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Maven CEO Kate Ryder On Launching & Running Her Business

Posted November 11, 2015 by Adrienne Smith in Justworks Love
We spoke with Kate Ryder, CEO of Maven, about launching a business, getting investments, and where she turns for business advice.

Kate Ryder, CEO of Maven, is attending our year anniversary of Justwomen

We're gearing up for our first anniversary of Justwomen, a quarterly event we host to celebrate female CEOs, founders, and entrepreneurs. 

Our anniversary event on November 16th features Katherine Ryder, founder and CEO of Maven, and Anu Duggal, the founding partner of F Cubed

At Justwomen, Katherine and Anu will discuss the nature of investments and investing in the startup world. 

We also caught up with Katherine beforehand. As the founder and CEO of Maven, Katherine oversees the first digital clinic for women. Maven is a platform that empowers the female healthcare consumer to get access to better health information and services. 

Previously, Katherine worked as an early stage investor at Index Ventures, where she focused on consumer technology, and in particular on investments in the health, education, art, and retail sectors.

Prior to joining Index, Katherine worked as a journalist, writing for The Economist from Southeast Asia, New York, and London. In 2009, she worked with former U.S. Treasury Secretary Hank Paulson, helping him write his memoirs. 

Read on to learn more about Maven, about Katherine's career history, and about her favorite business advice.

Interested in attending Justwomen? Shoot us an e-mail at justwomen@justworks.com.

Can't make the event? We'll be live tweeting the event at #justwomen on our @JustworksHR Twitter account.

Why did you decide to start your current company?

I started Maven to empower women to take control of their health and wellness via better information and access to the best women's and family health providers.

During my 20s and early 30s, I witnessed first-hand just how many gaps there are in healthcare for women. Even as a college student, if you need birth control, you need to navigate the health system independently in a way that is entirely unique to women.

This happens again when you think about starting a family. I'm surrounded by friends who have had subpar experiences with the fertility industry, and navigating pregnancy, childbirth, and early motherhood.

Most of the family care falls on a woman's shoulders too. Nothing really prepares you for these experiences, but they are complex and can be confusing.

A lot of what’s needed isn’t formal care — but rather someone to talk to, who can answer basic questions, who can help you understand if what you are going through is normal. This is especially true when it’s so easy to Google your symptoms and misdiagnose yourself or your children with some horrible disease.

What was your biggest "win" around getting investments?

My biggest "win" was raising $2.2m before we launched as a first-time entrepreneur who had just moved from London to New York.

And what was your biggest challenge around getting investments?

The challenge: given that investors are disproportionately male, it was (and probably always will be) challenging to get some people excited about Maven's mission as well as women's health as a business opportunity. I even met one healthcare investor who didn't think there are problems in the fertility market in New York City!

What women empower you?

My mom. My aunts. My grandmother. My sister. My friends. The females on my team. My female investors and advisors (I actually have a lot of female investors and advisors!). Basically, most women around me.

What's the best piece of advice someone has given you?

Work hard early in life so you don't have to work as hard later in life.

Where do you turn when you need business advice?

Most of the time, I turn to my dad. He's an entrepreneur as well. Many of Maven's investors have operating experience so I turn to them as well.

What are you currently reading?

Karen Joy Fowler's latest novel, "We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves."

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This material has been prepared for informational purposes only, and is not intended to provide, and should not be relied on for, legal or tax advice. If you have any legal or tax questions regarding this content or related issues, then you should consult with your professional legal or tax advisor.