First of all, how are you and your family doing in these COVID-19 times?
Amy Fan: I’m trying to find the silver lining by taking advantage of working remotely to spend time with my family.
Bruno Van Tuykom: I am feeling lucky, and my family is doing well. My wife and I actually had a baby girl during COVID, and she is bringing such positive energy.
Tell us about you, your career, how you founded Twentyeight Health.
Amy Fan: I started off my career as a consultant at Bain, and most recently, I was the GM of a DTC skincare startup in NYC. I loved how consumer-centric beauty is. Everything is created with a deep qualitative and quantitative insight of the user. Simultaneously, I lived in the US for the first time and experienced firsthand how difficult it is to get care even with insurance. I wanted to bring the consumer-centric approach from beauty to healthcare to build dignified patient experiences.
Bruno Van Tuykom: I spent 8 years working for BCG, helping healthcare organizations. I spent the majority of that time helping the Gates Foundation improve access to healthcare in developing countries. I deeply care about improving access to healthcare and think that there is still a lot of work to be done. Through my experience at Gates, I realized the potential that telemedicine could have in improving access to care, particularly when it comes to women’s health. Shortly after, I met Amy through a friend and colleague from BCG, and we decided to form & launch Twentyeight Health.
How does Twentyeight Health innovate?
Amy Fan: Our mission at Twentyeight Health is to increase women’s health access in underserved communities, supporting individuals who have Medicaid, are under- or uninsured. We have an end-to-end platform that provides telemedicine, medication delivery, and ongoing care. We started in birth control, and we are the only player in the 6 states we are active in that accepts Medicaid. Additionally, we donate 2% of revenues to Bedsider and the National Institute of Reproductive Health, which means that with every delivery we send, we are also helping additional women in need access reproductive and sexual care.
How the coronavirus pandemic affects your business, and how are you coping?
Amy Fan: With the health pandemic, women have had an even harder time accessing reproductive and sexual healthcare. Many users have shared with us that options they used to use are no longer feasible – whether it is a lack of safe transportation, inability to find childcare, or losing their employer-sponsored insurance coverage. We are in a position to help many of these women, and from a business perspective, this has translated into significant growth since the start of the pandemic.
Did you have to make difficult choices, and what are the lessons learned?
Bruno Van Tuykom: What was top of mind for us was to keep the team safe, productive, and engaged. We quickly put in place many ideas to keep team morale really high (including daily all-hands, weekly virtual activities, budget to arrange office at home). I am sure we can always do better, and, so far, I am very happy about how the team has engaged since starting to work remotely.
How do you deal with stress and anxiety?
Amy Fan: One of the benefits of working from home is that I am always next to my yoga mat. I am a trained yoga teacher, and I like starting the day off with a quick 10-minute vinyasa flow. If I feel like my day is getting very hectic, I will try to take 2-3 minutes to do a quick stretch and breathing exercise to refocus.
How do you project yourself and Twentyeight Health in the future?
Bruno Van Tuykom: We want to be a comprehensive women’s health platform, focused on underserved women. We have only achieved 1% of our vision. We will soon launch many more states, new products and services, new partnerships, and new business lines. I cannot tell you how excited I am about our future. We want to become the #1 trusted online healthcare player for women.
Your final thoughts?
Amy Fan: COVID-19 is an extremely challenging time for many people, with or without insurance coverage. That’s why we’ve waived our doctor consultation fees for the time being to make it even more accessible.
Bruno Van Tuykom: There is still a large gap in the US for young women (especially underserved women) seeking a trusted, affordable, and convenient access to healthcare. Our mission is to fill that gap.