Why We Started Hela
When going through fertility challenges, one of the co-founders was manually tracking temperature and cervical mucus on a paper, with results faxed to her physician, in 2019. She spent weeks searching for a better way, comparing so many new, innovative products to figure out the best fit. She found a few products that were low cost and accessible, but her doctor wouldn’t track their results to achieve the same endpoint. She needed to use it alongside medication to help trigger ovulation– and suggested this could be a better, more accurate way than the method her grandmother used in 1959.
Her doctor was available at 9:00 AM- 6:00 PM and called everyday between noon and 3:00 PM with next steps. At other times, there was simply no one available when she needed them- for urgent questions that sometimes set her back an entire month. She craved a secure place where she could get care on her own schedule and robust peer support to talk about the challenges with other women.
Another one of our colleagues, who is a cutting-edge product designer, recently had a baby, and when we sent her the innovative Elvie Breast Pump she responded, “how come I just spent $500 on a pump from 1980 that sounds like a whale that my doctor recommended?”
Outside the tools she needed to go back to work, as a first time mom, even with the most innovative products, the questions were rapid and seemed to come at the most inconvenient times when no care providers were available. If someone were available, it might have saved trips to urgent care, and certainly many tears.
And It’s not just for women trying to become pregnant or new moms- we started speaking to our moms, and grandmothers, who suffered in silence for years managing menopause in the workplace- or who suffered embarrassing stress urinary incontinence without knowing who to turn to and what could be done to help. These challenges don’t make us sick or unhealthy either, they are just normal parts of women’s lives.
The Support We Need
We started interviewing hundreds of women to understand their health and wellness needs, along with the tools they used for support. What we found was shocking: 95% of women weren’t aware of anything available to them outside what their doctor recommended, as recommendations from medical professionals remains the leading source of information for women and girls to manage their care. Further, only 1% of women are willing to change a spending habit to nurture their own health and wellness, leaving many of these new tools not yet covered by traditional insurance by the wayside.
Only 9% of providers today feel they have the ability to offer all of the tool’s patients expect out of them. And it’s not that doctors don’t want to help- there is so much out there, coming out so fast, that our physicians do not have the time or capacity to keep up with all the changing technology, and to integrate it into their existing care models to meet the unique needs of everyone.
Hela was born out of the belief that women deserve better, more affordable access to these innovative products, services, peer support, and health information available today, even if those aren’t covered by traditional insurance.
We are working hard to overcome barriers in knowledge, access, and cost through the Hela platform, where women can find best-in-class tools available to help them navigate their health and wellness, alongside a network that provides the support they need to use those products on their own schedule and a community of women cheering each other on.
Hela users are part of a safe community for women to empower each other through live forums, direct chat, and live, video support groups. Hela also focuses on empowerment through knowledge, offering live classes, seminars, and educational content from choosing a birth control method to managing menopause in the workplace.
In 2019, women should not suffer alone, and should be able to take their health and wellness into their own hands, on their schedule. We’re excited to be a small part of improving access to care for everywoman, everywhere.
Founded by Gal Brenner, a talented software developer and product manager passionate about using technology for social good, and Cathy Sebag, a strategic partnership manager focused on scaling women’s health technology, Hela aims to meet the needs of women in 2019 by putting healthcare and wellness into their own hands, full stop.