Challenge statement

How can we prevent maternal mortality in the U.S. before, during and after birth?

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: Prenatal care
How can we support access to regular prenatal care to identify and mitigate potential risk factors earlier?
E.g. Telemedicine, wearables, alternative point-of-care solutions, novel care delivery models

Track 2: Delivery
How can we lower the incidence of maternal health complications in the U.S.?
E.g. Inequitable birth outcomes, preeclampsia, emergency c-sections, preterm birth

Track 3: Postpartum support
How can we support mothers during the 12 months after giving birth?
E.g. Depression, anxiety, suicidality, postpartum hemorrhage, postpartum preeclampsia


Earlier this year, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention published a report showing that the number of women who died from pregnancy or a pregnancy-related cause in the U.S. in 2021 increased by 40 percent from 2020.1 This rate of maternal mortality in the U.S. is now the highest since 1965, and the U.S. fares worse than any other industrialized nation.

While all ages and races saw an increase in maternal mortality in 2021, Black mothers remain the most affected.2 Black women are 2.6 times more likely to die from pregnancy or pregnancy-related causes than white women in the U.S.

MATTER and 51 Labs partners Health Care Service Corporation, Laerdal Million Lives Fund, BayCare, Parkview Health, University of Chicago Medicine, Organon and Stryker call on global innovators to submit applications with innovative healthcare solutions that prevent maternal mortality in the U.S. before, during and after birth. The selected cohort will participate in a virtual, twelve-week, bespoke accelerator from March 4 to May 24, 2024. The accelerator will culminate with a live showcase bolstered by perspectives throughout the women’s health community.

Benefits of participation

  • Receive an investment of $125,000, including $100,000 cash from the Laerdal Million Lives Fund and $25,000 worth of services from MATTER
  • Engage with other cutting-edge startups
  • Network with peers and leading influencers
  • Gain exposure to the MATTER, HCSC, Laerdal Million Lives Fund, BayCare, Parkview Health, University of Chicago Medicine, Organon and Stryker communities
  • Refine their value propositions
  • Pitch to potential investors, partners and clients at the final showcase
  • Graduate with actionable next steps to further advance their solutions over the subsequent six months
  • Receive a complimentary, six-month MATTER membership

Participants will be expected to dedicate approximately six to eight hours per week to accelerator assignments and activities, such as one-on-one mentoring with industry experts, workshops, interactive roundtable discussions, forums and more.


December 12, 2023: Applications open
February 4, 2024: Applications close
February 23, 2024: Cohort announced
March 4 - May 24, 2024: Accelerator
May 22, 2024: Final showcase

Who should apply?

We’re seeking entrepreneurs who are developing a solution that prevents maternal mortality in the U.S. before, during or after birth. 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 maternal health application, you can still apply as long as there is a potential use case for preventing maternal mortality in the U.S. before, during or after birth. Read the 51 Labs FAQs for more information.

Selection criteria

  • 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 prevent maternal mortality in the U.S. before, during or after birth

Investment terms

  • Each participating company will receive $125,000 worth of cash and services in the form of a post-money SAFE that converts into 5% of the company upon a qualified financing.
  • The investment will have two components: Laerdal Million Lives Fund will invest $100,000 cash and MATTER will invest $25,000 worth of services.

Submission process

Applications will be open from December 12, 2023, until February 4, 2024, at 11:59pm CT. By February 23, MATTER will select and notify up to 10 teams to participate in the accelerator from March 4-May 24, 2024. Each participant will give a final presentation at the final showcase on May 22, 2024.

Want to get involved?

If you’re interested in joining 51 Labs as a partner, mentor or speaker email

Thank you to our anchor partners

Thank you to our marketing partners

Thank you to our health system partners


  1. Maternal Mortality Rates in the United States, 2021,” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 2023.
  2. U.S. Maternal Mortality Hits Highest Level Since 1965,” The Wall Street Journal, 2023.


At MATTER, we believe collaboration is the best way to improve healthcare. The MATTER collaborative includes more than 800 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 and follow @MATTERhealth.

About Health Care Service Corporation

Health Care Service Corporation is the country’s largest customer-owned health insurer, serving more than 18.6 million members in its health plans in Illinois, Montana, New Mexico, Oklahoma and Texas. A Mutual Legal Reserve Company, HCSC is an independent licensee of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association.

About Laerdal Million Lives Fund

The Million Lives Fund invests in entrepreneurs who are developing and deploying new, emerging technologies capable of saving lives and enhancing healthcare quality and outcomes regardless of demographics or geography. The $100 million fund targets digital health and technology companies whose solutions can improve mortality rates and help reach its goal of helping to save 1 million lives annually by 2030. Investments span across medical education innovations to early interventions, therapeutics and tech-enabled care models. For more information, visit Laerdal Million Lives Fund.

About BayCare

BayCare is a leading not-for-profit healthcare system that connects individuals and families to a wide range of services at 16 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 1.3 million. Parkview Health’s mission is to improve health and inspire well-being in the communities it serves. With more than 16,000 co-workers, it is the region’s largest employer. Parkview Health includes 13 hospitals and an extensive network of primary care and specialty care physicians. The flagship Parkview Regional Medical Center campus includes services such as the Parkview Packnett Family Cancer Institute, Parkview Heart Institute, Samaritan flight and ground transport program, Parkview Ortho Hospital, a certified stroke center, verified adult and pediatric trauma centers, Women’s & Children’s Hospital and an outpatient services center. Parkview has been named one of America’s Best-In-State Employers by Forbes and made Newsweek’s list of Top 100 Most Loved Workplaces.

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 micro-hospital in northwest Indiana, 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.

About Organon

Organon is a global healthcare company formed to focus on improving the health of women throughout their lives. Organon offers more than 60 medicines and products in women’s health in addition to a growing biosimilars business and a large franchise of established medicines across a range of therapeutic areas. Organon’s existing products produce strong cash flows that support investments in innovation and future growth opportunities in women’s health and biosimilars. In addition, Organon is pursuing opportunities to collaborate with biopharmaceutical innovators looking to commercialize their products by leveraging its scale and presence in fast growing international markets.

Organon has a global footprint with significant scale and geographic reach, world-class commercial capabilities, and approximately 10,000 employees with headquarters located in Jersey City, New Jersey.

For more information, visit Organon and connect with us on LinkedIn, Instagram, Twitter and Facebook.

About Stryker

Stryker is a global leader in medical technologies and, together with its customers, is driven to make healthcare better. The company offers innovative products and services in MedSurg, Neurotechnology, Orthopaedics and Spine that help improve patient and healthcare outcomes. Alongside its customers around the world, Stryker impacts more than 130 million patients annually. More information is available at Stryker.