NAWBO-MN Disrupter of the Year Ann Holder, Marani Health

Achieve! Awards Disrupter of the Year

This award recognizes a member who typically operates in a male-dominated industry and challenges the status-quo by breaking down gender barriers and broadening opportunities for future women owners.

 

Ann Holder  | Marani Health
CEO and Founder 

 

Ann’s leadership, entrepreneurship and contributions to the male-dominated industry of medtech and to the under-resourced area of fetal and maternal health, are broadening opportunities for other future women owners.  Ann navigated the healthcare challenges due to COVID, quickly pivoting the company’s business model which led to changes in the product development roadmap, funding and hiring plans.

Ann founded Marani Health (formerly known as Odonata Health) in 2018 in collaboration with the Mayo Clinic. Marani Health’s mission is to improve maternal and fetal health care and outcomes by providing connected and personalized pregnancy care, anytime, anywhere. The company has developed a remote monitoring system which includes a fetal and maternal monitoring device integrated into a telehealth provider platform to reduce in-clinic visits, improve available information to care professionals and improve overall prenatal care, especially for at-risk populations and high-risk pregnancies.

Ann has faced several challenges in leading Marani Health. Securing early-stage funding was one due to the market’s lack of willingness to invest in fetal and maternal health. Further, less than 2% of investment dollars go to women-led medtech startups. To overcome these hurdles, she leveraged her network of relationships that she had cultivated through the years to bring together a strong team of women executives and venture capitalists as the starting investors: Kathy Tune (Forth Element Capital Founder, Thomas McNerney & Partners Fund Partner), Shelly Lanning (SWL Healthcare Fund Partner) and Eileen Nolan (Workhuman Business Executive).

Additionally, Ann explored alternative funding paths, leading to Marani being named a finalist in the Melinda Gate’s Female Founders and TFX Capital’s Annual Veteran Startup competitions, along with winning grants with the National Science Fund (NSF) and Duke University. Beyond funding, these efforts helped secure market confidence, leading to subsequent funding rounds where the company has currently raised a total of $5.5M.

Disrupting traditional paths to blaze new ones has been core to what Ann has done. She attended West Point where her class graduated less than 10% women, served in the military and became an engineer where there was even a lower percentage of women.

In addition to founding Marani, Ann also brings a rich background in healthcare sales, marketing, finance, engineering and operations. Her passion in healthcare grew while at Medtronic, where she worked at Medtronic as an executive with large hospital systems to launch new products and services. She later joined as an entrepreneur in residence with Mayo Clinic’s Mayo Ventures to develop fetal monitoring technology. Additionally, she founded B2H, a medical supply company supporting the VA, and Spearhead Rugby Academy, a non-profit supporting at-risk young adults. Ann serves on the board of the entrepreneurial community of Forge North and served on the board of Minnesota Diversified Industries (MDI) which helps disabled veterans find employment. Ann has also served as a guest speaker for the University of Minnesota’s Carlson School of Management, Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management at and St. Thomas University, guiding female and male students on career development, leadership and entrepreneurship. She has also spoken on a number of healthcare panels to educate other entrepreneurs on maternal health disparities, data and AI for the healthcare incubators of Medical Alley and MATTER.

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