In a recent discussion related to the announcement of Tia’s Seed round, Erik Torenberg asked:

Investors in the company [@mhdempsey, @hunterwalk, @soopa, @soleio] can you talk about how you got there from an investment POV, and what, if any, initial reservations you had to get over? Consumer healthcare is hard.

My answer, taken directly from the On Deck Daily conversation is below.

So in standard VC fashion I have to say, first, it was the team. I’m not going to go into the overly long blog post about how amazing Carolyn Witte and Felicity Yost are (though I could), but both because of who they are as people, as well as their previous backgrounds, they are pretty uniquely suited to tackle a product and vision like this.

I came across Tia after DMing someone on twitter who was asking about women’s healthcare apps. After downloading the app, I became kind of obsessed with the product experience and used it a bunch. I then read Carolyn’s medium post and got connected via my friend John Melas-Kyriazi.

Tia actually intersected at two theses we’ve thought a lot about at Compound.

  1. We’ve been thinking about personalized women’s healthcare for a few years now but frankly I have always been looking at it from the lens of family planning as a powerful initial wedge (more here). I guess that might have been an initial reservation?
  2. I’ve always personally found consumer “chat bots” frustrating, but at Compound, we’ve seen the text interface work very well in healthcare, and we’ve made multiple investments in the space across addiction, psychotherapy, and genetic counseling.

Thesis 1:

Why I generally like to be so thesis-driven is so that I can move efficiently within categories I’ve gone deep on, and also so that I can recognize when a founder/company shatters my thesis. Tia did this. Through the process, Carolyn expanded my beliefs around the idea that you could onboard and grow with your users across various health (and life) journeys and that being the trusted friend/voice/filter for the top of the funnel is a super compelling place to sit in the ecosystem vs. where I was previously so obsessed with focusing in on a single event like family planning and creating a better/more efficient experience.

This leads us to thesis 2:

Spending time understanding how users were behaving as they talked to their “wingwoman”, Tia, was INCREDIBLE. It’s still early, but the wide variety and depth of engagement from the user base, ranging from traditional healthcare questions to the things women were shy to ask to just day to day conversations I’d have with my friends or my female friends have together, was fascinating to me. I think not everyone always has *one person* that they can turn to across so many different thoughts/problems/experiences, and that idea is really powerful and showed through in the user behavior.

And last but not least, in addition to the general power of Tia, we also looked around at the increasingly fragmented female-focused healthcare and CPG startup market and think that a major distribution channel like Tia was very compelling from a business model use-case to both sides of the market.

If you’re interested in learning more, download Tia on iOS now.

Also, Tia is hiring across a variety of positions.



Want to live in a better future so investing in Frontier Technology @compoundvc. Learn more @ www.michaeldempsey.me

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