Suzie Welsh (BSN `11) knows that nursing and business go hand in hand.
“I think nurses make great innovators, because you have to innovate on the floor every day,” she says. “You have to be quick, and you have to be smart.”
Welsh is founder and CEO of BINTO, a Philadelphia-based subscription service for women that combines personalized over-the-counter vitamin supplements, fertility and wellness education from licensed clinicians, and a cutting-edge digital platform. And if BINTO is a relative newcomer to the ever-growing fertility and wellness marketplace for women, Welsh’s interest in women’s health goes way back.
Welsh got her first glimpse at age 16 when she took part in a mission trip to Malawi and saw communities of women in particular shattered by the HIV/AIDS epidemic—an experience that led her to pursue a nursing degree at UVA. After graduation, while concurrently working at a fertility clinic and pursuing a master’s degree in health leadership at the University of Pennsylvania—she saw a common theme emerge: a dearth of credible resources related to fertility and wellness that left many of her patients ill-equipped and misinformed.
“I was always fielding questions about the types of vitamins that prepare women for pregnancy, and I realized that all the information available was really segmented and confusing,” Welsh says. “Women’s health is a huge market, but very few [supplement] companies are founded by licensed professionals—something that adds a layer of trust that people want.”
"Women's health is a huge market, but very few [supplement] companies are founded by licensed professionals - something that adds a layer of trust that people want."Suzie Welsh, founder of BINTO (BSN `11)
BINTO, launched in 2016, aimed to meet women’s hunger for accessible, evidence-based health education and natural products. Serving women across all life stages—from the childbearing years into pregnancy and all the way through menopause—customers visit the website, answer questions (like What symptoms are you looking for relief from? and How would you describe your current lifestyle?), and sign up to receive a personalized regimen of supplements that are delivered to their door.
BINTO’s beauty, says Welsh, is its personalized approach.
“It’s about getting you just what you need and nothing you don’t,” she says. “When it comes to women’s health, we don’t believe in a one-size-fits-all approach.”
The service, available for $35-50 a month, also offers subscribers access to BINTO’s licensed care team who are available to answer wellness and health questions via phone, video, email, or online chat. Education is a critical component of Welsh’s vision for BINTO—an idea she credits to her time at UVA.
“I’ll never forget how [professor] Kathy Haugh taught us that while anyone can do a task, it’s our job as nurses to educate our patients,” Welsh says. “I’ve carried that with me throughout my career.”
BINTO appears to be filling a need. The company enjoyed a 20 percent month-over-month compound growth during 2018, and into 2019, and Welsh has plans to expand the company’s digital presence and expand the brand around the world. Already, she’s developed partnerships with stores like Anthropologie and Urban Outfitters which already carry starter supplement packs.
“If you look at healthcare today, we focus a lot on sick care and rely heavily on prescription drugs as the first-line treatment option,” Welsh says. “I believe we can improve communities and health outcomes if we change the delivery of care, and shift our thinking from sick care to preventative care by leveraging technology and using over-the-counter products as a first-line treatment.”