Anja Health, the personalized doctor-backed cord blood banking company, has raised $4.5M in seed funding led by Alexis Ohanian’s Seven Seven Six. Other participants in the round include Harvest Ventures and Crista Galli Ventures, in addition to prominent athletes and executives including Aly Raisman, Cleo Abram, Chris Ovitz, Balaji Srinivisan, Zachariah Reitano, CEO and founder of Ro, and Tim Lenardo, CEO and founder of JetFuel. Anja Health will use the new funds to accelerate its mission to make cord blood stem cell banking more accessible and affordable for all – regardless of race, socioeconomic status or income.
“Far too many parents lack knowledge or access to quality health care. At Anja, we’re working to ensure that all parents have an equitable experience and that their umbilical cords and placentas don’t go to waste – as most do today,” says Kathryn Cross, Founder of Anja Health. “I am grateful to have Seven Seven Six – as I have always admired his platform surrounding parents’ rights, which aligns with Anja Health’s mission of empowering parents to make more informed choices about their baby’s health,” says Cross. “Anja Health is on a mission to democratize access to not only stem cells, but information on birth in general.”
Today’s process of finding a cord blood match is difficult – especially for people of color. Anja Health has revolutionized this pain point, one that founder Kathryn Cross knows personally as she experienced the hurdles of finding a match for her brother who suffered from cerebral palsy and eventually passed away. As Cross’ parents searched for an umbilical cord blood match for her brother, they ran into many hurdles. Both Cross and her brother are half-Asian, which made it difficult to find a match as matching is ethnicity based, and most of today’s donors are white, and populated in high-income areas. This journey inspired Cross’ passion for Anja Health, which led her to share videos on TikTok about cord blood banking. With millions of views on her videos and questions flooding the comments section, Cross knew she had found her calling to create an approachable platform to cord blood banking that prioritizes the user experience and accessibility.
“At Seven Seven Six, we especially love funding companies that align with our values of equity and compassion,” said Seven Seven Six founder, Alexis Ohanian. “Anja Health does just that. Between their commitment to democratizing and creating affordable access to cord blood banking and their focus on the future of healthcare solutions.”
The FDA currently approves cord blood as a treatment for certain lymphomas, solid tumors, anemias, inherited red cell abnormalities, leukemias, inherited immune system disorders, bone marrow cancers, and inherited metabolic disorders, but cord tissue and placenta stem cells have also been used within studies and clinical trials to treat acquired hearing loss, autism, cerebral palsy, congenital heart defects and more. The process of Anja Health is simple. The company sends soon-to-be parents a kit leading up to their birth experience. Immediately after birth, your baby’s umbilical cord is clamped and cut, but Anja Health’s offering is also compatible with up to 2 minutes of delayed cord clamping. Once you call the number on our collection kit to alert our shipping team that you’ve given birth, a medical courier picks up the collection kit from wherever you are in the United States and speedily delivers it to a lab within 72 hours or less. Necessary processing is carried out, and cord blood, cord tissue, and placenta stem cells are stored in a liquid nitrogen.
The company will use the new financing to bolster its executive team, drive strategic growth, and continue to foster its community and reach and inform all parents-to-be.