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Pelvic Floor Therapy and Other Wellness Destinations to Know

Clinics and service centers continue to open across the U.S., while expanding virtual offerings to increase access. 

Women-specific health care is expanding nationwide through a slew of new brick-and-mortar clinics and service-focused locations.  

Historically, medical practices have been primarily built on male physiology. However, care focused on women is becoming more prominent, as investors and founders recognize demand.

According to a report from McKinsey & Co, women’s health care has gone widely untapped, leaving room for innovation — the firm cites that women account for 80 percent of consumer purchasing decisions in the health care industry. 

The lack of women-specific care is driven by the institutional lack of research funding and representation — only 1 percent of health care research and funding is invested in women-specific conditions (aside from oncology) and women have been widely underrepresented in clinical trials. 

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“A lot of these women’s-specific brick-and-mortar locations are popping up because we want a place that is just for us. We’re no longer willing to accept health care for men just applied to women. We want health care that’s specific to our bodies and our unique needs,” said Maria Toler Velissaris, founding partner at SteelSky Ventures, a venture capital fund that invests specifically in women’s health care.

Investors, founders and consumers recognize the opportunity, resulting in the growth of women-specific health care and wellness locations. 

“We’re starting to see some of these larger established funds come down market to the seed and Series A, and they’re looking to invest in the next billion-dollar women’s health companies. A lot of those companies are going to be these brick-and-mortar locations,” said Toler Velissaris. 

Maternal health, endometriosis and menopause are outlined by McKinsey as three main categories for the health industry to focus on.

The health providers ripe for expansion, both physical and virtual, run the gamut from fertility to pelvic floor physical therapy.

Kindbody, which launched in 2018, offers an assortment of fertility-based services for all genders in-clinic, at home or virtually. While the company has an expansive hybrid model, it also currently operates 31 locations and plans to end the year with a total of 42, accepting insurance networks. For Kindbody — which just closed a funding round of $100 million, bringing its total to $290 million — physical nationwide expansion is essential to its strategy. 

Kindbody exam room

“We build our business around what we hear from the consumer and what we hear from the patients,” said Kindbody founder and executive chairman Gina Bartasi, citing nationwide access as a key concern. “When I first got into the fertility industry a dozen years ago, I thought IVF was unique to coastal cities and what you soon realize is IVF affects everybody… You’re going to see us expand to more medium-sized cities.” 

Some of Kindbody’s expansion is also driven by employer demand, as it “is the only fertility clinic network in the entire country that sells directly to employers,” according to Bartasi. Customers include Walmart, Tesla, SpaceX and Princeton University. 

Oula, a New York-based clinic, focuses on maternity care, combining midwifery and obstetrics. This January, the company, which has overseen 600 births, closed a $19.1 million Series A round led by 8VC with participation from existing investors including Chelsea Clinton’s fund Metrodora, bringing total funding to $22.3 million. 

Oula exam room

“We’re going to continue to build in New York because there’s a ton of business efficiency that comes from staying and penetrating the market,” said Oula cofounder and CEO Adrianne Nickerson.

While Oula, which accepts major insurance networks, is focused on New York, Nickerson noted that the brand’s goal is to be in six metropolitan markets within three years.

“There is really a demand for us to expand our services and expand into other markets,” cofounder and chief operating officer Elaine Purcell said, citing sonography and group support as two such offerings.

VSpot and Origin have both homed in on specific concerns. VSpot offers non-surgical vaginal treatments at its two New York locations. Services range in price from $78-$5800. Origin, which accepts major insurances, focuses on pelvic floor physical therapy, as one in three women will experience pelvic floor disorder sometime in her life according to UCLA Health. 

While VSpot targets women of all ages, several of the services are optimal for women post-pregnancy or in menopause, a life stage 1.2 billion women are expected to be in by 2030. With this growing need in mind, the business, which also includes a line of intimate wellness products, is planning for expansion.

VSpot lobby

“We’re 100 percent expanding across the country,” said VSpot founder and CEO Cindy Barshop. “There’s two different avenues that we’re researching right now. It’s either we do it through franchises or just our own brick-and-mortars.” 

Origin currently has six brick-and-mortar clinics across California and Texas, with plans to grow more this year and expand its virtual offerings to be available broadly across the nation. 

Origin lobby

“With our launch, physical locations were really core to what we had been originally envisioning,” said Origin cofounder and CEO Carine Carmy. “We quickly learned, really sped up by COVID[-19], that so much of the actual benefit of physical therapy is not just the manual therapy. It’s the education, the body awareness, the home exercises that you do… so the model really lends itself well to virtual care.” 

Origin’s expansion comes on the heels of the growing awareness of pelvic floor physical therapy; it is a recommended treatment for endometriosis, polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) and post-pregnancy.

Another company addressing the lack of women’s health care is Tia, which has a slew of subscription-based services for women-identifying people, including gynecology services, sexually transmitted infection testing, primary care, annual physicals and more, for $15 a month or $150 a year (with most services covered by insurance). The clinic has raised $132 million to-date and maintains seven locations, planning to end 2023 with 10 total. 

Tia lobby

For cofounder Carolyn Witte, Tia was started as a byproduct of her experience struggling to get diagnosed and receive care for PCOS, a condition that affects one in 10 women and often takes years to diagnose. 

“I took a step back and asked myself what would health care look like if it was actually designed with women at the center of it and if it treated women as whole people versus parts,” said Witte. 

With this in mind and research showing that many women don’t have or don’t feel comfortable with their primary care provider, Tia focuses on comprehensive and integrative services, including physical, mental and reproductive health care. The company’s subscription model also lends itself to more ongoing, preventive care rather than last-minute reactive care. 

In an effort to create an even more seamless experience, Tia has also partnered with leading hospitals in the cities where it operates, such as Cedar Sinai in Los Angeles, to easily connect patients with specialists when needed.

While the brick-and-mortar offerings are definitely ramping up, especially in New York City, most of these wellness centers offer some sort of virtual component. 

“Hybrid care is the future of health care and connected care,” said Carmy. “Patients are getting the kind of continuity of care… It’s really what happens in between appointments, that is your health and your well-being.” 

Key Takeaways: 

  1. Maternal health, endometriosis and menopause are key categories for growth. 
  2. Investor activity in the women’s health category is driving a slew of openings around the country.
  3. Look for digital expansion, too, as businesses look to meet consumer demand and provide equitable access.