Meet Malama Health: technology for healthier pregnancies
Updated: Nov 21, 2022
Company: Malama Health Founders: Mika Eddy, Daniela Bahamon Arango, Orlando Li
Women’s Health Vertical: Maternal
Malama Health aims to improve maternal and childbirth outcomes related to high risk pregnancies. Malama's first product replaces an archaic pen and paper system for pregnant people diagnosed with gestational diabetes, a condition that affects nearly 1 in 5 pregnancies. Their HIPAA-compliant remote monitoring makes it easy for patients and providers to track glucose and meal data.
Why we Invested?
In the U.S, every pregnant woman is tested for gestational diabetes, and about one in five of pregnant women are diagnosed with the disease, with numbers increasing significantly each year. Gestational diabetes can have significant impacts on maternal and birth outcomes, including higher rates of cesarean births and premature births. Managing gestational diabetes isn’t cheap - each case costs an average of $5,800, translating to $2 billion per year in the US faced by patients, providers, and ultimately payers. Despite the pervasiveness of gestational diabetes and the detrimental impacts it has on the lives of mothers and babies, the current offerings are outdated, manual, and inadequate. Current standards of care often require patients to manually keep track of their symptoms. When Mika Eddy, the CEO of Malama’s Health, was trying to manage her own gestational diabetes, she knew there was a better way. This experience, along with co-founders Orlando and Daniela, helped Mika build Malama Health.
While their remote monitoring app reduces the data collection burden on the mother, what sets Malama Health apart is their focus on providers. Traditionally, providers are extremely taxed with the amount of time and data treating gestational diabetes requires. Malama Health offers tailored insights for each patient’s progress and is currently building out a direct connection from their platform to provider’s EHRs. Malama Health also has recognized the importance of payers in the healthcare system and plan to use their pilots to display cost savings and improved outcomes to capture payer contracts
What differentiates them in the market relative to competitors?
Malama Health’s differentiator in the market is the team is laser focused on improving the management and care of gestational diabetes. Currently, Malama Health’s competitors are either focused on tracking women’s health data, like fertility or pregnancy, or are focused exclusively on general diabetes. This is a key differentiator because Malama Health has built a product and business model that is focused on the complexities and realities of gestational diabetes. Patients are looking for a product that is flexible, consumer friendly, and provider supported. Providers are looking for a solution that is accurate, compliant, and reduces administrative work. Additionally, if competitors do enter the gestational diabetes space, it is unlikely they will be able to replicate the ecosystem between patients and providers that Malama Health has effectively created.
The application allows women with gestational diabetes to automatically track their glucose readings, provides detailed and culturally competent diet and food suggestions, and monitors moods. Providers are equally involved - with a provider portal that aggregates all patient data in a comprehensive platform with patient trends and insights readily available for care teams. Malama Health recognized a lack of technology enabled solutions for those with gestational diabetes. While gestational diabetes is Malama Health’s beachhead indication - the team will eventually expand into other maternal behavioral-based disorders that could be positively impacted by Malama Health’s technology.
Why the founder/CEO is amazing, more about the rest of the team?
Mika Eddy recognized the gap in offerings for women facing a common disease during her own diagnosis and built one for the modern world. She has a deep understanding in both healthcare and data from her time at L.E.K, DeciBio, a data company focused on providing tools in life science and clinical diagnostics, and UnitedHealthcare, where she was the Director of Product Innovation. Daniela Bahamon the CCO, and Co-Founder, brings a long tenure building products and successfully marketing them to the end user. She founded Maison Alma, a luxury goods label where she managed a remote multidisciplinary sales, operations, and communications team. Lastly, Orlando Li, the CTO and Co-Founder brings technical expertise and knowledge. Orlando has been a software engineer at multiple tech companies, most recently AirBnb.
How Coyote Ventures met the team, progress they have made since we invested?
Malama Health’s CCO Daniela Bahamon met Coyote Ventures GP Jess Karr at a Vive Collective event (selfie below!). During Malama Health’s participation in YC, the team focused on building and launching their app. Since Coyote Venture’s investment, the team at Malama Health has been busy! As of September 2022, the Malama Health product is being used in 6 pilots with a pipeline of 30 more payers and providers. The team is executing on its payer strategy, and is in early talks with a regional payer in California.
How the company is advancing the conversation around Maternal Health?
Despite gestational diabetes’ widespread impact on the lives of pregnant women both in the U.S and globally, there are extremely limited ways that patients and providers can easily track and understand the disease. This has led to both providers and patients with an overwhelming amount of data that is disjointed and decentralized. Malama Health is providing the technology that eliminates the burden of tracking, and instead will enable patients and providers to understand and act with data.
Going forward: Vision of the Company
While Malama Health is starting with gestational diabetes, it recognizes that there are many maternal indications, specifically those impacted by diet and lifestyle, that could benefit from Malama Health’s technology and focus on data. Mothers are looking for ways to incorporate their provider’s advice in a centralized and easily accessible way. Providers, overwhelmed by the administrative burden that large amounts of data entail, are looking for ways to easily monitor and understand their patient’s progress. Malama Health’s technology and strategy will allow mothers and providers to work together to improve the health and outcome of each pregnancy.
Cheryl Cheng (Vive Collective), Daniela Bahamon Arango (Malama Health), and Jessica Karr (Coyote Ventures)