Crista Galli LABS is excited to announce its pre-seed investment in LEIA Health. Based in Stockholm and founded by two female entrepreneurs, LEIA health focus on helping women in the ‘fourth trimester’ (the postpartum period). We are excited by the team led by cofounders, Sandra Wirström and Astrid Gyllenkrok Kristensen, driving a powerful vision to redefine postpartum health on a global scale.
The postpartum period is a mystery that is not often discussed openly. The ‘fourth trimester’ starts at birth and lasts up to a year; it is a time marked by the healing of the mother’s body. LEIA’s research shows that as much as 90% of the 140 million women who give birth every year globally experience physical or mental problems in this period. A proportion of these are serious, long-term issues that outlast the fourth trimester, but should be helped early after the birth of the baby. “The fourth trimester is when the hard work really starts,” says cofounder Astrid.
This is also a time when much of the existing help for parents during the pregnancy ends, leaving a gap in support. Mothers are sent home from hospital early and follow-up visits are limited. There is still significant stigma surrounding post-birth issues which leaves mothers embarrassed and scared yet feeling obliged to pretend to be okay. “You’re left fighting the health system, trying to get the right support,” says Sandra, who struggled herself with getting birth injuries diagnosed.
LEIA’s mission is to redefine postpartum health is driven by a combination of medical and data science, and the lived experience of motherhood. “By taking a data-driven approach we aim to do for maternal health what Fitbit did for general health,” says Astrid.
LEIA recently soft-launched in Sweden, first as a digital screening app that chats to parents, asking questions about the mother’s physical, mental and sleep health, beginning before birth. Parents can map out their concerns and problems, including post-partum depression, pelvic floor injuries and other complications of childbirth. These questions generate personalised feedback and evidence-based support from women’s health experts, for subjects including physical and mental recovery after birth, breastfeeding and early parenting. LEIA will even match parents to a care provider for more direct help if needed.
A daily check-in tool, available to both parents, can be used to track physical and mental states and detect evolving issues. This has already helped many parents feel seen and heard, and allows them to more effectively support each other, as each may struggle in different ways.
Sandra shares: “When we talked to new parents and care staff, it became clear that the partner’s support is crucial during this period. Many co-parents are frustrated that they don’t know how best to support the mother after birth. It is not uncommon for them to also struggle and feel alone with their questions.”
Traction and progress
Having launched in Sweden, LEIA have begun a pilot with a maternity centre in Stockholm and are creating a community for parents within the LEIA network. Early research includes a joint pilot with the Karolinska Institutet; further work will focus on improved understanding of how different risk factors and issues interact e.g. post-partum depression, breastfeeding and pelvic floor problems.
LEIA co-develop their product offering with their users and plan to expand across the holistic postpartum spectrum, connecting parents to sleep coaches and breastfeeding experts, and even offering parenting support. LEIA aim to improve the experiences of the 126 million women who experience post-partum issues each year and improve standards of maternity care in the Nordics and beyond.
We at Crista Galli Ventures are delighted to join this heavily oversubscribed pre-seed round which includes the Swedish accelerator Fast Track Malmö, The Case for Her, and leading angel investors including Erik Engellau-Nilsson ( Norrsken VC ), Dr Johan Flodin ( Kry ), Jonas Axelsson (Spotify, Tictail).
The funding will support continued user growth and engagement and product testing and development. It will also allow LEIA to make key hires and continue work towards product-market fit. We are very proud to be a part of LEIA Health’s journey, and excited for their steps to redefine postpartum health globally.
The app will be available globally in March 2022