Our ultimate goal is to be a woman’s supportive partner during this time of life for all of her health and wellbeing needs, providing evidence-based solutions that actually work. No snake oil here.
Here at Revel we’re delighted to announce our latest partnership, an exclusive relationship with menopause telehealth start-up, Alloy.
We’d be hard pressed to say that anything good came out of COVID, but if you had to identify a silver lining, it would have to be the now widespread (and growing) acceptance of telemedicine. Why leave your house to meet with a doctor or therapist if you don’t have to?
Telemedicine lends itself particularly well to the unpredictable ravages of perimenopause and menopause, which wax and wane and vary from woman to woman month to month, often with seemingly no predictability whatsoever. What most of us need is an experienced professional who will listen to our individual stories and be willing to accompany us on the ride as we sorts out the vagaries of this often very confusing time of our lives.
Is your main complaint insomnia? Painful intercourse? Weight gain? Crippling anxiety? Hopefully you’re not experiencing all of it at once, but even if you are, Alloy’s team has got you covered.
Let’s meet the founders, Anne Fulenwider, 50, and Monica Molenaar, 48, and learn a bit about how and why they want to shake up the world of women’s health:
Anne: I was editor of my high school newspaper, and as long as I can remember I wanted to move to New York and join the culture machine that was magazines in the 1980s and 90s. I drove from Boston to Manhattan in January of 1995 and slowly made my way up in the publishing world, spending ten years at Vanity Fair and ultimately becoming editor in chief of Marie Claire magazine, a job I loved and had for seven years. I thought I would stay in magazines forever, but in June of 2016 my mom died all of the sudden of a heart attack, and I went home to be with my sister and my Dad and stayed for almost the whole summer. I looked around at all the people who streamed through my childhood home and the community my mother had built around her and I thought I’ve been running so hard I forgot what I’m chasing, and all that matters is community and family and love and making a difference in the world. I wanted to live the rest of my life more intentionally and use the skills I’d honed to make a more tangible beneficial impact in women’s lives. I was looking around for what to do when Monica approached me with her idea for a menopause company. I listened to her story about going to five doctors in five years before she found the right treatment and I couldn’t believe it. This is the experience of an educated woman with an advanced degree in the middle of New York City and it was this hard? And I also could believe it, because it sounded so familiar in many ways– I’d gone through similarly disorienting and confusing journeys myself, self diagnosing postpartum depression after my first baby, trying to find an answer to my second child’s colic, and dealing with a family eating disorder. In each case I thought ‘There has to be a better way.’ So when we found someone who wanted to fund us to figure it out, I couldn’t resist the opportunity. I left Marie Claire in December of 2019, and two months later I got Covid and the world turned upside down, which it turns out was actually a great environment in which to start a digital health company.
Monica: Well, I have a really circuitous route leading me here. In the 10 years between 30 and 40, when my kids were born, I worked full-time, part-time, and spent some years as a stay-at-home mom, so I’ve kind of done it all. Because I was in and out of the work force so many times in 10 years, however, I really hadn’t moved up in my career. When I wanted to get back to work at age 40, I really hoped to work in the natural food industry, but since I didn’t come from that industry, I found it really difficult to find a job, so I decided to start my own business as a way to get the experience. That is what led me to start Seed + Mill, a small business that has developed a huge fan base around the world thanks to the retail location we opened in Chelsea Market in New York that gets visitors from everywhere.
Prior to starting Seed + Mill, I had been diagnosed as BRCA1+ (which means I have a high genetic risk of breast and ovarian cancer) and decided to have my ovaries removed as a way to eliminate the risk of ovarian cancer, and also potentially reduce my risk of breast cancer, which I found less scary due to the extensive screening and treatments available. What I didn’t anticipate, though, was how hard the surgical menopause would be, and how difficult it would be to get support and solutions. It took me 6 years and as many doctors to finally feel confident in my MHT treatment plan and physically back to myself.
Around the time that I was thinking about my next challenge, while on a family vacation, I met my partner in Alloy, Anne Fulenwider, who at the time was the Editor in Chief of Marie Claire magazine. She and I started meeting up for walks with our dogs and quickly went deep on a range of topics, including how we were feeling about ourselves and our lives as we approached “midlife”. I had been thinking a lot about menopause and wondering why the f*ck, in the 21st century, it is still not figured out or transparent and clear to all involved? It literally affects 100% of women, and it’s still a topic that is shrouded in mystery and cluelessness. I figured that we should be able to find a way to give women a better experience to help them thrive during the next 40-50 years, not just endure!
