Providence Business News features Maternova's Series A Raise
Maternal and infant care innovator raises Series A
Meg Wirth (right), founder and president, said midwives' professional input has guided Maternova's work since day one.
May 17, 2022, 12:47pm EDT
Best described as a b2b social venture company, Maternova has made it its mission since inception in 2009 to build a marketplace for doctors, nurses, and midwives to track innovation and buy technologies that save lives in childbirth and help improve newborn care around the world. After a kicking off Series A fundraising in late April, Maternova founder Meg Wirth said she’s excited what it will mean for the company.
“It’s very exciting that we’ll be able to immediately hire more employees and expand our sales mission,” she said. “It’s also going to help as we look to licensing technology more and more. We do some of that now, but we want that part of the business to grow.”
The company works with everyone from governments, to hospitals and research institutes around the world to provide the newest innovations in maternal and infant care, Wirth said. While the company works extensively in Mexico, Latin America and South Asia, demand for those products and knowledge is rising in America.
Among 11 developed countries in the world, the U.S. has the highest maternal mortality rate.According to the CDC, rates in 2020 were 13.8 deaths per 100,000 live births for women under age 25, 22.8 for those aged 25–39, and 107.9 for those aged 40 and over. The rate for women aged 40 and over was 7.8 times higher than the rate for women under age 25.
“Our company’s focus is ending maternal mortality and our focus began with South America and other countries, because we hadn’t anticipated a market in the U.S.,” Wirth said.
“The devices and diagnostics we source, license and sell are in the category of 'innovations'-- a newer, faster, cheaper or more ingenious way of providing care, at the point of care,” Wirth said this week.
For example, for women, Maternova offers "culture tests or mini labs" all-in-one- tests to look at Group B Strep and UTIs. For infants, they have in our portfolio a point of care test that assesses gestational age/lung maturity using only light.
“We’re hoping eventually, our B2B company will be able to offer the complete set of devices, diagnostics and pharmaceuticals needed to eliminate preventable maternal and newborn deaths,” Wirth said.
New products, technology and innovations are always popping up, Wirth said, and Maternova is adept at utilizing connections as well as understanding how decisions are made to bring the best products forward. Currently, she said, she’s looking ahead at new point of care diagnostics that will be able detect two or three different diseases in one test utilizing a drop of blood, urine or saliva.
“We’re seeing very novel ways to stop bleeding coming online, from the battlefields around the world and of course defense spending,” Wirth said. “So, we’re looking to license that technology for its use in childbirth in cases with complications. It’s our role to speed that technology along and transfer it from one place to another.”
Wirth said furndraising began in 2013 with investments from friends and family rolling in. That same year the City of Providence contributed to Maternova’s seed round. Wirth said they also turned to equity crowdfunding via Republic a few years later in 2016. With the Series A fundraising celebrating a first close, she’s hopeful for the future.
“This is what impact investment looks like,” she said.