How might we empower and support women+ during their menopausal transition with innovative healthcare solutions?
Solutions can include one or a combination of the priority areas listed below. Preference will be given to solutions that address the needs of underrepresented women+.
Track 1: Awareness and identification
Seeking solutions that better prepare women+ to identify their menopausal transition
Examples include: Providing education, support or community building; identifying the onset of symptoms; creating awareness about how menopausal transition can impact quality of life (intimacy, work life, etc.); and creating more equitable access to care
Track 2: Symptom and lifestyle management
Seeking solutions that support women+ to better manage the symptoms of their menopausal transition
Examples include: Addressing and tracking common symptoms and issues such as hot flashes and night sweats, sexual health, menstruation changes, mood and mental health, nutrition, sleep management, bone health, brain fog and memory that can impact overall wellness; and creating more equitable access to care
Despite women+ comprising 51 percent of the population, women+’s health has long been underfunded, underrepresented and lacking in innovation.1 There are hundreds of conditions and diseases that affect only or mostly women+, or that present differently in women+ — such as menopause, breast cancer and heart disease. Despite its prevalence, women+’s health has inaccurately been categorized as a niche space, with only five percent of all U.S. digital health funding going to women+’s health startups.2
The inaugural 51 Labs accelerator will focus on accelerating solutions that empower and support women+ during their menopausal transition, with preference given to solutions that address the needs of underrepresented women+. The menopausal transition is the biological transition that marks the end of a woman+’s menstrual cycle and fertility. Women+ spend seven-to-14 years in perimenopause and menopause and experience any combination of 34 different symptoms, including hot flashes, night sweats, mood and mental health changes, weight gain, brain fog, worsening memory, painful intercourse and more.3,4 There has been relatively little innovation focused on menopause, and with 1.3 million U.S. women+ entering their menopausal transition each year, this life stage is prime for innovation.5
Furthermore, menopause is compounded by disparate health outcomes for women+ who have been historically marginalized. For example, Black women+ enter menopause earlier than white women+, experience worse symptoms and are less likely to receive treatment.6,7
MATTER, alongside Astellas Pharma US, Walgreens, BayCare, Parkview Health and University of Chicago Medicine, call on global innovators to submit applications with innovative healthcare solutions that empower and support women+ during their menopausal transition. From the pool of applicants, they will select a cohort of startups to participate in a virtual twelve-week, bespoke accelerator from November 28, 2022, to March 2, 2023. The accelerator will culminate with a live showcase bolstered by perspectives throughout the women+’s health community.
The ‘+’ in women+ encompasses the full spectrum of health needs experienced by cisgender women, including non-binary, trans, non-cis and all women-identified persons. The term ‘women+’ was coined by Rock Health.
Benefits of participation:
Accelerator participants should expect to:
- Rapidly develop your business and your entrepreneurship skill set, dedicating approximately 8-12 hours per week to accelerator assignments and activities, such as one-on-one mentoring with industry experts, workshops, interactive roundtable discussions, all cohort forums and more
- Engage with other cutting-edge startups
- Network with peers and leading influencers
- Gain exposure to the MATTER, Astellas, Walgreens, BayCare, Parkview Health and University of Chicago Medicine communities
- Refine your value proposition
- Pitch to potential investors, partners and clients at the final showcase
- Graduate with actionable next steps to further advance your solution over the subsequent six months
- Receive a free, six-month MATTER membership
September 19: Applications open
November 6: Applications close
November 17: Cohort announced
November 28-March 2, 2023: Accelerator
March 2, 2023: Final showcase
Who should apply?
We’re seeking entrepreneurs who are developing a solution that empowers and supports women+ during their menopausal transition. This global call for solutions is open to individuals and teams from across the innovation ecosystem — from university researchers, students, entrepreneurs and existing startups of all stages. Solutions can range from early-stage concepts to marketed solutions. If your solution does not currently have a menopausal transition application, you can still apply as long as there is a potential use case for empowering and supporting women+ during their menopausal transition.
Submissions will be evaluated with the following criteria in mind:
- Ability to clearly articulate the challenge statement addressed in the accelerator description
- Quality, feasibility and scale of proposed solution or technology
- Differentiation of solution within the competitive landscape
- Capability of participant/team to develop and execute solution
- Ability of the solution to empower and support women+ during their menopausal transition
Applications will be open from September 19, 2022, until November 6, 2022, at 11:59pm CT. By November 17, MATTER will select and notify up to 10 teams to participate in the accelerator from November 28–March 2, 2023. Each participant will give a presentation at the final showcase on March 2, 2023.
