Startup Tri-Valley is presenting a virtual discussion with women-led venture capital firm Avestria about women’s health innovations and opportunities to support them.
The April 25 event, titled “The Unseen Opportunity in Women’s Health,” will feature remarks by Linda Grubb, Co-Founder/Managing Partner of Avestria Ventures and Yolanda Fintshenko, Executive Director of i-Gate Innovation Hub and Startup Tri-Valley. A “fireside chat” with Tracy Dooley, partner at Avestria Ventures, and Neil Ray, founder and CEO of San Ramon-based Raydiant Oximetry.
Raydiant Oximetry is one of the companies focused on improving women’s health that Avestria invests in The company specializes in developing a safe, non-invasive fetal pulse oximeter that measures fetal oxygen levels, allowing healthcare providers to make better-informed decisions and provide improved patient care. .
According to Ray — an anesthesiologist by trade — the current technology used to measure fetal health has been around for 60 years and has seen little innovation in that time. “Ultimately, this technology has the accuracy of a coin toss in predicting fetal distress,” Ray Livermore said in an interview with Vine.
He added that many false alarms predicted by current technology lead to unnecessary cesarean procedures. Another consequence of the current technology’s poor performance, according to Ray, is that it fails to identify children in distress, causing many of them to develop brain injuries and cerebral palsy.
Ray said his company’s technology, called Lumerah, has already proven effective in a small clinical trial, and they are currently raising Series B funding to conduct a larger clinical study, which will be used by the US Food and Drug Administration.
The idea to host a webinar focused on innovation in women’s health was sparked by a Startup Tri-Valley podcast episode that featured Greub and Dooley discussing Raydiant Oximetry’s work and the overall need to advance women’s health.
“I think through this conversation there’s a realization that we need to celebrate and highlight this innovation and the lack of innovation in this space,” Ray said.
Finchenko — who is also one of Livermore’s three newly appointed planning commissioners — said that during her work with the startup Tri-Valley, what particularly attracted her to Avestra was that they recognized the unseen opportunities in women’s health that make it a profitable market.
“Also the injustices in women’s health are being ignored from a funding and technical perspective and at the same time they saw something that other people didn’t see. They saw an unmet need and they recognized from a business perspective that it was an incredibly good business decision,” Fintshenko said of Avestria. .
“I feel a lot of times when we talk about meeting an underdeveloped community, the appeal is to justice. And I’m not saying we shouldn’t work to create a more just and equitable world but at the same time, what I think about Austria is very Important and their thesis is that it’s profitable and I think it’s really important that it’s not just a hat-in-hand kind of appeal but that better, if you don’t follow their lead, you can solve important problems that have a real market. Miss the boat and miss the opportunity completely,” he added.
Avestria is based in San Francisco, with East Bay offices in Lafayette and Berkeley. The firm invests in several companies in women’s health and life sciences.
Greub and Dooley emphasize that Austria’s portfolio consists of businesses that provide purpose-built solutions for unmet needs, including radiant oximetry.
“Raydiant is really the jewel of our portfolio because I really believe that every hospital birth in the world will eventually use Lumerah products,” he said, adding that he does not consider himself a particularly optimistic person, but he is about this technology.
“As a mother, if it had existed when I was about to give birth and I knew it was there, I would have wanted it. There is nothing greater for a mother than to bond with their unborn child,” says Greb.
Roy echoed similar sentiments from his perspective as someone with experience in the medical field. “Our development is somewhat timely with what’s happening in our country. Today, in the United States, we have the highest maternal mortality rate of any developed country and it’s sad to think that we’re still in this situation and it’s getting worse and it’s estimated that five Four out of four women die in childbirth — it’s preventable,” Roy said, noting that the disparity is even greater among women of color and women facing poverty.
According to statistics shared in the event description, “Women’s health is a market hidden in plain sight for investors. Women make up 80% of the healthcare workforce, 80% of household healthcare decisions and spend 29% more per capita on healthcare than men — yet only 4 % (research and development) goes specifically to their healthcare products and needs and only 1% of all venture capital healthcare funding goes to women’s health.”
Health care disparities are not only seen in reproductive health but apply to all aspects of women’s health, including the diagnosis and treatment of cardiovascular and autoimmune diseases, which will also be discussed among the conversation topics.
In addition to highlighting Raydiant’s work to exemplify a successful innovation in women’s health, the webinar will address how healthcare practices and life sciences have defaulted to men — for women and their health — and how stakeholders can begin to improve women’s health. Today.
It will also cover what investors are focusing on in women’s health and what spaces and innovations they find exciting, as well as what startups looking to innovate in women’s health should look for in attracting investors, getting funding, and avoiding common pitfalls and challenges.
The event is set for April 25 from 11 a.m. to noon and is free with registration. To register, visit Eventbrite.