Interview by Anja Streicher
Lina Chan is a founder and CEO of Adia Health. Adia’s mission is to empower women with knowledge, and to change the approach to women’s reproductive health to one that is proactive, personalised and holistic. This is her entrepreneurial story.
Tell us a little bit about your background and the idea behind Adia Health.
I am Lina, born and raised in Brazil to Chinese immigrant parents. I spent most of my career as an investor before becoming an entrepreneur. I love travelling, being active and am also a yoga teacher on the side. I have three children all under the age of 4 (yup it’s a busy household). If I am not working or taking care of the kids, you will find me exercising or drinking coffee.
My personal struggles starting my family inspired me to build Adia. Like a growing number of women I didn’t start trying for a baby until I was 35 years of age. I thought it was going to be easy but instead I rode a roller coaster of miscarriage, still birth and trouble conceiving. The experience made me realise how current care pathways are very reactive. Most women only get help once they have encountered a set back, and often rely tremendously on Dr. Google to navigate a journey that is confusing and very emotional. I set up Adia to enable women to be proactive about their reproductive health through easier access to experts and expert led content. I hope that through Adia I can help more women avoid the set back that I faced.
Why do you think it is important to talk about women’s health, even when that means talking about some rather painful topics, such as struggles with fertility, miscarriages etc.? Do you think that by sharing experiences we can help and support one another?
It is very important that we speak about women’s health, particularly topics that are painful! So much of what women go through are shrouded in taboo which means women don’t get the right support when they need it most. We have the obligation to speak up and to start breaking the silence. It is only by doing this that we can normalise things, empower each other and build a society that is more supportive of women.
How do you explain a massive interest in FemTech in recent years and what will be the key trends in the health tech industry in the next five years in your opinion?
Women make most of the healthcare decisions for their family. Women comprise 50% of the population. Movements like me too, gender pay gap amongst others are shining light on the need to focus more attention and services on women specifically. That has fueled the growth in femtech. While women entrepreneurs are still a very very small part of the industry this also helps fuel the movement. You see that in companies like clue and elvie who have really made a mark in the industry in europe. Some of the key trends we will see in the industry will be more personalised care, more business that address taboo subjects like the menopause and services that help women be more proactive about their healthcare.
What is it like being a female founder and what are some of the challenges you face with every day?
I love being an entrepreneur and building my own business. I cannot think of anything else I would like to do. My day to day is tremendously exciting. I have received a lot of support from my co-founders and team, our investors, community and partners. For me, this is a sign that what we are building is of value and much needed. A lot has been changing to increasingly support women.
However, a lot more can be done. We know very little funding goes to women’s businesses and the start-up industry as a whole need to be more supportive in funding and growing women led businesses. A lot of women’s businesses also address topics that were previously considered taboo, or not a problem area. Often we have to educate our investors on the importance of building businesses that address these so the learning curve is higher. However, the more growth we see in Femtech, the more I see this reversing.
What is the most important piece of advice you would give to female founders and entrepreneurs?
Build something you are really passionate about. Being an entrepreneur is not easy and requires a lot of commitment and hard work. If you are not working on something you really believe in and are passionate about it’s easy to give up. Find that passion and don’t be shy. Work hard and things will happen!
Who are your 3 inspirational women in health tech and why?
Tania Boler - founder of Elvie. She has built beautiful, high quality products in an area of women’s health that has seen very little innovation. She is also a wonderful person who is so supportive of other entrepreneurs and sets a great example.
Ida Tin - founder of Clue. She coined the term femtech and was one of the original women forging the growth in this space. She turned a topic (periods and women’s reproductive health) which is taboo into something empowering and very open and built a tremendous community in the process.
Katherine Ryder - founder of Maven. I love how Maven has set up a clinic that is fully focused on women and recognise that women make the majority of decision for a family’s healthcare choices. I think we will see an increasing number of companies like these.
LinkedIn: Lina Chan
This interview was conducted by Anja Streicher, Chief Marketing Officer of Women of Wearables. She is passionate about women's health, supporting women in business and is still trying to figure out how to balance motherhood and business.