We recently wrapped our 2022 Everyday Economy Accelerator program. To celebrate this cohort’s graduation, we have been spotlighting each team on the NextView blog over the course of the past few weeks. These interviews were conducted halfway through the 12-week program, and they provide a human snapshot into the minds of our driven, dedicated, determined accelerator founders. Real people, building real companies, which are really redesigning the Everyday Economy.
Last, but certainly not least, we present to you… Poplin! Let’s jump right in and meet Alexandria, shall we?
Founder: Alexandria DeVito
“We believe Poplin has the potential to create a new category of pre-pregnancy wellness for the millions of hopeful parents that are either struggling with fertility or just want to do whatever they can to ensure a healthy, thriving pregnancy. Alexandria has unparalleled founder/market fit, and the kind of deep experience and passion for her market that we love to see in all of the founders we work with.” – Rob Go
Rachel Hodes (RH): What problem exists in the market that your business is trying to solve?
Alexandria DeVito (AD): Today, fertility is almost always being addressed in the context of infertility. This “wait and see” approach is outdated and has proven to be inefficient & ineffective, not to mention often incredibly physically, emotionally and financially draining for all involved. I knew there had to be a better way.
In my years spent as a clinical nutritionist, I worked with hundreds of clients across the spectrum of conception – those preparing, those trying and those struggling. I realized that the earlier we started preconception preparation, the better the outcomes and the experience for both parents-to-be and for baby. What I experienced firsthand as a clinician was also born out in the research. The clinical evidence is overwhelmingly clear: preparing for pregnancy makes it easier to get pregnant, have a healthy pregnancy and have a healthy baby. I’m continually surprised that this isn’t headline news yet – hopefully it will be soon!
Poplin was born to demystify the entire preconception process. We help couples *get ready* to get pregnant, starting pre-pregnancy wellness testing for both partners.
RH: How is your company planning to solve this problem?
AD: Poplin is the first pre-pregnancy wellness company for couples. We help couples *get ready* to get pregnant, starting with the most comprehensive pre-pregnancy wellness assessment on the market.
Studies show that healthier parents give birth to healthier children. We help you figure out your starting point and find out if there are any red flags or yellow flags standing in the way of a potential conception – the earlier you know, the more time and resources you can leverage to address things. And, unlike most other fertility kits or companies out there, we test more than your hormones, we test your whole health.
RH: Who are your customers?
AD: We support couples that are planning to conceive in the next year.
RH: And last but not least, why should the world care about this problem and how you’re solving it? Feel free to speak to the potential economic impacts, environmental impacts, social/political impacts, etc.
AD: The current paradigm is not working. Infertility continues to rise. Only ~3% of people have access to IVF (in-vitro fertilization), primarily due to cost and access issues. There are only 1300 reproductive endocrinologists nationally, largely located in major metro areas, and there is already a 9,000 Ob/Gyn shortage (with a projected deficit of 22,000 by 2050.). There are just not enough skilled professionals to support the current infertility-centric IVF model. It is unsustainable.
And yet, the problem is very real – and it is begging for a solution.
There is nothing more core to the everyday economy than the health of current and future generations. If we are not well, then we cannot create new works of art or buildings or businesses, we cannot care for ourselves and others, we cannot care for the planet. If our children are not well, they cannot be stewards of the future.
Health underpins everything, especially innovation – and this is where pre-pregnancy care comes in. Pre-pregnancy care sets the stage for healthier parents – and by extension, healthier children.
In the future, I imagine a world where we prepare for pregnancy just like we prepare for a wedding – in advance, with appropriate guidance, tools and support along the way.
Get to know the founders
RH: Alexandria, please introduce yourself.
AD: I spent the early part of my career doing investment banking in Silicon Valley and healthcare consulting in NY. Then, I went back to school to pursue dual Master’s degrees (one in business and one in nutrition) and a certification in functional medicine. I developed Poplin after working as a clinical nutritionist with couples trying to conceive, reviewing thousands of lab tests to try to discern what was going on and realizing that they had preventable health problems that were often going undiagnosed by their doctors (including well into multiple rounds of fertility treatments). As a relatively type A individual, I knew that there had to be a more proactive and comprehensive approach to getting pregnant than this. After all, we have Zola for planning a wedding and Zillow for buying a home – where is the platform for planning a pregnancy? Enter Poplin, the first pre-pregnancy wellness platform for couples.
RH: What’s your favorite thing about being an early-stage founder? And your least?
AD: I once heard someone say, “if you want the best personal development seminar on the planet, start a business” and that is one of the best summaries of what I find so intriguing and fulfilling about being a founder. As we build and grow, I get a crash course in every domain of business – Product Development 101, Digital Marketing 101, Hiring 101 and so forth. There are both hard and soft skills that coincide with each of these areas and it’s a whirlwind to keep pace. This keeps things interesting, challenging, humbling and rewarding. It’s an honor and a privilege to get to do this work and it’s a life’s journey to do it well.
I find the hardest part of being a founder is knowing when to stay committed to a path and when to shift strategies. You have to balance extreme focus and determination with appropriate levels of flexibility and humility – and you need to discern which is which.
RH: What show are you watching right now/what book are you reading right now? Would you recommend it?
I’ve been listening to Becoming Supernatural by Dr. Joe Dispenza. It’s one part psychology, one part physiology, one part spirituality – all through the lens of meditation and creative visualization for high performance. Highly recommend it!
RH: What are you hoping to learn/get out of your time in the NextView Everyday Economy Accelerator?
AD: Magic things happen when you get a bunch of founders together to build and share insights and learnings. NextView has created an amazing and supportive container for this to happen – with the added bonus of an exceptional core team that can share their experience and guidance having worked alongside hundreds of other founding teams across categories and stages. It’s a rare opportunity to be in the vortex of inspiration, collaboration and an accelerated implementation window.
RH: Close your eyes and imagine where your business will be in five years. What’s the same and what’s different?
AD: If we do our job well, in five years’ time, pre-pregnancy wellness will be the cultural norm. Pre-pregnancy care will be the new prenatal care – as a culture, it’s just what we do to ensure the health and happiness of future generations. All couples hoping to conceive will have the tools and guidance to prepare in advance for the best possible outcomes.
From there, Poplin will continue our mission of supporting future generations. I’m going to let our customers dictate what that looks like from a product perspective – but that may include migrating into earlier or later stages of the human development lifecycle.
For more from Poplin and Alexandria, be sure to follow along on LinkedIn and Instagram.