Anne and I met Ankur Jain and his partner in Kairos, Alex Fiance, and started brainstorming ideas for how to address this problem from a business perspective. The more research we did, the more we realized that no matter what path a woman decides to take for her own health and wellbeing as she ages, if you aren’t talking to her about estrogen and its giant significance in her body, you are doing her a disservice.
We set out to solve the biggest problem first, which is that so few women, who would be really transformed with menopausal hormone treatment, are even being offered it by their doctors. Women’s menopause complaints have largely gone unheeded for many reasons, but the biggest reason is the result of some poor science and reporting by the media 20 years ago which made women and doctors fearful of hormones. The headline, that estrogen causes an elevated risk of breast cancer, has been found to be wrong, with the majority of Women’s Health medical organizations stating the the benefits of Menopausal Hormone Treatment far outweigh the risks. However, women still are suffering unnecessarily, and our mission is to bring back access to life-changing treatments and democratize care to help close the health equity gap and keep women healthy and engaged in their lives for the next 40 to 50 years!
Our ultimate goal is to be a woman’s supportive partner during this time of life for all of her health and wellbeing needs, providing evidence-based solutions that actually work. No snake oil here. We are working with our Medical Advisors on offerings from their areas of expertise, from mental health to sexual health, and are excited to roll those out in the near future!
When you come to Alloy’s site to seek treatment for menopausal symptoms, you take a quiz that asks all the essential questions to help the doctor make the right recommendations. We know that women our age don’t have a lot of time to deal with the inconveniences of doctor visits, so we have taken all the hassle out of the experience. You fill out your symptoms and relevant medical history, we provide all the options based on your history, and you choose the treatment that best suits your personal needs. Press submit, the doctor reviews your chart, sends a prescription to the pharmacy if you are approved, and everything gets sent to your door in a few days in a super-cute and handy reusable Alloy pouch. Easy peasy. If you have any questions, you have unlimited, free messaging with the doctor for the full year of your prescription. Because we want this to fit into the way YOU live your life, not make you fit yourself into an inconvenient system.
Our ideal customer is really every woman who is experiencing menopausal symptoms and who has not yet found the answers she’s looking for and deserves.
Alloy is a telehealth platform designed to provide women relief from their menopausal symptoms. You will still need to get regular physical exams (pap smears, mammograms, etc) from your gynecologist or primary care physician, but we are here for the conversations they don’t have time for or don’t want to have.
We always say “We get you because we ARE you.” We literally have all been through this journey, and we don’t want anyone to have to spend any more time or energy on this when the solutions are actually so simple. We have world class medical advisors, and our solutions are plant-based, natural, and FDA-approved. We make it easy, fast, and affordable to start feeling like yourself again without ever leaving your home. We don’t think solving your menopausal symptoms should be a full time job– we all already have too many of those– and we want to give you your life back so you can get back to doing what you love– whatever that is!
Monica Molenaar is a serial entrepreneur and an advocate for frank talk and common sense solutions around women’s health and wellness. At the age of 40, Monica tested positive for the BRCA gene and elected to remove her ovaries prophylactically to reduce her risk of breast and ovarian cancers, thereby ending her natural production of estrogen and sending her into surgical menopause overnight. This began a multi-year journey trying to make sense of all the misinformation and lack of clarity around this phase of life. It was only after starting to supplement with estrogen and progesterone that Monica found relief from the menopausal symptoms affecting her quality of life and was able to get back to work. She was inspired to start Alloy to make sure that other women entering menopause would have an easier time than she did accessing credible information, effective and safe solutions, and a supportive community.
Monica is a graduate of the Stanford University Graduate School of Business. A lifelong New Yorker, she now resides in Rotterdam, The Netherlands, with her husband and two teenage sons.
Anne Fulenwider is a former magazine editor and a believer in the power of storytelling. She began her career at the literary magazine The Paris Review, spent ten years at Vanity Fair editing such writers as Carl Bernstein and Dominick Dunne, and in 2009, was named editor-in-chief of Marie Claire, overseeing all content and brand extensions in the United States. While at Marie Claire, she became the mentor on Project Runway Allstars, served as a judge for the Pulitzer Prizes, and launched a conference for entrepreneurs called The Power Trip. Fulenwider has interviewed women including Melinda Gates, Mindy Kaling, Tracee Ellis Ross, Gwyneth Paltrow, and Anne Wojicki on stages such as the Makers Conference and South by Southwest. After her mother died of a sudden heart attack in 2016, Fulenwider became motivated to make an impact in women’s health. Inspired by all the women she’s met who are building a better world for women by disrupting industries, she became an entrepreneur herself in 2020, joining Monica Molenaar to change the conversation around women’s post-reproductive health.
Anne is a graduate of Harvard University and lives in Brooklyn, New York with her husband, two teenagers, and a neurotic dog named Rocky.
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