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Hey Jane, a digital health startup that scales access to abortion pills makes sense. It is a direct-to-consumer pharmacy that aims to meet consumers where they are, which is particularly important as the extended stay of the pandemic continues.
Hey Jane’s core product has considerable bureaucracy to deal with. Its main product, abortion pills, is banned or restricted in several states. Add to that the fact that Roe v. Wade stands to be toppled, and the future of the world may clash with the startup’s mission to expand healthcare. Hey Jane pretty much underscores the potential – and promise – of starting telehealth. But it also works at the heart of an over-politicized issue.
Earlier this month, I wrote about how digital health startups are preparing for a post-Roe world. Then Hey Jane co-founder Kiki Freedman said the upheaval makes abortion treatment via mail “now probably the most viable form of access for most of the country.” One obstacle, she expects, will be a lack of consumer education about drug-induced abortions. Most abortions performed in the United States are through medication, except that she says a minority of people are educated about the nuances of medical abortion. “It is imperative that we continue to educate people about this safe, effective and common abortion option,” she wrote in a statement.
But now I want to do a follow up on these reactions the next day. Next week, I plan to interview Freedman for Technewscity’s Equity podcast and ask her how to build a business when the mission may be irreversibly challenged by our government; we will talk about the origin story and how they plan to turn in the future. I want her to tell me what the world is going wrong with telemedicine’s ability to answer the biggest questions in health right now, and where startups could fit into the solution going forward. And are they actually raising a growth round? To get the answers, be sure to tune in to the Equity section, wherever you get podcasts, and heck, why not start now?
In the rest of this newsletter, we’ll talk about yet another round of startup layoffs, why your MVP is not the MVP, and a fintech company betting that it can make even your local credit card crave a little Netflix & Chill time. As always, you can support me by forwarding this newsletter to a friend or follow me on Twitter or my blog.
Several layoffs in startupland
Unfortunately, there is more where last week came from. Technologists experienced another tough week with layoffs and freezing of hires, from startups like Section4, Latch and DataRobot. We gathered some of the known reductions in the workforce in one position.
Here’s why it’s important: The impact could be felt across industries ranging from education to security, as well as stages from a post-Series A startup to a recent SPAC venture. To me, it signals how widespread this withdrawal really is, no matter what phase your company is in. It’s not just the money-rich tech unicorns that cut into staff; so are the early startups.
Your MVP is neither minimal, viable nor a product
I have been thinking about this headline from Haje Jan Kamps for the past week because it challenges one of the preconceived startup performances that everyone else happily adopts without too much struggle. Aka, my sweet point (and my weakness). In this op-ed, Kamps discusses why MVP is “such a deeply misleading term” and what to focus on instead.
Here’s why it’s important: Kamps’ new framework and series of questions that you should ask your first product should make the complexity of MVPs a little more accessible. And I end with his kicker:
“I do not have a suggestion for a better name for MVP, just do not fall into the trap of thinking of it as a product, being viable or necessarily being small, simple or easy. Some MVPs are complex. The idea, however, is to spend as little of your precious resources as possible on getting answers to your questions. ”
Jay-Z’s Queen A
For this week’s specials that may have flown under your radar, I’ve Altro! Co-founded by Michael Broughton and Ayush Jain, this fintech startup believes credit access should be free – so it found an atypical way to help people build credit.
Here’s why it’s important: Altros, which raised $ 18 million in Serie A this week, is helping people build credit through recurring forms of payment such as digital subscriptions to Netflix, Spotify and Hulu. It stands out because many banks targeting historically deselected low-income people want to bypass credit scores completely – while Altros wants to adjust access to an established system. I highly recommend reading Mary Ann’s story of the company’s origins, fundraising journey and spotlight – and subscribe to her newsletter, The Interchange.
Over the week
Seen on Technewscity
Seen on Technewscity +
Until next time,