Want to get involved?
If you’re interested in joining 51 Labs as a partner, collaborator, mentor or speaker, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Thank you to our partners and sponsors
Thank you to our collaborators
- “Population Distribution by Sex,” Kaiser Family Foundation, 2019.
- “Building comprehensive women+ digital health: Eight sectors serving women+ needs,” Rock Health, September 27, 2021.
- “What Is Menopause?,” National Institute on Aging, 2021.
- “What are the 34 symptoms of menopause?,” Medical News Today, 2021.
- “Menopause,” National Library of Medicine, 2022.
- “Disparities in Reproductive Aging and Midlife Health between Black and White women: The Study of Women’s Health Across the Nation (SWAN),” Women’s Midlife Health, 2022.
- “25 years of research shows insidious effect of racism on Black women’s menopausal transition, health,” University of Michigan School of Public Health, 2022.
At MATTER, we believe collaboration is the best way to improve healthcare. The MATTER collaborative includes more than 700 current and alumni startups from around the world, working together with dozens of hospitals and health systems, universities and industry-leading companies to build the future of healthcare. Together we are accelerating innovation, advancing care and improving lives. For more information, visit matter.health and follow @MATTERhealth.
About Astellas Pharma US, Inc.
Astellas Pharma US, Inc. is a U.S. affiliate of Tokyo-based Astellas Pharma Inc., a pharmaceutical conducting business in more than 70 countries around the world. Astellas stands on the forefront of healthcare change to turn innovative science into value for patients. Keeping our focus on addressing unmet medical needs and conducting our business with ethics and integrity enables us to improve the health of people throughout the U.S. and around the world. For more information on Astellas, please visit: www.astellas.com/us. You can also follow us on Twitter at @AstellasUS, Facebook at www.facebook.com/AstellasUS or LinkedIn at www.linkedin.com/company/astellas-pharma-us.
Walgreens (www.walgreens.com) is included in the United States segment of Walgreens Boots Alliance, Inc. (Nasdaq: WBA), an integrated healthcare, pharmacy and retail leader serving millions of customers and patients every day, with a 170-year heritage of caring for communities. As America’s most loved pharmacy, health and beauty company, Walgreens purpose is to champion the health and well-being of every community in America. Operating nearly 9,000 retail locations across America, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands, Walgreens is proud to be a neighborhood health destination serving approximately 9 million customers each day. Walgreens pharmacists play a critical role in the U.S. healthcare system by providing a wide range of pharmacy and healthcare services. To best meet the needs of customers and patients, Walgreens offers a true omnichannel experience, with fully integrated physical and digital platforms, supported by the latest technology to deliver high-quality products and services in local communities nationwide.
BayCare is a leading not-for-profit healthcare system that connects individuals and families to a wide range of services at 15 hospitals and hundreds of other convenient locations throughout the Tampa Bay and central Florida regions. The system is West Central Florida’s largest provider of behavioral health and pediatric services and its provider group, BayCare Medical Group, is one of the largest in the region. BayCare’s diverse network of ambulatory services includes laboratories, imaging, surgical centers, BayCare Urgent Care locations, wellness centers and one of Florida’s largest home care agencies, BayCare HomeCare. Its Medicare Advantage insurance, BayCarePlus, is among the region’s few 5-star-rated plans and the system is ranked in the top 20 percent of large health systems in the country by FORUTNE/MerativeTM. BayCare’s mission is to improve the health of all it serves through community-owned, health care services that set the standard for high-quality, compassionate care.
About Parkview Health
Parkview Health is a not-for-profit, community-based health system serving a northeast Indiana and northwest Ohio population of more than 895,000. Parkview Health’s mission is to improve health and inspire well-being in the communities it serves. With more than 14,000 employees, Parkview is the region’s largest employer.
Parkview Health includes 10 hospitals and an extensive network of primary care and specialty care physicians. Parkview has been designated a Magnet® health system for nursing excellence.
About University of Chicago Medicine
The University of Chicago Medicine, with a history dating back to 1927, is one of the nation’s leading academic medical institutions. UChicago Medicine comprises the University of Chicago Medical Center, which offers a full range of primary and specialty care for adults and children through more than 40 institutes and centers; Ingalls Memorial, a community-based hospital and outpatient facility; a network of outpatient clinics and physician practices throughout Chicagoland and Northwest Indiana; the Pritzker School of Medicine, one of the top medical schools in the nation; and the University of Chicago Biological Sciences Division, with an affiliated 12 Nobel Prize winners in physiology or medicine.