January 2021 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 Anna Gabriella Casalme, Founder and CEO of Novelly.
What inspired you to start/lead your company?
Right out of college, I was tasked with giving sexual violence prevention workshops to high school students. I used stories to start courageous conversations on tough topics with teenagers. We're thrilled to have been supported by the Innovation Next program at Power to Decide as we figured out what it means to be a civic-minded book club for youth.
How does your work help give people the tools to achieve reproductive well-being?
At Novelly, we believe that we can't address problems if we can't even bear to talk about it with young people. Our mobile app and community provide young people with the stories and space for conversations needed to address stigmatized topics like reproductive well-being. The majority of our "members" are teenage girls and many of them are from LGBTQ+ and minority backgrounds.
How would you define success for your company and for the fem tech space, more generally?
Although we might not be what you think of when you think of FemTech, we're certainly part of the tech innovation that seeks to improve the lives of girls and women and that was designed in collaboration with girls and women. To me, success means continuing to identify the problems that are specific to this diverse group and to uplift the girls and women who are most equipped to solve those problems.
How do you see the FemTech space changing in the next 5 years? What are you looking forward to?
I see FemTech expanding beyond reproductive and sexual health to mental and emotional well-being. As we see more and more innovation by and for girls and women, I look forward to seeing even more creative and holistic approaches to health and well-being! I'm especially looking forward to Novelly starting courageous conversations with young people to normalize topics in girls' and women's health that are too often seen as "controversial" or "uncomfortable."
What advice what you give other womxn looking to get into FemTech?
There is immense power in having personal experience of the problem you are trying to solve and a deep understanding of the community that you are trying to solve it for. Persist and keep proving yourself and your solution to this community. Just because a potential funder or partner might not "get it" right away does not mean that your work doesn't matter. It does!