April 2020 Power Womxn
We’re committed to uplifting the amazing womxn in tech who are working to ensure that everyone – no matter who they are or where they live – can achieve reproductive well-being. Brought to you by Pandia Health, we are pleased to launch the Power Womxn series in which we will feature womxn FemTech leaders and founders who are out to change the world!
This month’s Power Womxn is Dr. Sophia Yen, CEO and Co-founder of Pandia Health.
Why has Pandia Health decided to support the Power Womxn series?
As the only female founder and CEO of a company that specializes in telehealth prescriptions and home delivery of birth control, I want company. There are simply not enough womxn in FemTech and those who are get less recognition compared to their male counterparts. So, my vision for this series is that it showcases the amazing womxn leaders and founders in this space, as well as inspires other womxn to become FemTech founders and leaders.
Why is featuring the FemTech space so important to you?
FemTech is an emerging space that is so important to supporting womxn in meeting their reproductive and sexual health goals. Information is power and access is essential for this to happen, and the digital space allows us to scale that access more quickly.
What inspired you to start/lead your company?
My lifelong passion is preventing unplanned pregnancy and make womxn’s lives better. Six years ago, I was giving a talk to physicians covering the reasons why womxn don’t take their birth control, and one of the top reasons cited was “they didn’t have it on hand.” So, we thought, what if we shipped birth control pills right to womxn’s doors to eliminate that barrier? We learned early on that 60% of women who respond to an online ad for “free birth control delivery” lacked a prescription. So, we added that service as well to provide access, which is now available in California, Florida, and Texas. Our goal is to be the end-to-end solution for women who don’t want to get pregnant right now or who need birth control for other uses such as PCOS, endometriosis, painful periods, and heavy periods.
How does your work help give people the tools to achieve reproductive well-being?
Pandia Health is the only women founded, women led, doctor led company in birth control delivery. This gives us a competitive edge because as that leader, I have a better pulse on what womxn want and need. I live, breathe, eat, and prescribe birth control. I’m building this company to make my life, my friends’ lives, my daughter’s lives better.
We offer women the end-to-end solution to avoid an unplanned pregnancy or to take one thing off your “to do” list and allow you to #SkipTheTrip to the pharmacy each month and do so with high quality and client-centered care, convenience, and confidentiality. A part of that quality care is to ensure that our clients understand that we are not a replacement for their primary care providers. We educate and encourage our clients to keep up with their well womxn visits, PAP smears, and other screenings (such as annual sexually transmitted infection testing for those under age 26 and for those that are sexually active).
At Pandia Health, our mission is not only about service delivery, but education as well. In addition to ensuring that our clients get smart about what preventative health care they need, I have become quite passionate about destigmatizing birth control by calling it a “hormonal treatment” versus “birth control.”
Womxn – and people with uteri don’t need to have periods. Pandia Health’s #periodsoptional campaign is intended to normalize that notion. This is an equity issue. #periodproblems are the top reason that womxn under age 25 miss school or work – and having bleeds each month is unnecessary. My personal example is that I was a pre-med at MIT taking my biochemistry final. All of a sudden, I felt the familiar painful onset of my period. I looked to my left and right and the two men beside me were taking their exam with no worries. I, on the other hand, was freaking out. Do I run to the bathroom or do I finish the exam? (As a premed, I finished the exam and then ran to the bathroom.) However, those without uteri don’t have this problem. And speaking of products, imagine the reduction in landfill if womxn didn’t bleed every month. I’m very passionate about these issues. But that said, I also think that every public and employer bathroom should stock free maxi pads and tampons for womxn who choose to have periods.
How would you define success for your company and for the FemTech space, more generally?
Pandia Health is already successful in that it can ship birth control pills to all 50 states and prescribe in three of the largest states – California, Florida, and Texas. My vision is to be able to prescribe in all 50 states and thus fully serve women in all of the US. Most importantly, we are building the brand womxn trust with their health.
The FemTech space will be successful when all womxn have all of the accessible and affordable technology they need to be make their lives healthier.
How do you see the FemTech space changing in the next 5 years? What are you looking forward to?
There are many inventions on the horizon. I’m particularly interested in the menopause space. It’s another area that womxn are not educated about and that is “in the dark.” It’s time we bring it to light. FemTech facilitates womxn and men and allies talking more about womxn’s health and their problems and providing digital support/solutions. We, as womxn, suffer quietly and we shouldn’t have to.
What advice what you give other womxn looking to get into FemTech?
We all need to support one another. Make sure to build your tribe and get supported for what you’re doing. Let’s help each other rise!