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Empowering Choices in Health: Ryan Seeley's Conversation with Dallas Barnes of Reya Health

Updated: Jul 3

Join us for the next feature in our "Money Talks with Ryan Seeley" series. Today, we spotlight Dallas Barnes, the innovative founder of Reya Health. Dallas's journey from personal struggle to creating a groundbreaking health tech company exemplifies how adversity can inspire significant advancements in healthcare. In this session, we dive into her story, explore the pivotal challenges she's faced, and discuss how her visionary approach is revolutionizing reproductive health.

 



Dallas Barnes
Dallas Barnes

The Genesis of Reya Health


Ryan: Dallas, what inspired you to found Reya Health, and what are the main challenges you aim to address through your platform?


Dallas: Reya grew from my own experience navigating contraceptives and my reproductive health. There is a grueling trial and error process that women and people with ovaries have to go through in order to find a birth control option that fits their needs, body, and lifestyle. This entire process can take upwards of several years, causing detrimental harm to someone’s physical and emotional well-being. While using one particular birth control method, my body reacted so adversely that I was admitted to the hospital. It should not be so difficult to find a contraceptive that we as individuals like. With Reya, we not only aim to personalize and improve the birth control experience for individuals, but we also aim to reduce the high rates of unplanned pregnancies, STIs, and sexual and gender-based violence we are seeing today.


Building a Foundation with Limited Resources


Ryan: Building a health tech company without a background in tech or medicine is quite a feat. How did you navigate this complex landscape?


Dallas: It’s certainly not for the faint of heart! I knew immediately that there was this massive problem that needed to be addressed and I also recognized that I needed a lot of help.  My first step in my entrepreneurial journey was to talk to people already in the space, those innovating, delivering care, and those building other health tools. I spent months meeting and talking to folks to understand the market, how the problem was felt by all sides, and what could be done to help. Through this networking and data collection, I met the people who would become the early Reya team. These folks remain active participants in the company today. I showed up with determination and grit and they had the knowledge and expertise. After a while, it became clear that together, we could make something special.



Ryan Seeley and Dallas Barnes on Money Talks



Overcoming Entrepreneurial Challenges


Ryan: As an advisor for Femtech Canada, where do you see the future of technology in women's health heading?


Dallas: There is definitely a push for more natural treatments in reproductive health.  From birth control that does not use hormones to prevent pregnancy to more natural treatments for hormonal conditions like PCOS, even options to address menopause symptoms. More options in general is a big trend going forward. That includes new types of male contraceptives and alternative ways to family plan like egg freezing and choosing “childless”. I think the direction we’re heading in women’s health at large is more options and informed choices for the patient and tools to support that sentiment. Of course, AI is buzzing right now, and rightly so. The data gap in women’s health is disturbing and AI has great potential to help with that. We must ensure intersectionality is at the core of these programs and follow-up data and reporting is being captured meaningfully. This way, we can intentionally support health equity.


Advice for Aspiring Health Tech Entrepreneurs


Ryan: What advice would you give to other entrepreneurs passionate about health tech but lacking direct experience in tech or medicine?


Dallas: First ask yourself what you really want to build. How can you best contribute to solving this problem? Being honest with yourself about how you truly want to contribute to the solution is critical because being passionate about a topic isn’t enough to build a successful company.  There are all sorts of ways people can create a significant impact. Once you define that for yourself, you can get started on what community and type of people you need to surround yourself with. Team is so important!  


Ryan: What’s something exciting you’re looking forward to in the future of Reya Health, or any personal goals you're eager to achieve?


Dallas:  I’m excited for Reya to be that guiding presence in young people’s lives, showing that knowledge can give them agency over their health. I’m looking forward to growing Reya internationally in places that really need it. Personally, I have many goals I aim to achieve, but one that is top of mind right now is becoming fluent in Spanish. 


Strategies for Securing Startup Funding


Ryan: Securing funding is a crucial step for many startups. What’s your top piece of advice for entrepreneurs preparing to raise capital?


Dallas: Develop meaningful relationships with investors long before you want to raise. The best advice I received around this was, to build and maintain professional relationships like you do with friends (keeping it appropriate and respectful of course). This helps you be authentic and establish real connections. Early investment is always about the person anyway. For me, this means sending a text when something reminds me of them, suggesting a walk or going to an event instead of the boring Zoom call. Maintaining these relationships when you’re not actively asking for money helps when you finally do ask! 


Our conversation with Dallas Barnes has highlighted a powerful truth: innovation driven by personal experience can lead to transformative solutions. Dallas’s journey from confronting critical health challenges to spearheading Reya Health underscores the profound impact of empathetic entrepreneurship. Her commitment to enhancing healthcare through technology not only addresses immediate needs but also sets the stage for future advancements that prioritize comprehensive, personalized care.


As Reya Health continues to grow and lead in this vital space, the potential for widespread impact on global health outcomes is enormous.


Keep an eye on Reya Health and Dallas Barnes as they forge ahead, breaking new ground and setting new standards in the health tech industry. Their ongoing efforts promise to bring exciting developments that will reshape how we think about health and wellness in the modern world. And stay tuned for her upcoming appearance on "Money Talks With Ryan Seeley" on Rogers TV.


Interested in connecting with Dallas? Get in touch with her on LinkedIn or by email.


Reya Health




 








 

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