The Record - Issue 21: Summer 2021

138 www. t e c h n o l o g y r e c o r d . c om W omen account for over 70 per cent of the health and social sector work- force, according to the World Health Organization. However, in the USA, only seven per cent of the leading health and life science start-ups were founded by women, based on data gleaned from Crunchbase. However, that seven per cent and their col- leagues from around the world are a tenacious, talented and gifted group of innovators. In my role at Microsoft, I have the pleasure of working with a cohort of female founders that are chang- ing how healthcare services are delivered. Hila Friedmann and Dr Liz O’Day are work- ing to improve how diseases are diagnosed and treated. Friedmann established Gynisus after a misdiagnosis resulted in a serious complica- tion for her co-founder. Her mission now is to empower healthcare stakeholders to save lives, money and time by predicting clinical implica- tions and associate those outcomes with finan- cial impacts. She has built a series of artificial intelligence (AI) models, called the SPAI plat- form, with the goal of reducing misdiagnoses. To her, being a founder is challenging, but she is clear on her mission to save lives and money while improving patient outcomes. O’Day was motivated to action by the experi- ence of watching her brother go through cancer treatment as a child. While earning her PhD at Harvard, she created a technology platform that combined genomics, metabolomics andmachine learning to identify signatures that differentiate patients who benefit from a drug and those that do not. O’Day knew this technology had real- world application and could help patients like her brother. While it wasn’t easy, she took the plunge and started Olaris. For O’Day, the biggest challenges involve fundraising. As a female sci- entist and CEO, she has had to overcome biases and work incredibly hard to demonstrate the value of her work. Rebecca Owens is also on a mission to change how cancer patients receive care. Her com- pany, Swellter, is designed to transform the physician-patient interaction through dynamic consent, disease-specific education and data sharing in real time. She feels strongly that today’s technological advancements and her solution can dynamically present information on potentially life-saving testing and treat- ments to both patients and physicians in real time. Owens echoes O’Day’s sentiments, as she too struggled with breaking into healthcare investment circles. Other women are also leading the change in healthcare innovation. Julia Regan, founder of RxLightning, is working to ensure that every patient gets accelerated access to the therapies they need by automating manual and arduous processes for prescribing and managing speci- ality medications. Since the firm’s inception in early 2020, Regan and her team have built and launched their software product, closed a fund- ing round and built out their team, enabling them to deliver to key enterprise customers in the USA. However, starting her company on the The female founders The number of women leading start-ups in healthcare is few but flourishing. Microsoft is supporting these women to transform the industry S A L LY F RANK : M I C ROSOF T “I have the pleasure of working with a cohort of female founders that are changing how healthcare services are delivered” V I EWPO I NT