After watching his mother go through excruciating pain for 25 years and doctors making her feel like the pain was in her head, Joe Connolly decided he needed to help.
In 2019 he founded Visana Health, a virtual women’s health platform that works to provide connections to services and programming to help alleviate the struggle with gynecological conditions.
How it works
Visana Health operates through two main elements: personalized digital programming, which includes pelvic floor exercises, diet plans, a personal coach, and more; and identifying and matching providers with women struggling with conditions ranging from endometriosis to cervical dysplasia.
“Specifically we work with health insurance companies and employers to provide the service for free,” said Connolly, mentioning that they have started working with their first health insurance company this month.
It’s working, too. A testimonial that really hit home for Connolly on their site reads: “I can’t tell you how my life has changed since starting this program. I started this program a week into our lockdown, my pain was so bad it was waking me from my sleep. I can now say I’m pain free.”
Currently a team of four, Connolly brings years of digital health solution experience from his time in customer sales and implementation at Boston Scientific. “I’m combining professional experience with something that happened to my mom,” he said.
The Cohort experience
Visana Health participated in the first-ever virtual Cohort in Spring of 2020. Connolly mentioned three things that stood out to him about the program, starting with founder comradery.
“The ability to ping ideas off of people who are going through the same challenges was really valuable,” he said. “It’s so fundamentally different from corporate culture.”
BETA’s programming was also valuable to the team, he said. “It teaches a lot of basics across a lot of different functions,” Connolly said, adding that in corporate culture, people usually specialize in one thing, but as a founder, you have to become an expert in all of the functions.
“Having trusted experts giving presentations to a startup audience is really helpful,” he said. Third was an advisor to the company that he was connected to by BETA’s Entrepreneur in Residence, Cihan Behlivan. “[Our advisor] has been fantastic in helping us scale.”
Visana Health is currently adding a fifth member to the team, and working on scaling the program. “We want to scale to make it free for women across the U.S.,” Connolly said. The team is also adding additional conditions to the platform to make it all-in-one.
Visana Health is a virtual platform that improves access to best-practice women's healthcare. Learn more here.
BETA is a 501(c)(3) organization that develops Minnesota’s next generation of business leaders by inspiring and educating first-time founders. The BETA Group nurtures startups and small businesses with great scalability potential, so that they can grow to become our next Fortune 100s. Learn more here.