Ep 27: The Art of Egg Freezing | Brittany Hawkins, ELANZA Health

Brittany Hawkins is the author of the book, “Everything Egg Freezing”. She’s also the director and co-founder of the AI platform, ELANZA Wellness. ELANZA is established with a mission to create digital health tools helping fertility doctors to optimize their fertility treatment and deliver improved and better patient experience.

In this episode of HealthTech Hustle, Brittany talks about her journey through fertility treatment, the challenges she encountered through the process and how she overcame her fears. As a fertility patient herself, she has first-hand experience and she used it as a launching pad to see the opportunities on the field and what can be done better to improve the patients’ fertility journey.

“The actual emotional trauma that goes into fertility treatment is not being addressed enough for men. It is both men and women.” Brittany Hawkins [20:51]

Who is Brittany Hawkins and how she got into health care and ELANZA? [00:45]

Brittany Hawkins’ own health tech journey started when she underwent a fertility treatment called egg freezing. During these times, she learned that the process was lonely and disempowering and she didn’t want anyone to experience the challenges she faced.

On her journey, she realized that there’s little information about the fertility process so she and her co-author of “Everything Egg Freezing”, Catherine Hendy, shared notes regarding the matter and started to gather more information about how to optimize egg quality. They started to compile about 3,000 medical journals, talking to 25 fertility doctors and interviewed dozens of women to help with the comprehensive analysis.

She also went through they combinator startup school to help formulate and develop a way to help fertility patients. This led her and her team to build ELANZA, an AI platform that helps personalize patients’ journey, providing a 1-on-1 empathic assistance.

How did ELANZA turn from vision to reality? [04:38]

Brittany and her team are using the lean startup approach. With their mission to help patients have an improved experience on their fertility journey, ELANZA is constantly evolving and developing hypotheses to deliver the goals. This approach helped them stay focused and motivated without being too wedded to a single feature so they can acknowledge more and relevant challenges and provide optimal solutions.

How did data-gathering help strategize their gameplan? [06:45]

According to Brittany, the process of data-gathering, as such compiling about 3,000 medical journals and working with fertility clinics and doctors and interviewing women, was a game-changer. She believed that understanding the nuances, advantages, techniques and goals of the interviewed people helped her and ELANZA team to calibrate their business models and understand the features that might be beneficial to provide an excellent patient’s experience.

What were the challenges she faced in her entrepreneurship and how did she overcome them? [08:19]

Brittany takes every obstacle as a part of the joys and the challenges of life. She said that the main one she and her team faced was the fact that this technology has never been done before. They approached it by understanding the suitable business model for ELANZA so they have started to look at the economics of it. Calibrating the business model and revenue stream is the key.

How did Brittany find your team and how do they contribute to ELANZA? [10:50]

Before co-founding ELANZA and expanding their ventures, Catherine Hendy and Brittany Hawkins met in South Africa and have been friends for a long time. Their shared experience has been the foundation of their friendship and business partnership.

Catherine brings new perspectives to ELANZA which makes a very good partnership as it helps them calibrate and evaluate features in different viewpoints.

Their CTO, Aj, has been friends with Brittany for about 10-11 years now and they’ve met in San Francisco at a dinner party. Being a big thinker, he’s one of the first few people who cultivated the concept of AI.

How does working remotely work for Brittany and Catherine? [15:10]

Catherine lives in the UK while Brittany is in the US. This distance did not stop them to write their book remotely and nurture and conceptualize ELANZA through technology - WhatsApp and Google Docs. Video conferencing while brainstorming was the key in addition to flexibility in business hours and learning to adapt well.

Who is the target audience and how does the ELANZA team communicate with them? [18:35]

There’s a very symbiotic relationship between the doctors and the patients, according to Brittany. However, the patients are the core target users of the platform. At the moment, ELANZA is currently at a pilot stage and the team is directly working with the doctors to help introduce the AI platform to their patients.

Along with this, ELANZA team’s knowledge continuously expands as they gather feedback and suggestions from the doctors