In April, Aegis said so would invest at least $100 million in seed funding to launch and develop joint ventures with Northwell Health. The partners predict that Upliv’s seed funding by the end of 2023 will be $8.4 million.
Aegis and Northwell Holdings created Upliv to better serve the roughly 1 million women in the U.S. who experience menopause each year, Allison Schoneck, the startup’s CEO, said in a recent interview.
When women go through menopause, they experience complex changes in multiple systems in the body. Although women experience moderate to debilitating symptoms in a number of areas — such as hot flashes, night sweats, sexual dysfunction, depression, insomnia and muscle pain — these symptoms are not talked about much in the medical community, according to Schoeneck. She added that many women feel left to navigate this stage of life on their own.
“Fortunately, many women do go to their primary care physician or their OB/GYN to seek treatment, but most clinicians don’t really have specific training or expertise in menopause,” Schoeneck said. “In fact, only about 20% of obstetrics and gynecology programs provide any type of menopause training. And as many as 75% of women receive no treatment at all. This means women needlessly suffer and are not supported in the ways they ideally need. We created Upliv to change that paradigm.”
The startup will partner with employers to provide virtual care services to their employees with perimenopausal and menopausal symptoms. On Upliv’s platform, women can access educational resources, prescriptions, virtual live events to connect with other patients, and video consultations with clinicians and health coaches who are trained in menopausal care. The care the startup provides is based on guidelines from North American Menopause Society.
Initially, Upliv services will be available to Northwell employees. The health system, which is the largest in New York state, surveyed 900 of its employees and found that the majority of respondents experience moderate to severe menopausal symptoms, including hot flashes, weight gain, sleep problems and fatigue.
To address this, Northwell is starting a pilot program with a select number of nurses before rolling out Upliv services system-wide in the first quarter of next year.
Upliv plans to roll out its services to more employers in mid-2023, according to Schoeneck. The startup’s program will be offered as a zero-cost benefit to employees, she said.
Dr. Stacey Rosen, Northwell’s Senior Vice President Katz Institute for Women’s Healthsaid MedCity News she hopes more employers will add Upliv’s program as a benefit in the coming years.
“Providing this benefit really reflects a corporation’s respect for women,” said Dr. Rosen. “And the platform is really quite versatile in terms of time with clinical providers and a tremendous amount of education and support in areas that traditional health care delivery doesn’t focus on — like sleep, behavioral health issues and nutrition.”
As for the competition, Upliv isn’t the only menopause-focused startup. Others include Vira Health and Evernow. Upliv stands out for its focus on going after the employer market and making its services free to women, Schoeneck said. She also pointed out that Upliv’s partnership with Northwell makes it unique.
“We are able to connect patients when needed with the right provider through our integration with Northwell,” Schoeneck said. “So instead of just working in a silo, we’re really able to connect women to many types of resources and care that they might need.”
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