Kate Ryder of Maven Clinic Advocates for Curiosity and Real Knowledge
March 8, 2023
Kate Ryder is the founder and CEO of Maven Clinic, the largest virtual clinic for women’s and family health. Maven offers virtual care and services across fertility, maternity, pediatrics, and menopause, and operates the largest women's and family health telehealth network globally.

With Maven, employers and health plans can see improved maternal outcomes, lower costs, and attract and retain more parents in the workforce. Prior to founding Maven in 2014, Kate worked in venture capital and as a journalist, writing for The Economist from Southeast Asia, New York and London and for The New Yorker. In 2009, she worked with former U.S. Treasury Secretary Hank Paulson, helping him write his memoirs about the financial crisis. Kate has been named to Fortune’s 40 Under 40 and to Fast Company’s “Most Creative People.” Kate received her B.A. from the University of Michigan and her MSc from the London School of Economics. She lives in Brooklyn with her husband and three children.

You worked in journalism and VC before starting Maven. What did you learn in those industries that led you to this one?

Venture capital and journalism have a surprising amount of overlap, the biggest being that both are about finding the signal in the noise — in journalist-speak, to get the story. To do that you have to go to the source, which is usually not just one person, but a group made up of individuals, organizations, institutions, all with their own point of view and sometimes with competing interests.

From doing that over many years, I learned that curiosity is an ongoing practice and that real expertise is rare and incredibly valuable.

In coming up with the idea for Maven, I spoke to hundreds of women’s and family health practitioners and potential members trying to understand what the core problem was and how we could begin to fix it. I still work this way.

You have built the only unicorn in the women’s and family health sector. What about your business has led to this unique positioning?

All valuation milestones come down to execution. From day one, we have focused on our members, providers, and partners, including employers and health plans, being relentless about uncovering their pain points and working hard to deliver for their needs. Along the way, we have been incredibly lucky to find mission-aligned investors who believe as we do that the time is now to innovate within women’s and family health. We live in a country with the highest costs to start and raise a family and the worst maternal and infant health outcomes in the developed world. We’re just scratching the surface on the impact we can make.

What advice do you offer to first time founders?

Stick with it. That doesn’t mean ignoring advice, especially if it comes from a place of authentic understanding. Stay curious, always be learning, and keep seeking out the allies and advocates you need around you to get your idea off the ground.

What advice do you offer to those who are considering starting or joining a business in the women’s and family health sector?

Do it! Women’s and family health is finally getting the attention it deserves because more and more, people are realizing that focusing here is a high-impact way to make a difference on the biggest challenges in all of healthcare: access, inequity, and cost.

How did the Roe vs Wade decision impact your business? And, what role do you think companies should play in family planning and reproductive health?

The overturn of Roe was a painful step back for healthcare in the United States. Since the ruling, it has been encouraging to see employers recognizing that access to full-spectrum reproductive health is fundamentally an equity issue and taking steps to ensure continuity of access. Maven has a role to play in helping our members and our partners, providers and members navigate this new normal, which is evolving every day.

Who are women you are watching right now?

One woman I admire, along with the rest of the world, is Michelle Obama, for her purpose-driven approach to life before, during, and after the White House. I think it’s very cool that healthcare has so many strong female leaders — Karen Lynch, Gail Boudreaux, Roz Brewer, Sarah London. They're building incredibly powerful platforms and doing it in an authentic way that I really admire.

I am also, in general, always watching and listening to mothers — particularly those impacted by restrictive reproductive health policies, to better understand what our product can do to help.

What’s one thing you cannot live without?

My family.

And, what’s one trend you see in 2023 that you think we should all be paying attention to?

It’s hard to discount the advances being made in AI. For some of these now-viral neural models, there are exciting potential applications in healthcare, particularly around provider enablement. They’re also very good at writing naughty limericks.



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