What happens when an entrepreneurial spirit collides with the Berkeley MBA concurrent degree program? For the answer, consider the career of Amy Fan, MBA/MPH 19, co-founder of Twentyeight Health.
Fan’s digital health startup connects women with sex education, home-delivered contraceptives, and secure physician consultation and follow-up. Through a partnership with Bedsider, it also provides free birth control to those without insurance or the ability to pay.
Launched in December 2018, the company currently serves women in New York and New Jersey and plans to expand nationwide.
“I’m passionate about women’s health, and I think of healthcare as a right,” says Fan, who will graduate in December from the Full-time Berkeley MBA concurrent degree program. “We’re giving women more options about the lifestyle they want—whether they’re young professionals who want to wait before having children or someone living in a rural area who already has kids.”
For Fan, Berkeley proved integral to her success. She embraced every resource available to her—ranging from courses and faculty mentors to the alumni network and extracurricular activities—and leveraged them as she discovered, shaped, and launched her startup.
Pursuing her passion
Before Berkeley, Fan had already found success working at Brainchild, a New York-based venture studio, where she served as general manager of the beauty brand Onomie. The work, however, never ignited the kind of passion she had felt during an earlier Brainchild telemedicine project.
So, she decided to return to school to follow that passion and gain a deeper grasp of both business and the healthcare industry.
Soon after, she met her co-founder Bruno Van Tuykom who shared an idea that evolved into Twentyeight Health. “Bruno’s work with the Gates Foundation revealed how technology could be used to increase healthcare access in developing countries,” she says. “So we decided to leverage technology to increase healthcare equity for women in the U.S.”
At Berkeley, Fan found herself surrounded by her startup’s main demographic: women in their 20s and 30s. This allowed her to quickly explore the needs and pain points of her target market.
Her coursework provided a hands-on way to shape her fledgling firm. A Life Science Marketing course, for example, aided her in forming her startup’s campaigns and messaging. Power and Politics moved her to think about ways to build trust and credibility in her business relationships. Negotiations helped her navigate discussions with Bruno about co-founder equity.
“Professor Juliana Schroeder and I took a negotiations worksheet created for class and applied it to Twentyeight,” she says. “It made me think about things like my roles and interests as well as what I’m willing to give up versus what are must-haves for me.”
Faculty member Ted Janus, who founded J Capital and lectures on investing and finance, provided “perspective on what it’s really like to be an entrepreneur and how to position yourself for success.”
Kim MacPherson, MBA/MPH program director, connected Fan with alumni who worked in healthcare along with those employed on the venture capital side of the industry.
“I found their input helpful when thinking about what metrics to consider and how to go about making Twentyeight a venture-backed business.”
Extracurricular activities such as Innovation Corps (I-Corps) and the Venture Capital Investment Competition (VCIC) helped her to further define her target market and placed her “in the shoes” of potential VCs. (Fan’s VCIC team nabbed second place in the 2018 global finals.)
Twentyeight also put a $5,000 Student Venture Fund to good use as early seed money.
Back to New York
After graduation, Fan will return to New York to pursue her passion of creating a business that makes a difference for women in healthcare. “I’m excited about all of it—growing our brand awareness, scaling the company, and, above all, building a stellar experience for our users.”
Eager to pursue your vision and passion for the healthcare industry? Explore the possibilities available through the Full-time Berkeley MBA concurrent degree program with School of Public Health.