Starting PreConception Inc. was a gradual decision that actually happened over several years. I was working as a women’s health PA and saw the same story from women over and over again - they had gone to their doctors before pregnancy and were told to take a prenatal vitamin - that’s it! Then I would see them during their pregnancy and we’d discover they had pregnancy complications that could have been identified and corrected before pregnancy if they had only received the appropriate testing upfront. After literally years of seeing this over and over again, I realized that women needed direct access to the tests that were recommended before pregnancy so that they could take control of their own health.
I knew that women wanted this information just from speaking with them during my years in clinical practice. Once I decided on a potential model to use we conducted some early market research and discovered that 90% of women reported that they’d be interested in a service like PreConception.
We got our first three customers through word of mouth. We aim to help women in the U.S. who want to become pregnant in the next 12 months or so.
Did you have any experience/expertise in the area?
I had a lot of experience in women’s health and had spent hundreds of hours reading the medical literature that supported preconception testing but no experience in business, marketing, or tech. Luckily my co-founder Sean joined me early on and was able to develop our website and app all by himself!
Currently our company is self-funded, although we are considering fundraising now to allow us to scale the company.
Where did you meet your cofounder/founding team?
My boyfriend posted on Facebook that I was looking for a developer and luckily Sean’s boyfriend volunteered his name. I was backpacking Southeast Asia at the time and so our first few meetings were actually through Facetime.
What motivated you to start your own business?
The U.S. has the worst maternal death rate of any developed country in the world and many pregnancy outcomes, both for the woman and the child, are directly related to a woman’s health before pregnancy. Knowing this and that the majority of women do not receive any preconception care, let alone testing, from their healthcare providers genuinely kept me up at night. It felt like I was in an alternate universe at times knowing how much research was available that showed the benefits of preconception testing, yet working in a system where few of my colleagues seemed to have any awareness of, nor desire to provide, this service.
What were your family and friends first thoughts on PreConception Inc.?
We actually had, and continue to have, amazing support from friends and family. My friends are our target demographic, so to see the lightbulb moment when they realize why preconception testing is so important but realize that they’ve never been given this information is a real driving force for me.
What motivates you when things go wrong? What is the end goal?
Realizing that every day, thousands of women are suffering from preventable pregnancy complications, simply because they didn’t have access to the information they deserved is the major motivating factor for me. It’s a true failure of our healthcare system. Our goal is to make sure every woman who desires a pregnancy has access to the information they need to optimize their health before pregnancy and ultimately provide a better start for themselves and their future children.
For someone just starting out, just keep taking steps towards your goal, even if they seem small. I had no idea how to start a healthtech company when I came up with the idea but I just started taking action and a year later, PreConception was available to women nationwide!
What is stopping you being 3x the size you are now?
There’s definitely an educational barrier that we’re working to overcome. Because most Ob/Gyns don’t talk about the preconception period and the importance of testing before pregnancy, women don’t even realize this is something they need. Bringing awareness to the benefits of preconception testing and really changing the idea of what it looks like to plan a pregnancy in the 21st century is an important component of our growth strategy.
What are your favourite podcasts?
How I Built This and The White Coat Investor
What are the next products you’re working on?
We currently offer one test package that we call the “Essential” test package -- this includes all of the tests that women should have, at minimum, before becoming pregnant. We’re planning to launch a second, more comprehensive test package that will include additional tests directly related to pregnancy outcomes as well in the upcoming months.
We’d love to expand our service to provide full coverage preconception care, including telemedicine consultations in the future, as well as to partner with healthcare systems to expand patient access and to reach additional populations.