Maven Clinic picks up digital health startup Naytal to boost growth in the UK, Europe

Maven Clinic, a virtual health clinic and benefits platform with a focus on women’s health, bought London-based digital health company Naytal to fuel its expansion in the U.K. and Europe.

Founded in 2021 by entrepreneur Leila Thabet, Naytal provides on-demand access to women’s and family health experts to support a broad range of reproductive healthcare needs, from fertility and pregnancy to postpartum care and menopause.

Maven did not disclose the value of the acquisition.

The deal will enhance Maven’s ability to serve its growing membership in the U.K. and gives the company a partner deeply embedded in the region, CEO Kate Ryder told Fierce Healthcare.

Naytal was the first platform in the U.K. to offer on-demand access to dedicated perinatal psychologists and has since expanded its healthcare provider network to more than 25 specialties.

"It builds out some of the local networks here," Ryder said in a phone interview from London. "We already had some providers here including some care advocates but with Naytal it brings on providers across 25 different specialties here locally in the U.K."

Many of Naytal’s accredited U.K.-based women’s health providers will join Maven’s network of providers around the world. Thabet, Naytal founder and CEO, also will join Maven to help oversee global growth and partnerships.

"Leila brings a really strong understanding of the local ecosystem both around what employers are looking for as well as the local health plans here. It was a perfect match," Ryder said.

New York City-based Maven Clinic, which calls itself the largest virtual clinic for women's and family health, launched in 2014 and has rapidly grown, reportedly becoming the first female-focused health startup to surpass a $1 billion valuation in 2021, making it a digital health "unicorn." 

The company reports having 15 million lives under management. Maven banked a $90 million series E round back in November, boosting its valuation to a reported $1.35 billion.

The company has raised $300 million to date from leading investors including General Catalyst, Sequoia, Oak HC/FT, Dragoneer Investment Group and Lux Capital. The company also has gained big-name backers such as Oprah Winfrey and Reese Witherspoon, who are both individual strategic investors.

“Maven’s digital platform has been built to address gaps in reproductive and maternal health globally and meet each member, no matter where they are in the world, with the same level of high-quality, personalized care," Ryder said.

The company has been global since 2017 and now works with employers across 175 countries. The U.K. is Maven's largest market outside of the U.S., with more than 70 employer clients with members in the region.

"Maven has set the standard and paved the way for innovation for women's and family healthcare globally and was an inspiration for me when I started Naytal. I am thrilled to be joining Kate and the team on their mission to provide better access to quality healthcare for women and families in the U.K. and throughout Europe," Thabet said in a statement.

Through Maven, members can access local support through care advocates who understand the cultural and regulatory context of each region, hard-to-access specialists aligned to member needs, culture, language and time zone, and unlimited local steerage to high-quality in-person care, according to the company.

As employers continue to prioritize global parity in their family benefits, Maven’s international footprint has expanded significantly.

"One of the big trends that we've seen from COVID and particularly over the last two years is the acceleration of our global business. Three of our Fortune 10 companies are global with us," Ryder said.

Maven claims to serve approximately half of the Fortune 15 companies and works with major national and regional health plans,

In the U.S. market, Maven expanded its platform in the past year to support members exploring pregnancy options including abortion, as well as beefed up its reimbursement offering to allow employers to reimburse employees’ medical travel costs. 

The company also launched its first Medicaid population in 2022. Maven launched with Arkansas Blue Cross Blue Shield and it is able to be offered as a free benefit to families who are enrolled in the plan, Tech Crunch reported.

Earlier this year, Maven expanded its services to include a dedicated program for menopause and ongoing care. Six weeks after launching that program, the company now has 1.2 million lives covered across 150 employer clients.

"We're talking a lot about menopause in the U.S., but the conversation about menopause was catalyzed here in the U.K. in terms of why so many employers have been interested in it. Menopause is definitely a huge part of the conversation [with employers]. Another huge part of the conversation is fertility benefits. Similar to the U.S. and many other countries, fertility was not part of the mainstream care model here, so a lot of companies are struggling to catch up to really bring better equity to all pathways to parenthood and support employees going through surrogacy or IVF or adoption or egg freezing," Ryder said. "We help employers here to both design the benefit and then manage the care itself."

Return-to-work for new mothers also is top-of-mind for employers when evaluating benefits programs, she noted.

Working with employers to support members in more than 150 countries, Ryder says she sees growing interest from employers and health plans for solutions to address women's and family health that reduce costs and drive better maternal health outcomes.

"Maven was started in London. In the very early days, in 2014, one of the things that I did was gather a bunch of friends and friends of friends into a room to really talk about global women's health issues. The nationalities in the room were British, American, French, German, Indian, Israeli, Spanish; there were a lot of different nationalities and health systems represented in the room. What was so clear is that everybody has the same access issues. Women's health was clearly underserved globally, whether it's specialty care, postpartum support, miscarriage support or whether it's mental health support, fertility care or menopause," she noted.

In building out its global offering, Maven has to consider the existing health systems in each country or region, whether the system is public, private or a combination of both, Ryder said.

"The U.S. is obviously a mixture of both, India is the same way, but in the U.K., it's a public health system run by the NHS. Those dynamics create different focus areas for what people are looking for," she said.

In the U.K., the NHS has a midwifery-based maternity service and a more holistic prenatal and postpartum care model, according to Ryder. "But, it's still very hard to find specialty care and to access fertility care as well. There is still just as much confusion, misinformation and stress around the financial access components of it as much as in the U.S.," she said.

She added, "Every country has its challenges, but with every single market, women's health and more broadly, families, are an underserved customer."

Maven Clinic sees big opportunities to expand in international markets as employers continue to invest in benefits to support women and families.

"We're really thrilled to bring Leila under the umbrella. Her initial focus is on the U.K. and Europe, but 60% of our global clients use Maven to support international employees. We have a fast-growing market globally, not just the U.K. and Europe," Ryder noted.