Femtech is becoming a bigger focus, but there are still gaps around diagnosing and treating chronic conditions afflicting millions of women. Polycystic Ovary Syndrome, or PCOS, is one of them. It’s a common metabolic reproductive disorder that is lifelong, incurable and largely goes undiagnosed despite potentially impacting more than a quarter of women globally. The condition elevates the risk of diabetes fourfold and the risk of infertility 15-fold.
Enter Simone Health, a company supporting women living with complex, chronic conditions through data-driven care and connection. It currently focuses on the management of PCOS, with its main offering being a mobile app that combines clinically validated nutrition, exercise, stress and sleep guidance specific to PCOS.
The Nuts & Bolts
Problem: Women’s health issues are often overlooked. Those can include hormonal imbalances, such as endometriosis, thyroid disorders, menopause, or even trying to conceive with an above average BMI.
PCOS, in particular, is a hormone disorder impacting infertility and metabolism that scientists are just beginning to understand. It affects one in 10 women of childbearing age and impacts women of all races and ethnicities. Global prevalence of PCOS is estimated to be between 6% and 26%; in the U.S. it’s between 6% and 12%.
Studies show that up to 70% of women with the condition are undiagnosed, with many finding out in their 20s and 30s when they’re trying to conceive. There’s no single test to diagnose PCOS. Doctors usually look at medical history, do a physical exam and administer different tests to help identify the condition and rule out other causes. Women with PCOS can also experience it differently, meaning there’s no-one-size-fits-all treatment and it can take years to find the right one. Patients also may receive little information post-diagnosis regarding long-term complications, treatment options, or emotional support and counseling. Weight loss is commonly prescribed.
Solution: Simone Health’s mobile app delivers PCOS guidance that is evidence-based, compassionate and tailored. The app combines clinically-validated content, tools and tracking developed by a team of PCOS physicians, psychologists, dietitians and personal trainers.
Alongside the app, Simone Health offers at-home blood tests for PCOS that are easy to use and comparatively affordable, and allow the company to provide users with data on a quarterly basis, with a focus on metabolic health. The tests are the same ones run by gynecologists and fertility clinics. Simone Health offers them directly to consumers for less combined with counseling.
PCOS is just the start. The company’s long-term vision is to target other chronic health conditions that exclusively or disproportionately impact women, and become the go-to platform for women’s metabolic health by addressing menstrual dysfunction, endometriosis, thyroid disorders, menopause, postpartum health and depression, among other issues. Simone Health is also amassing a wealth of biomarker data, which can potentially be helpful in furthering research efforts around women’s metabolic health.
Getting to know Simone Health
Simone Health was founded by CEO Maria Wang-Faulkner and CTO Pete Hamling. A repeat founder, Maria has expertise spanning healthcare, product and business development. Her experience includes launching early-stage products at Google, helping to facilitate access to drugs while working for the Clinton Health Access Initiative, and being an executive coach. Pete has spent over 20 years in the software industry, including C-level experience and a previous stint as a founder.
As femtech accelerates, we believe Simone Health is poised to serve a large market by providing better care for chronic metabolic disorders, starting with PCOS. The global femtech market is estimated to be worth about $35 billion currently, according to CB Insights, and could increase to $50 billion by 2025. There’s also potential for Simone Health to capitalize on data and insights gleaned from its user base. Data plays are valuable, as demonstrated by Roche’s $1.9 billion acquisition of Flatiron Health in 2018.
The future of Simone Health
The company is currently focused on growing its app user base in the U.S. We look forward to supporting the team as they strive to become a key platform for women’s metabolic health.
You can learn more about Simone Health at: https://meetsimone.com/
Legal Disclaimers: 500 Startups programs (including accelerator programs), investor education services, strategic partnership consulting services and events are operated by 500 Startups Incubator, L.L.C. (together with its affiliates, “500 Startups”) and the funds advised by 500 Startups Management Company, L.L.C. do not participate in any revenue generated by these activities. Such programs and services are provided for educational and informational purposes only and under no circumstances should any content provided as part of any such programs, services or events be construed as investment, legal, tax or accounting advice by 500 startups or any of its affiliates.
The views expressed here are those of the individual 500 Startups personnel, or other individuals quoted and are not the views of 500 Startups or its affiliates. Certain information contained herein may have been obtained from third-party sources, including from portfolio companies of funds managed by 500 Startups. While taken from sources believed to be reliable, 500 Startups has not independently verified such information and makes no representations or warranties as to the accuracy of the information in this post or its appropriateness for a given situation. In addition, this content may include third-party advertisements or links; 500 Startups has not reviewed such advertisements and does not endorse any advertising content contained therein.
This content is provided for informational purposes only, and should not be relied upon as legal, business, investment, tax or accounting advice. You should consult your own advisers as to those matters. References to any securities or digital assets are for illustrative purposes only, and do not constitute an investment recommendation, offer to sell or solicitation to purchase any investment securities, or offer to provide investment advisory services. Furthermore, this content is not directed at nor intended for use by any investors or prospective investors, and may not under any circumstances be relied upon when making a decision to invest in any fund managed by 500 Startups. (An offering to invest in an 500 Startups fund will be made only by the private placement memorandum, subscription agreement, and other relevant documentation of any such fund and should be read in their entirety.) Any investments or portfolio companies mentioned, referred to, or described are not representative of all investments in vehicles managed by 500 Startups, and there can be no assurance that the investments will be profitable or that other investments made in the future will have similar characteristics or results.
Charts and graphs provided herein are for informational purposes solely and should not be relied upon when making any investment decision. Past performance is not indicative of future results. The content speaks only as of the date indicated. Unless otherwise expressly stated, figures are based on internal estimates and have not been independently verified. Any projections, estimates, forecasts, targets, prospects, and/or opinions expressed in these materials are subject to change without notice and may differ or be contrary to opinions expressed by others. All logos and trademarks of third parties referenced herein are the logos and trademarks of their respective owners and any inclusion of such trademarks or logos does not imply or constitute any approval, endorsement or sponsorship of 500 Startups by such owners.