Maternal health startup Babyscripts, which makes an app for expectant mothers, has raised another $7.5 million in a Series B round. This additional funding brings this latest haul to $19.5 million, after the $12 million it secured in September. Babyscripts expects to use this extra funding to continue building out its platform, Babyscripts Virtual Maternity Care, a tool that tracks a patient’s pregnancy and postpartum information at each stage, according to the announcement in the Washington Business Journal.
An Expanded Solution
Although maternal mortality is declining worldwide, in 2017, the World Health Organization (WHO) reported that the U.S. was one of only two countries (along with the Dominican Republic) to report a startling increase in its maternal mortality ratio (the proportion of pregnancies that result in the death of the mother) since 2000. While U.S. maternal deaths have leveled in recent years, the ratio is still higher than in any high-income nation in the world. In 2018, the United States reported approximately 660 maternal deaths, last overall among industrialized countries. With a maternal mortality rate of 17.4 per 100,000 pregnancies, more than half of recorded deaths occur after the day of birth.
Covid-19 has transformed where and how healthcare is administered and received, including shifting from traditional care settings towards remote patient monitoring (RPM). Babyscripts Virtual Maternity Care is a clinically-validated, obstetrics-specific solution that allows OB/GYNs and other maternal health care providers to deliver a new prenatal and postpartum care model via a mobile app-based platform and remote patient monitoring experiences.
Babyscripts aims to expand from 32 states, currently managing about 250,000 pregnancies, to all 50 states. The platform now includes:
- A digital education and weight tracking app.
- A remote patient monitoring system with blood pressure and mental health programs.
- A population health tool for insurance providers.
According to the announcement, to manage that national expansion, Babyscripts expects to double its current 40-person headcount by the end of 2022. It’s adding positions across the board while focusing on product and operations, with openings for vice president of finance, product marketing manager, and senior analyst, among others.
Fifty percent of maternal complications can be avoided, but a lot of these issues come from the fact that the model of delivery care hasn’t changed in 40 years. About 12% to 15% of deaths come from blood pressure complications. If we could monitor via Babyscripts or more coordinated care to get intervention faster, we could eliminate massive swaths of delivery events in maternity and reduce mortality events in this country.Juan Pablo Segura, Founder and CEO
Digital tools that facilitate innovative methods and modalities to improve health care, enable lifestyle change, and create efficiencies are progressing quickly. Femtech companies, such as Babyscripts, can be up against several barriers when seeking an investment that other companies may not face. Innovation is really not about disruption; it’s about collaboration. This is especially true with digital health because the natural flow of data between hospitals, physicians, and patients is very difficult because of the highly secure nature of the network. Connected health tools that enable data tracking of healthy behaviors, combined with incentives and trusted professional support, can help consumers become more engaged in their own care health and wellness.
According to TechCrunch, PitchBook analysts suggest investors have not been convinced of the category because of a lack of “sizable exits”. With a record-breaking $388M raised in 2018, Femtech solutions remains an undeveloped area of health-tech with only 4% of healthcare R&D going towards women’s health.
Only six femtech exits were completed in 2019, a 64% increase in value compared to 2018. With that said, PitchBook also points to several fundraising deals completed in 2020, such as Maven Clinic’s $45M Series C funding and Kindbody’s $32M Series B funding. As the VC world becomes more diverse and with the widespread recognition of preventive health and personalized medicine, analysts believe that VC’s will see femtech as a viable market opportunity.
The latest investment for Babyscripts comes from Cigna Ventures, Texas Medical Center Venture Fund, and New Jersey’s Atlantic Health System. The $12 million Babyscripts closed in September came from strategic health care investment vehicle MemorialCare Innovation Fund, Philips, and the CU Healthcare Innovation Fund. Phoenix-based Banner Health, Pennsylvania-based WellSpan Health, and the Froedtert & the Medical College of Wisconsin health network were also involved in the raise as part of the startup’s Strategic Partner Program formed in December.
Reading recommendation: Virtual Maternity Care Playbook
Babyscripts is delivering a new model for prenatal and postpartum care that is transforming how expectant mothers use technology to work with their healthcare providers. Babyscripts offers comprehensive virtual maternity care which, through managing various levels of risk, addresses an outdated model for pregnancy care that has not moved the needle in decreasing maternal morbidity and mortality; an inability to address social determinants of health; and now the critical need to transition care outside of the clinic due to Covid-19. The company’s solution for virtual maternity care manages the various risk levels of a maternal health population to address some of the most significant drivers of costs and complications in perinatal care.