Dana: Empowering women throughout their challenging motherhood journey
Meet Sven and Veronica. They’re the co-founders of Dana — an app that helps women with different tools to get through the exciting, but also challenging phase of becoming and being a mother.
When women become mothers, an incredibly exciting, but for some, frightening process begins in their bodies and psyches. 90 percent of women experience some kind of mood disorder during motherhood. 25 percent of women suffer from severe maternal mental health pathology. The reason they can’t be helped better is because there are fundamental gaps in the healthcare system: there are not enough mental health specialists, a lack of education and no matrescence specialists.
That’s where the startup Dana comes in. The health app helps people who want to get pregnant or are already pregnant cope with the changes in their bodies, mood swings and changing life circumstances until the birth and three years after. It was invented by founder Dr. Sven Mulfinger and his co-founder Veronica Montesinos.
“I’m a father of three, but when my wife was pregnant, I didn’t realize how much everything in her and around her had changed,” Sven Mulfinger says. “Even after the children were born, I took very little time for her and the baby because I was very busy at work.” Now Mulfinger is keen to at least help other women cope better with this challenging phase in their lives. “After working as an engineer and starting my own marketing company, it was important to me to start an impact-driven business.”
For the first eight to ten months, Sven Mulfinger and his co-founder spent most of their time interviewing: mothers, nurses, gynecologists and midwives. It struck them that they were all very specialized in their respective fields. Collaboration between specialists was rather patchy. In a second step, they, therefore, wrote to universities and asked: Which scientists can help with the conception of Dana and contribute to creating holistic assistance for women?
If interested parties open the app, they are now first asked a series of questions designed to find out what challenges women are currently facing. After that, there are various learning and exercise sessions to help address the issues. “For example, if a woman is struggling with anxiety, Dana shows them exercises to counter that anxiety,” Mulfinger explains. “It’s important to note that Dana is not a substitute for serious mental illness.”
Dana also offers what it calls a “community of mothers.” Here, women can exchange their thoughts with each other in guided sessions. The community of mothers does not function like a typical internet forum but is always structured in a topic- and learning-specific way. Through the mood tracker function and its journal, women can keep a diary of how they feel during matrescence.
“On one hand, all these tools are intended to help women understand and classify their situation, but also to address their problems,” explains Sven Mulfinger. “On the other hand, the women thus allow us to collect data for a clinical study.” After all, the founders’ vision is that their app Dana could also be recognized and prescribed as a certified medical device in the next few years. Doctors could then, for example, recommend the app to their expectant mothers and prevent mental illness. The advantage is obvious, as Sven Mulfinger explains: “Dana could help reduce the aforementioned gaps in the healthcare system in the long term.”
Follow the journey of Dana on LinkedIn.