Serena Williams invests in digital maternal network Mahmee

16 Jul 2019

Mahmee CEO Melissa Hanna. Image: Mahmee

Mahmee, a platform that connects new mothers to health professionals and provides vital postpartum support, has garnered funding from Serena Williams.

International tennis star Serena Williams has, through her firm Serena Ventures, come together with angel investor Mark Cuban to invest $3m in a tech start-up called Mahmee, a digital platform that aims to support new mothers and provide postpartum care.

As many as one in five people in the US develop postpartum depression in the wake of the birth of a new child, and about 700 people die each year from pregnancy-related complications each year, according to the CDC.

Williams herself experienced life-threatening complications in the wake of the birth of her daughter, and this fact inspired her to share her experience. She noted in an opinion piece for CNN that black women are three times more likely to die from complications.

“I am incredibly excited to invest and partner with Mahmee, a company that personifies my firm’s investment philosophy,” Williams said. “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.”

Mahmee was founded in 2014. The platform is the brainchild of Melissa Hanna, and allows women to track both their own health and the health of their child in the crucial months after childbirth. It can answer questions that may not necessarily be urgent enough to contact a doctor about and connects mothers with supplemental health specialists.

Hanna said she was inspired by her own mother’s approach to maternal and infant care. Speaking to Forbes, she explained: “In the maternity healthcare process, on the surface there are generally three or four people involved: the mother, the baby and each of their physicians.

“We don’t see the many other people helping them: nurses, lactation consultants, midwives, nutritionists, therapists, doulas, home health aids, social workers and more. This industry is lacking the IT infrastructure needed to connect these professionals, and to monitor patients across practices and health systems. This creates gaps in care. Mahmee is the glue that connects the care ecosystem and closes the gaps.”

Backstage Capital, a venture capital firm that places particular emphasis on funding companies founded by underrepresented minorities, led the funding round.

Eva Short was a journalist at Silicon Republic