She Matters founder develops an app for black women with postpartum depression | Health and Technology

She Matters founder develops an app for black women with postpartum depression

The founder of She Matters is working on an app for black women suffering from postpartum depression

Jade Kearney was experiencing postpartum depression when her daughter was six months old.  She was trying to complete her second Masters at NYU while dealing with a mental health crisis and a lack of mental health professionals who could help a black woman navigate the situation.

So Kearney did what all entrepreneurs do: She developed an app to help solve this particular problem.

She had to teach herself how to run a company and figure out funding mechanisms on the fly, all the while overcoming all the odds and hurdles directly related to being a black woman founder, aimed at other black women. Trying to find a company from.

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Plus, he did more than just start a company.  She went out of her way to design workshops and conferences to help other women of color in her situation find their way together and learn from their discoveries and their mistakes.

If that wasn’t enough, she also wrote a book based on the Lean Startup methodology, called Lean Why Black, which is aimed at and adapted specifically to Black founders, whom she said were more likely to be compared to their white counterparts.  The comparison faced a different set of biases and challenges.  She felt she needed to revisit the technology defined by author Eric Rees in a way that made sense to Black founders.

I sat down with Kearney to discuss her experiences and how she has overcome overwhelming odds.

There must be an app for that

When Kearney began experiencing postpartum depression, she realized how many therapists were trained to help black women deal with mental health issues.

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“When I was trying to finish my second master’s degree, I had to figure out how to navigate that space alone because between the cultural stigma and medical neglect for black women in the postpartum period, there was really no room for me.  There was no outlet,” Kearney told me.

It was at that point that he decided to start a company to help solve the problem.

“And that’s how I founded She Matters because I thought I didn’t matter,” she said.  While her professors at NYU sympathized with the case for extending her work to finish, she said no one could really understand the weight of being a black woman who was experiencing postpartum.

She Matters takes a multidisciplinary approach to the health problems of black women.  First it has created a community of physicians, who have been trained in a 12-week certification program, to make their therapy culturally relevant to these women.

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“Physicians pay a fee to be on the app and be connected to black women who seek therapy. But what is different with our app and others is that these physicians are culturally competent and have access to health care.  understand the very tumultuous relationships of black women in the system,” Kearney explained.

Women who are in need of therapy come on the platform and sign up to connect with a trained therapist.  The company already has 180 trained therapists on site and another 700 on a waiting list, and when they opened the app from beta to the public in January, 7,000 people signed up with 3,400 in the first 24 hours alone,  She reports.

The company and app have evolved from a project related to the Master’s degree in Digital Media Design for Learning at NYU.  She needed to build an app as part of a project, and she was trying to figure out what to do when she focused on the problem that was playing such a big part in her life at the time.  How should he look?

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“[So I decided] to let me do something I’m already involved in. I was already involved in postpartum, I’m already black. So let’s make an app for black moms who have postpartum anxiety and depression.”  Depression is there and create a community. And so I really started my tech journey,” she said.

Product Manufacturing

Kearney and his co-founder Marguerite Pierce began building the app Kearney envisioned.  It started in a classroom and continued after applying for and receiving a two-week Startup Sprint program at the Leslie Entrepreneurs Lab at NYU.  There, he continued to refine his idea.

While the app began to take shape, and both women received good feedback on their idea, the general impression at the time was that they didn’t yet have a full-fledged startup idea.  They then joined NYU Launchpad.  Excited to go to work, Kearney says that instead she faced racism and her failure to take what she was trying to do — building a business — seriously.

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“When I [started to say] that I was a tech founder, I really faced racism. It’s not that I haven’t experienced racism and sexism, but once I decided that it was mine.”  title, so I started experiencing all these subtle attacks,” she said.  People would not admit that she was a tech founder in publications or that they would rather talk about being a black female founder than helping her achieve her goals to build a successful startup.

She says racism took shape in other ways as well.  One of his mentors at NYU completely discouraged him from applying to incubators like Y Combinator and Techstars.

“I remember being at NYU and one of the mentors said, ‘You know, Techstars and Y Combinator, they’re great accelerators, but you won’t come in’ — and I was like, ‘What?! I’m not in  I’ll go! What do you mean?!’  – ‘Oh, well, you won’t go in because you’re a black woman, and your company is for black women, and nobody really cares…’ We’re at Techstars Seattle right now.”

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Other challenges and obstacles

While all founders face challenges getting noticed and funded, the number of black female founders receiving funding is a small part of the overall pie.  Consider that there was $137 billion in venture funding in the first half of 2021 alone.  Of that, Black Founders got just 1.2%, making it an even bigger challenge to get a piece of that small amount.

Kearney certainly recognizes this and is outraged by it.

“It’s so challenging, but it’s just like being on this level as a black woman. The whole thing is crazy and challenging. So if we’re in the room, we’re obviously going to have to overcome all the odds to get there.”  are capable, and we’re usually one or two in space. So to say you got here, you’re [unique], and we’re not going to give you money. It’s crazy, it’s really  That’s a lot,” she said.

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She said it has been incredibly frustrating trying to raise money.  “I’ve told investors things like ‘I love hip hop,’ ‘Are there many black women out there’ or ‘Did you really develop the technology yourself?

She said the disappointment is real, but she is determined to keep working.

“I’ve cried more behind closed doors in the last 12 weeks than I have in my entire life, but I refuse to give up because black women are suffering and the problem can be fixed. It’s about community and communication, and that  The healthcare industry is all about making as much noise as possible, so they know we won’t stop until maternal morbidity changes and patient outcomes improve drastically.”

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So far, she has raised $300,000 in angel money and is in talks with a number of investors with the goal of raising $2 million in seed funding as she completes her time at Techstars.

As she continues her journey as a black woman founder, she has made an effort to help others by writing a book, organizing workshops and conferences, and keeping the lines of communication open.  Having firsthand experienced the challenge of being a black woman setting up a company, she says she not only wants to build a successful startup, she wants to play a role in helping others achieve a similar goal.  Wants to become a model.

Source: Ron Miller, Tech Crunch

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