Serena Williams, Black Founders Matter Invest In Black Woman-Owned Healthcare Startup HUED
Photo Credit: Dia Dipasupil

Serena Williams, Black Founders Matter Invest In Black Woman-Owned Healthcare Startup HUED

Black woman-owned healthcare startup HUED is getting plenty of community support to bet on its revolutionary mission in the health industry.

According to CNBC Make It, HUED — a company that aims to diversify patient-physician experiences with culturally competent providers — has announced the raise of $1.6 million in seed funding that will be used to help address the racial disparities in health plaguing communities of color. Among its investors includes Serena Williams’ venture capital fund Serena Ventures, Black Founders Matter, Female Founders Fund, Osage Venture Partners, Northwestern Mutual, Gingerbread Capital, angel investor and health industry leader, Halle Tecco and others.

The idea behind the digital health company — which was founded by ESSENCE senior editor Kimberly Wilson in 2018 — was inspired by Wilson’s own personal experience with the healthcare system after she received an improper fibroid diagnosis in 2017, CNBC Make It reports. With issues of bias and discrimination still running rampant in the nation’s healthcare system, Wilson says she felt compelled to create this platform as a resource that she feels will be beneficial to many Black and brown people who are weary of their own healthcare providers.

“I started this company because of my core belief in the preciousness of Black lives and the desire to protect it,” she tells CNBC Make It. “Building a startup as a Black woman in health care is hard, incredibly hard. And, I think that’s why this round announcement is particularly special.”

Access to venture capital funding is an issue that many Black founders, especially Black women, have to endure when getting their businesses off the ground. So for Wilson, it’s extra noteworthy that she’s been able to garner the financial support of so many women and Black organizations who genuinely care about helping her and her startup carry out their mission.

“We are thrilled to back Kimberly and her vision for HUED in making healthcare more equitable for millions of Black and Latinx patients,” Anu Duggal — Founding Partner of Female Founders Fund — said in a statement. “She has built exciting traction with a strong team and we believe the HUED model will have a massive impact on healthcare outcomes in this country.”

In a formal statement, Wilson makes it known that “embarking on such a bold mission to reimagine the healthcare system for communities of color is no easy feat,” but so far her startup has built a database of over 600 healthcare providers ready and willing to serve those in communities of color. With the new funding, HUED will be able to “scale its technology platform, improve engagement, education, and health outcomes among underserved and vulnerable populations,” Forbes reports.

Wilson’s startup is more than a passion project, it’s a culture-shifting message for the healthcare industry that’s sure to communicate the value of Black and brown lives. HUED is ready to take a bold approach to fighting historical racism in health and it’s starting by prioritizing the needs of its own community.

For more information about HUED, visit its website.