Welcome to Startups Weekly, a new take on this week’s start and startup trends. To get this in your inbox, subscribe here.
hey jane, a digital health startup scaling up access to abortion pills, makes sense. It is a direct-to-consumer pharmacy that aims to meet consumers where they are, which is especially important as the extended stay pandemic continues.
Hey Jane’s core product has a lot of bureaucracy to deal with. Its main product, abortion pills, is banned or restricted in several states. Add to that the fact that Roe v. Wade will be destroyed and the future of the world could collide with the startup’s mission to expand healthcare. Hey Jane pretty much underscores the potential — and promise — of telehealth startups. But it also operates at the heart of an over-politicized issue.
Earlier this month, I wrote about how digital healthcare startups are bracing for a post-Roe world. Then Hey Jane co-founder Kiki Freedman said the upheaval means that postal abortion care “is now probably the most viable form of access for most of the country.” One hurdle, she expects, will be a lack of consumer education about drug-induced abortions. The majority of abortions performed in the US are through medication, except she says a minority of people have been informed about the nuances of medical abortion. “It is imperative that we continue to educate people about this safe, effective and common abortion option,” she wrote in a statement.
But now I want to follow up on these responses the next day. Next week, I plan to interview Freedman for businesstraverse.com’s Equity podcast and ask her how she can build a business if the mission is irreversibly put to the test by our government; we will talk about the origin story and how they plan to run in the future. I want her to tell me what in the world is going wrong with telemedicine’s ability to answer the biggest health questions right now, and where startups could fit the solution in the future. Are they really educating? a growth round? For the answers, be sure to tune in to the Equity episode where you get podcasts, and, hey, why not start now?
In the rest of this newsletter, we’ll be talking about another round of startup layoffs, why your MVP isn’t the MVP, and a fintech company betting that even your local credit card craves some Netflix & Chill time. As always, you can support me by forwarding this newsletter to a friend or follow me on twitter or my blog.
More layoffs in startup country
Unfortunately, there is more where last week came from. Tech workers experienced another tough week of layoffs and layoffs from startups like Section4, Latch and DataRobot. We have completed some of the well-known staff reductions in one item.
Here’s why it’s important: The impact was felt across sectors ranging from education to security, as well as stages from a post-Series A startup to a recently established SPAC company. To me, that shows how widespread this downturn really is, no matter what stage your business is in. It’s not just the money-rich tech unicorns that are cutting staff; it is also the early stage startups.
Your MVP is not minimal, viable or a product
I’ve been thinking about this headline from Haje Jan Kamps for the past week because it challenges one of those preconceived ideas about startups that everyone else likes to adopt without too much of a fight. Aka, my sweet spot (and my weakness). In this op-ed, Kamps takes a look at why MVP is “such a profound misnomer” and what he should focus on instead.
Here’s why it’s important: Kamps’s new framework and set of questions you should ask your first product should make the complexities of MVPs a little more accessible. And I end with his kicker:
“I have no suggestion of a better name for MVP, but don’t fall into the trap of seeing it as a product, that it’s viable or, necessarily, small, simple or easy. Some MVPs are complex. However, the idea is to spend as little of your precious resources as possible to get your questions answered.”
Jay-Z’s Queen A
For the deal of the week that may have flown under your radar, I’m choosing Altro! This fintech startup, co-founded by Michael Broughton and Ayush Jain, believes that access to credit should be free – so found it an atypical way to help people build credit.
Here’s why it’s important: Altros, which raised an $18 million Series A this week, is helping people build credit through recurring forms of payment such as digital subscriptions to Netflix, Spotify and Hulu. It stands out because many banks targeting low-income, historically disenfranchised people want to bypass credit scores altogether — while Altros wants to tweak access to an established system. I highly recommend reading Mary Ann’s story about the company’s origins, its fundraising journey, and the limelight — and subscribing to her newsletter, The Interchange.
during the week
Seen on businesstraverse.com
Seen on businesstraverse.com+
Until next time,