Serena Williams invests in Black start-up that could save lives of expectant mothers
After the experience of a complicated childbirth, the tennis superstar is backing a new company that addresses the exact thing she went through when delivering her daughter
Last year, in her now widely cited op-ed for CNN, Serena Williams revealed to the world that she nearly died after giving birth to her daughter Olympia, and had to be her own advocate and save her own life in the hospital that day. Now the tennis superstar has decided to do her part to help other mothers in similar predicaments, by investing in company that speaks to their needs.
In her piece, Williams said that due to a previous sports injury that she’d endured, she was able to self diagnose and hypothesize that she had blood clots in the arteries of her lungs. She also had other complications, such as shortness of breath, “a swelling of clotted blood” in her abdomen, and her C-section wound was ruptured due to heavy coughing.
Yet at first, when she requested a CT scan, she recalled how doctors didn’t take her seriously, forcing her to adamantly insist that they give her the tests she knew she needed. And when the results of the CT scan came in, they confirmed her suspicions, confirming several blood clots in her lungs.
Since that life-altering experience, the 37-year-old has made speaking out about comprehensive care for mothers — particularly mothers of color — her new platform. Which is why it didn’t come as a surprise to her fans when it was announced that she’d decided to invest in a Black owned startup called Mahmee.
According to Mahmee’s company website, it is a “Management platform that makes it easy for payers, providers, and patients to coordinate comprehensive prenatal and postpartum healthcare from anywhere.”
"I believe that it is absolutely critical right now to invest in solutions that help protect the lives of moms and babies," Serena Williams said of her investment in Mahmee, a maternal-care company. https://t.co/y1luVjh1ew
— ForbesWomen (@ForbesWomen) July 16, 2019
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that Black mothers are three to four times more likely to die from giving birth compared to other racial groups, a statistic that Mahmee hopes to directly address and diminish.
“We’re so focused on delivering a healthy baby that mom gets side-lined,” The company’s co-founder Melissa Hanna recently told TechCrunch. “And this industry is lacking the IT infrastructure needed to connect these professionals from different organizations to each other, and to follow and monitor patients across practices and health systems.”
“This missing element creates gaps in care,” added Hanna, noting, “Mahmee is the glue that connects the care ecosystem and closes the gaps.”
“I am incredibly excited to invest and partner with Mahmee, a company that personifies my firm’s investment philosophy,” Williams said in a statement.
“Given the bleak data surrounding maternal death and injury rates, I believe that it is absolutely critical right now to invest in solutions that help protect the lives of moms and babies,” she added. “Mahmee’s data-driven approach is the right solution to one of the most significant problems in the system: that of fragmented care.”