When Joanna Strober was around 47, she stopped sleeping. While losing sleep is a common symptom of perimenopause, she first had to go to multiple providers, including driving 45 minutes out of San Francisco to pay $750 out of pocket, to get that diagnosis and proper treatment.

“That feeling of wow, I’ve really been suffering unnecessarily for the past year really stuck with me,” Strober said on a recent episode of TechCrunch’s Found podcast. “I started talking to all my friends and trying to understand what’s going on with them and what became clear is that perimenopause and menopause is this big thing. It kind of hits women like a pile of bricks. There’s lots of different symptoms to it and there are very few providers who are trained to take care of this population.”

That realization is what inspired Strober to launch Midi Health, a telehealth platform designed to serve women in midlife by connecting them with providers who are trained in perimenopause and menopause symptoms and treatments.

Despite her “aha” moment, Strober explained why she couldn’t launch the startup right away. She said that Midi couldn’t have existed had the U.S. government not changed its rules surrounding telehealth and where people could access care during the pandemic. Because of the changes surrounding digital health, Strober said the company was able to launch its platform that brought care to women as opposed to women having to find in-person care.

“Understanding that this problem that had been around for a long time and could finally be addressed using telehealth was a very exciting revelation,” Strober said. “And that’s why I wanted to start this company.”

Midi operates a little bit differently than many of the other digital health companies started in the post-pandemic wave, Strober said. She said Midi isn’t set up to be a digital avenue for users to get one-off care or treatment as fast as possible like many other companies of the same era, but rather to be a platform where women build long-term relationships with providers that make them feel seen.

This approach is also why Strober thinks Midi has been able to keep growing and raising VC funds as VCs have become less interested in the category. The company recently raised a $60 million Series B round led by Emerson Collective with participation from Google Ventures, SteelSky Ventures, and Muse Capital, among others. This round brings the company’s total funding to $99 million.

Digital health startups raised $13.2 billion globally in 2023, according to CB Insights data. This marks a decrease of 48% from 2022, at $25.5 billion, and a decrease of 75% from 2021 when a record $52.7 billion was invested.

“I think too few telehealth companies didn’t think about that long-term customer relationship,” Strober said. “We view ourselves as building a healthcare trusted brand. So our brand is expert care for women. We need to give you that amazing care so you come back to us over and over and over again. That is what women are doing.”

Midi isn’t Strober’s first digital health startup and she talked about how her past experience building Kurbo Health, a startup focused on child obesity before digital health was even a thing, influenced her choices in building Midi. She also talked about how her past life as a venture capitalist also played a role in how she approached the business.

With this latest round of funding, Midi looks forward to expanding care in areas that fall under perimenopause and menopause, including things like sexual wellness, hair and skin care and access to testosterone.

“People keep on asking, you know, when are you leaving perimenopause and menopause?” Strober said. “But perimenopause and menopause is a big market. So we are working a lot on understanding what are the health needs of women during this period of their life and how do we appropriately rise to meet those concerns.”

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