Guest author Jennifer Newell launched Betty’s Co. as the COVID-19 pandemic changed how we access services, including critical healthcare. She shares how joining the Geekdom co-working community helped her accelerate the building of her company.
The primary narrative of women’s health is centered around pregnancy – preventing it, attaining it, managing it. And that rang true in my own life. Females experience women’s healthcare through this lens.
Reducing women’s health to this singular narrative comes with a host of consequences. The pregnancy narrative is what has conditioned us to believe that women don’t need women’s-specific healthcare until they are sexually active. This often leaves younger women out of the healthcare equation until it’s too late.
The way healthcare is structured now led me to launch a women’s wellness company that doesn’t follow this script because we need to rewrite how to provide care for younger women’s unique needs.
Betty’s Co. is a one-stop shop for women’s healthcare, offering the care, products, and resources younger women need to stay well. Named after two remarkable women, my grandmother and grandmother-in-law, Betty’s Co. provides gynecology, mental health, and wellness care that meets younger women where they are, virtually via a custom care platform and in-person via a mobile clinic.
If I was going to become a first-time founder, I quickly realized technology would be fundamental in building Betty’s Co. and that I would need a strong supporting community like what I’ve found at the downtown coworking space called Geekdom.
As we learned more about starting a company, my husband and I were repositioning ourselves financially to begin a business, adjusting our dual-income to a one-income household. Then COVID-19 brought unprecedented changes, adjustments, and challenges as we were building Betty’s.
While the pandemic delayed the launch of Betty’s, it did give us time to pursue San Antonio’s startup ecosystem resources.
The Boom: San Antonio Resources
To “make a boom” would require I tap into and utilize the treasure trove of resources I’d spent years cultivating. I’d made early connections with past mentors in the healthcare industry, attended networking events throughout San Antonio – such as Health Cell and Healthcare Think Tank, talked with other small business owners, and called connections my husband had fostered at Geekdom for recommendations.
Betty’s Co. launched when our resources and initial research collided. We had been already working with UTSA’s Small Business Development Center to understand how to apply for funding from the Small Business Administration (SBA).
In late 2020, we first pitched to Geekdom’s Community Fund in their quarterly competition to win $25,000 in seed funding. While our first pitch was unsuccessful, we earned the investment on our second try in December 2020. Geekdom was actually Betty’s Co.’s first source of capital, which incidentally enabled us to finance the technology needed to make virtual care possible.
We had the plan, the capital, we even had a go-live date on the calendar. Betty’s Co. was well on its way to becoming a reality.
The Impact: Pursuing Purpose
We’ve made our first round of hires, including a gynecologist, nurse, care coordinator, marketing director, and two summer interns. It is no longer just me with a conviction, but a team of like-minded women who, like me, were asking the same question themselves: How can we better serve young women?
We’ve also seen our first few patients, who have affirmed Betty’s purpose with feedback such as, “I felt heard [and] cared for” and “[the doctor] was so easy to talk to.”
This is only the beginning, though. With the ever-changing landscape of women’s health, we acknowledge the uphill battles on the way to impact and change.
To truly break down the barriers surrounding women’s health, Betty’s Co. needs to continue to detonate the healthcare status quo from the inside. We’ll work to address the gaping care gap for girls who feel too old for pediatricians, have difficulty even getting through the door, are unable to afford expensive care costs, or cannot make commitments due to the highly transitory nature of their lives.
Betty’s aims to not only dismantle, but rewrite the standard of care by empowering, educating, and engaging young women across all lines without judgment.
Betty’s success will depend on the community to spread the word and support our mission. I want to encourage anyone with a young woman in their lives to share the news that Betty’s Co. is here to support them.
The featured image is of Jennifer Newell who launched Betty’s Co., a female-focused healthcare company. Courtesy photo.