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Aster announces $2.4m round to transform maternal healthcare

Rodney Appiah
30 January 2024 4 Mins

January, 2024 – Aster, the tech-enabled pregnancy care platform for patients and clinical providers, has raised $2.4m in pre-seed funding from prominent UK & US investors. Accelerating the development of the proprietary patient-facing app, clinician platform and further onboarding clinics across the US.

  • Aster is rebuilding the underlying tech stack that powers women’s health, bringing software solutions to patients and the source of care
  • $2.4m pre-seed funding enables the company to make further inroads into the global leisure and retail markets
  • Aster is working with many clinics across the U.S. from California to Texas, New York, Ohio, Alabama and more

The fundraise, co-led by Cornerstone VC and Cake Ventures alongside participation from Zeal Capital Partners, Octopus Ventures (FCF), Sterling Road, Blueprint & Everywhere Ventures. Plus, several recognised founders and operators from Vitable Health, Komodo Health, Meta, Google and more.

Aster’s technology enables women’s health practices to manage, grow and scale their ability to treat women. The solution improves clinical outcomes and enables practices to remain competitive and independent in the ever-changing landscape of healthcare. Aster’s initial focus is on maternal health providers across the U.S.

For many families, the experience of pregnancy and birth can be traumatic. Many reading this will be personally familiar with a pregnancy that had less than favorable outcomes. The sad reality is that the CDC reports that up to 80% of all pregnancy complications leading to maternal death are completely avoidable; the result of women being ignored or having little to no support during the pregnancy and postpartum period. As a result, the U.S now has the highest rate of maternal mortality among the wealthier nations.

With backing from Cornerstone VC and other investors mentioned Aster is poised to reverse the downward trajectory of women’s health outcomes by redesigning the underlying stack that powers women’s health. Including the full cycle of maternal care from conception to delivery to post-partum. Instead of the increasing fragmentation in care delivery, they are improving it at source, where the core elements of care happen.

The business was founded by siblings Fifi Kara (ex YC, Meta, 2x founder) and Dr. Lailah Kara Newton (practising OB/GYN NHS doctor). They subsequently brought on Andrew Q Tran (ex Meta, Mindstrong) founding CPO.

Fifi, Laila and Andrew says:

“Patient outcomes are inextricably linked to the health and vitality of the clinic in which they are being treated. These healthcare providers are the first port of call for anyone in need, and are the gatekeepers to high-quality care, whether for testing, diagnosis, or treatment.

We believe that building tools which strengthen providers, is the only way to materially change health outcomes in a significant way – and at scale.”

Fifi, Laila and Andrew adds:

“Even before completing their investment, Cornerstone VC became a true sounding board to Aster on complex questions defining our business. Being consistently thoughtful, direct and prompt is a true skill of the team and something we’re excited to explore further as we continue to work together. We highly recommend Cornerstone to other founders and are already thinking of fantastic companies to introduce them to!”

Rodney Appiah, Managing Partner at Cornerstone VC, said:

“Aster is a needed clinic enablement software platform that transforms the way pre and post natal care is delivered, managed and paid for. The software improves the patient experience through secure telehealth, remote monitoring and clinical guidance and drives practice efficiencies with a predictive unified platform and co-pilot for clinicians. We’re delighted to support Fifi, Lailah and Andrew on this journey and look forward to working with them and the other investors in this round as the business grows.”

Monique Woodard, general partner at Cake Ventures which co led the funding round, said:

“I invest in founders who want to deliver innovation to large, legacy industries like healthcare, and solve the biggest problems for future generations.. The state of maternal health in the United States is disturbing and urgent. With the highest maternal mortality rate among high-income countries, it is unacceptable that pregnancy for American women can still feel like a dangerous undertaking, and the data shows that the situation is even worse for Black women. The Aster team are the right founders to tackle this important problem through technology and personal experience.”

For more information visit Aster.

Rodney Appiah

Managing Partner

Rodney Appiah is an early stage investor, board member and former investment banker. He is the Founder and Managing Partner at Cornerstone VC and was formerly Chairman of Cornerstone Partners, its leading angel network.

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