This episode of Business of the V is all about putting technology in the hands of women, starting with birth control. Guest Amanda French, co-founder and CEO of Emme, introduces us to an integrated technology-enabled solution designed to safeguard the birth control experience and reduce the rate of missed pills. With its unique multi-sensor “smart” design, Emme’s case syncs with an app to send persistent, customized reminders as well as contraceptive guidance and a comprehensive window into overall reproductive health.
At least 80% of users struggle with missed pills each year, resulting in some 1 million unplanned pregnancies annually. Amanda developed her cutting-edge vision as a Stanford Biodesign Innovation Fellow, focused on evolving better ways not only to track and remind birth control pill users but also to access current gynecological information and guidance. Named one of Fast Company Magazine’s Most Innovative Companies of 2021, Emme’s smart case and app are complemented by telemedicine and prescription delivery options.
Anyone who has ever had a sleepless night because of a missed pill or forgetting to pick up a prescription altogether will appreciate learning more about how Emme came to be and what it’s providing growing numbers of women in terms of support. It’s not only about reminders to take the pill but also answers to critical questions: Should you double up if you miss a day? Is it necessary to make an appointment to see your gynecologist?
With missed pills, hormone imbalances and unplanned pregnancies all too commonly part of the birth control pill experience, it’s time to step out of the 1960s. Join hosts Dr. Dweck and Rachel in finding out more about how Emme is leading the way.
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Watch the Interview with Amanda French, CEO of Emme
Topics Covered with Emme CEO, Amanda French
- Amanda jumps in by explaining that the pill was long overdue for a 21st century update.
- At least 80% of pill users will miss a dose each month, which can trigger panic and confusion. What are the risks – and next steps to be taken, if any?
- It’s not just that women need reminders, but also the ability to check and monitor personal data.
- Amanda shares her origin story, which started four years ago with a Stanford bio-design fellowship.
- How Emme’s “smart” pill pack differentiates itself and adapts to multiple different pill brands.
- How Emme’s technology measures progress and what the application offers when an individual has a specific side effect, including access to telemedicine.
- Finding the right fit in terms of birth control prescription can depend on multiple factors, including insurance and side effects.
- Amanda shares a bit about where Emme is and what’s on the horizon.
- How Emme’s multi-tasking approach is breaking the taboo around contraception.
- The Emme app is free and the company has expanded its reach with positive word-of-mouth via social media and among friends.
- Where the data are as far as women using the pill, which is still tremendously popular, and using alternative contraceptive options.
- The Emme platform has supported a 10x reduction in people who miss two or more pills – the most dangerous scenario – and an overall 80% reduction in missed pills.
- Amanda shares a bit about the Emme business model, the cost of hardware ($99) and availability of payment plans. Telemedicine and prescription delivery are add-ons.
- Which demographic is the Emme system most appealing to at this point in time? (Hint: Young career women are key.)
- Dr. Dweck touches upon the less-often discussed perimenopausal cohort who are on the pill both for contraception and to address hormonal fluctuations.
- Competition within the women’s health space: Amanda has seen a trend towards funding and online innovation that is very exciting.
- How Emme’s built-in sensors work to keep women on track not only with taking their pills but also reordering and having them ready at the start of each cycle.
- What’s ahead for Emme: Ways to help women diagnose and manage reproductive issues such as endometriosis and polycystic ovary syndrome.
Quotes from Amanda French, CEO of Emme:
(03:25) – “The pill came to market in the 60s and when I took a step back I realized that for the most part people are still managing their pills the way they were decades ago.”
(04:11) – “Our members can come to Emme, get their prescription, find what works for them and have the support that was missing to feel more confident in the day-to-day.”
(05:91) – “When you have 8 million-plus people missing a pill each month, there is so much stress and anxiety.”
(06:57) – “I was staggered by the lack of innovation in women’s health across the board.”
(7:35) – “(Missed pills) was a problem we could solve with technology and that’s how Emme was born.”
(11:03) – “Our vision is to tie together symptom and side effect tracking to help people find the right prescription sooner.”
(13:12) – “People have felt for many years that the pill experience was so stressful for them, but that it was just as good as it gets … and we knew that’s not what the future should look like.”
(17:33) – “At a high level the trend we’re seeing is not that people are no longer using the pill, but maybe will be on (it) for 10 years and then transition to another form of contraception at another stage of life.”
(18:58) – “One out of 10 people on the pill have an unplanned pregnancy each year, which translates to 1 million unplanned pregnancies in the U.S. alone.”
(19:17) – “We have so much room to grow and provide better tools in terms of contraception.”
(21:23) – “It’s been interesting to see that it’s not just one type of person who most gravitates to the product. There are a lot of different reasons that people need more support with the pill.”
(25:38) – “(Being named one of Fast Company’s 2021 Most Innovative Companies) meant a lot in terms of what it showed we were able to achieve in a limited amount of time but also to finally see women’s health innovation on the map.”
(26:18) — The thing our whole team is most proud of is what it represents: An acceptance of women’s health innovation being as big a deal as it should be.”
Amanda French is the co-founder and CEO of Emme, a femtech company that is revolutionizing birth control. Emme invented the first smart, connected pill case for birth control pill management. Amanda has more than a decade of experience bringing innovative products to the market with a particular focus on women’s health.
LINKS FOR BUSINE$$ OF THE V:
Dr. Alyssa Dweck: https://drdweck.com
Author Rachel Braun Scherl: www.sparksolutionsforgrowth.com/about-rachel-braun-scherl/