Since transforming the flagship accelerator to virtual first, we’ve been excited by the companies joining our program. Amidst Covid-19, these founders have proven why great companies are born out of crisis. Their resilience and innovation have impressed us, and we are excited to be backing them and want to share them with you. First look is Kiira, an AI care coordinator and virtual clinic connecting women to healthcare experts 24/7, 365 days a year.
The Nuts & Bolts
Problem: 75% of college women in the US go online to self-diagnose sexual and reproductive health issues. Topics such as sex, birth control, and STIs can carry stigma and shame, limiting students and from feeling fully comfortable seeking care on their own.
Solution: Kiira is an AI care coordinator and virtual clinic that guides college women on their health journey and connects them to a vetted network of trusted providers.
When 500 Met Kiira
We met the Kiira team through one of our fellow portfolio companies, Blavity. Kiira’s Co-Founder and CEO is Crystal Evoleocha, a woman whose authentic experience of being an immigrant student in college and not knowing much about US healthcare, inspired her to build Kiira.
Her Co-Founder and Chief Medical Officer, Candice Fraser is an OBGYN with 10 years of experience. Derry Smith, Kiira’s CTO, has spent the past four years at Nordstrom.com/Hautelook.com as a Senior Engineer. Given Kiira’s team expertise and recommendations, we felt confident in the company’s mission and goals.
A service like Kiira also fits well into our ESG strategy. Earlier this year, we launched our responsible investment framework for our latest global flagship fund that included efforts to integrate ESG from the beginning for startups. The CEO’s story of struggling to figure out US healthcare in college is not one unfamiliar to many women in college.
The time is right for a solution like Kiira. Telemedicine is trending up due to COVID-19, eating into a much larger percentage of total healthcare spend, and this may be a lasting pattern for quite some time.
In The Washington Post’s piece “At college health centers, students battle misdiagnoses and inaccessible care,” students claimed their healthcare system is “an open secret” as “everyone I know says that student health is awful.” In addition, The Post reported that college students would often wait “days or weeks for appointments and were routinely provided lackluster care. Dozens of students ended up hospitalized — and some near death — for mistakes they said were made at on-campus clinics” during the COVID-19 pandemic. This kind of struggle to provide care opens up an opportunity for effective telemedicine to address the needs of students.
According to Fidelity the Health Care sector was worth a whopping $6.2T, that’s roughly 30% of the US total GDP in 2019. Also according to Fidelity, the healthcare technology sector is only a tiny fraction of the overall space, coming in at $108B. We believe there’s lots of room to grow in this category for the companies adept at producing real innovation across products and services.
The continued downward economic pressure exerted on health systems from COVID-19, leaving much of the field damaged or failing. We believe that this has provided an opening for most telemedicine plays to gain on market share. The better telemedicine companies will see an influx in the supply of labor, giving them more leverage, and if they execute well this could lead to better economic performance. This might be a really important inflection point in the evolution of the healthcare industry.
Future of Kiira
Crystal, Candice, and Derry are on their way to build the one of first women’s telemedicine companies that may revolutionize the women’s health space starting with colleges and universities. As colleges and universities have been pushed to decrease costs during COVID-19, this pandemic may be the perfect push that the system needed to not only further invest in telemedicine, but also to increasingly prioritize effective health and wellbeing services for their students. We believe that the Kiira team has the technical background, cultural awareness, and personal drive to see this vision through.
We look forward to the future of Kiira and all that the team has to offer.
If you are an investor and would like to learn more about companies, sectors, and trends that we are excited about as well as receive invitations to exclusive previews, and expert roundtables, please sign up here.
If you would like to connect with the company directly, you can learn more at Kiira.io.
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