Anu Sharma
Co-Founder & CEO, Millie
What is Millie in one sentence?
Millie is a new kind of tech-enabled clinic that is redesigning the current standard of U.S. maternity care to create better outcomes at lower costs.
Why does the company need to exist?
The current U.S. maternity care model is failing mothers. Even though we have the highest costs of maternity care in the world, our maternal mortality rates surpass those of any peer country, with over 50,000 additional near misses per year. Outcomes are much worse for mothers of color, with mortality rates for Black mothers being 3-4x those of their white counterparts. Studies show that 80% of maternal deaths are preventable with timely care.
In addition to dismal maternal mortality rates, the U.S. also has 2x c-section rates vs. guidelines, as well as high rates of preterm births, NICU stays and maternal depression.
These statistics sit against the backdrop of severe OBGYN shortages nationally and hospitals closing their maternity units due to unviable economics; 36% of US counties are actually designated “maternity care deserts.
Millie is redesigning the U.S. maternity standard from the ground up with a collaborative OB/midwifery model enabled by technology that is designed to provide more complete, proactive and right-sized care for better outcomes at lower costs.
We focus on less served communities and partner with health systems and payors (both commercial and Medicaid) to expand access to care.
Why now?
The U.S. is in the midst of a severe maternal health crisis, and the current model is both failing mothers and unviable. We must do better.
The combination of reimbursement model shifts, federal policy changes, Black maternal health movements and amplification through powerful cultural voices creates the perfect tailwinds to build a better model now.  
Why you?
Millie’s founding team includes Anu Sharma (CEO), Talia Borgo (Midwife & Clinical Director) and Sarah Reynolds (CTO).
Anu brings a deep background in care model innovation and experience across some of the largest payors and health systems in the U.S. Her own “near miss” following the birth of her daughter became the inspiration for Millie. Talia was on the clinical faculty at UCSF, one of the most respected academic medical centers in the country, where she provided care to a very diverse patient population. Sarah was an early engineer at Omada, with deep expertise in building tech-enabled care delivery platforms driven by data.  
Between us, we bring deep empathy to the problem as well as hard won experience around what it takes to solve it.
What company milestones are you most proud of?
The first Millie clinic opened 15 months ago and recently completed 125 births. Our clinical outcomes outperform national averages on all key measures. We could not be more proud of our team.
Millie’s clinic in Berkeley, California.
What’s top of mind for the business in 2024?
We are focused on growth and expansion and are working through partnership conversations with several health systems and Medicaid MCO plans.
What do you wish more people understood about your industry?
Women are the “power users” of the U.S. healthcare system, accounting for 51% of the population and 80% of the care decisions. Yet the system fails them on such a fundamental need.
Not only is this a huge health equity issue, it is also a massive economic opportunity. U.S. maternity care is a $50B+ market annually, and even bigger when you include broader reproductive health needs, pediatrics and early parenthood support that families need.
Predictions for the industry over the next 12-24 months?
We will see:
  • Massive demand for midwifery-led care as the U.S. deals with OBGYN provider shortages, as well as adoption of doulas in mainstream care.
  • The rise of value-based care reimbursement models that reward better outcomes with Medicaid leading the way. (Few people know that Medicaid is the largest payor, accounting for 42% of all U.S. births.)
  • AI-enablement solutions to increase clinical productivity, especially through administrative simplification.
  • A focus on culturally sensitive care that rebuilds trust with communities of color who have been disproportionately affected.
Advice for other female founders raising early-stage capital?
Seek out other female founders who are building non-competitive companies similar to yours. They can give you great first-hand advice on how best to flip the odds in your favor by talking to the right funds, overcoming biases and — if you are also balancing a family while building a company – practical life hacks.
We all win when each of us wins.
Do you have any wishlist asks?
If you know a health system or a Medicaid MCO plan that might be interested in what Millie is building, please drop us a note!