team, and prepare for a public launch of its platform.
“Women’s health is more on the map than it has been in years past and is only continuing to grow. I’m so excited about Maven and having a billion dollar unicorn in this space,” Henderson said. “There aren’t as many menopause startups, but they are starting. And we welcome that attention and resources going into this space. It’s a huge market where women have many different needs.”