Serena Williams is going into business with Mark Cuban to fight maternal mortality.
Black women are three times more likely to die from pregnancy or childbirth-related causes. Williams became one of those women when she faced extreme difficulties during the birth of her daughter back in 2018. Now, Williams wants to change that narrative for Black women alike, by investing in a startup company called Mahmee, which works towards ending the maternal mortality crisis-affected Black women.
According to the Center of Disease Control, about 700 women die from pregnancy-related issues in the United States every year. Three in five of those deaths are preventable, and one-third of those deaths happen up to a year after the birth. Williams, along with billionaire “Shark Tank” investor, Cuban, has invested $3 million into the company.
“I am incredibly excited to invest and partner with Mahmee, a company that personifies my firm’s investment philosophy,” Williams said in a statement.
“Given the bleak data surrounding maternal death and injury rates, I believe that it is absolutely critical right now to invest in solutions that help protect the lives of moms and babies.” Mahmee was founded in 2014 and is an online platform that assists women with tracking their health and the health of their child after birth. The site also features supplemental health professionals, including lactation consultants who can help mothers with basic questions.
“Technology’s not going to save the world, it’s not going to save the maternal health care industry,” says Mahmee CEO Melissa Hanna. She co-founded the company with her mother, Linda Hanna-Sperber, a longtime nurse and lactation consultant, and a third co-founder, Sunny Walia. “It can be a component of a solution here,” she says. Mahmee is also connected to well-known health facilities like Cedars-Sinai Medical Center and Children’s Hospital Los Angeles. This partnership will reach consumers of different income levels. Patients who receive health coverage through Medicaid, for instance, can use the Mahmee platform if her hospital offers it.