Jodi Neuhauser is the Co-Founder & CEO of Ovaterra. She is a fertility trailblazer, empowering others to proactively choose.
Knowledge is power. Knowledge aggregated is power multiplied. Knowledge simply delivered is game-changing.
Jodi believes that actionable knowledge is power. But for too long, healthcare has been siloed, making it too difficult to access, connect and interpret all of the information we need to know about ourselves and our bodies. The better we understand this information, the more empowered we are to make the best health choices for ourselves.
From her days on a farm in Virginia, Jodi was destined to become an entrepreneur. From a very early age, she realized that her purpose and joy came from empowering others with knowledge. A natural born teacher from a family of entrepreneurs, she was fascinated by helping others uncover the information needed to help themselves make better decisions.
As she built her career, Jodi’s passion for discovery combined with an irrepressible inner drive to conquer obstacles and solve problems, pulled her towards fixing a broken healthcare system for women. Through her own experiences, Jodi came to recognize that the current paradigm, characterized by outdated cultural norms, siloed information and countless barriers does not promote holistic health or empower us to make the right decisions for our own lives.
Nowhere is this challenge more pronounced than in the fertility space – an experience that is universal to every human – man and woman. Jodi believes all of us will face a reproductive decision at some point in our lives that is tied to a bigger, evolutionary issue around purpose and reason for being. There is no other decision which has a bigger impact on mental health, relationships, lifestyle, physical and emotional being. During her own journey to prepare for motherhood on her own terms, Jodi discovered how overwhelming, isolating, patronizing, misunderstood and overlooked the fertility experience can be. Inspired to take action, Jodi became dedicated to ensuring other women and couples feel surrounded and supported through their journey by creating a customized experience for them that is backed by science.
By uniting her tireless bias for action with her innate sense of community-building, Jodi launched a series of female-oriented start-ups, placing her at the forefront of the rapidly growing FemTech, Fertility and women’s health spaces. In the process, she Co-Founded Ovaterra, a reproductive and sexual health company bringing together science, products and people in a way that changes lives.
With Ovaterra, Jodi is building a platform that empowers couples by developing simple and easy to understand content combined with prioritized product recommendations that align to where they are in their conception journey. This puts the power back in the hands of the patient by providing clarity and control over the fertility journey — which Jodi believes is the future of women’s health.
As a true entrepreneur, Jodi sees possibility and opportunity across multiple phases of the women’s health journey. Never deterred by a challenge, she founded Reneu Travel, a fertility travel business providing women with access to affordable fertility care outside of the United States, after her own experience of freezing her eggs in South Africa. She also founded Allo Fertility, an AI-based platform that guides the reproductive journey at the cellular level using systems biology. In addition, she serves as an advisor to Ovajoyed, a South-African based fertility platform, Revve, a stealth startup examining the impact of birth control on micronutrients and Care + Wear, a healthware company redefining the patient experience through fashion.
Jodi honed her premium customer-centric focus at the world’s top marketing companies – WPP, Omnicom and Conde Nast. She previously ran Operations for Tatch, an at-home FDA-approved sleep apnea test and was VP of Product at LQA, the world’s leading luxury hotel data company. She was previously an Advisor to LifeQ, the world’s leading independent provider of biometrics and health information.
Jodi holds a Bachelor of Arts in Media and American Studies from the University of Virginia and an MBA in Global Marketing and Strategy from New York University. She is a member of Chief, the private network focused on supporting and connecting senior female leaders, and a Board Member of Naturally New York. She has served on the boards of the University of Virginia Club of New York, the University of Virginia Young Alumni Council and the National and Virginia 4-H Foundations. She has been a guest lecturer at the University of Virginia, New York University and large corporations.
Personally, Jodi is a farmer’s daughter who can milk a cow, Kellen’s mom and Justin’s partner. She is an Ironman triathlete, pilates fanatic, aspiring chef and global citizen who has lived in 5 countries and traveled to 38.
Where did the idea for Ovaterra come from?
Ovaterra brings together science, products and people to change lives. Ova comes from the egg, the beginning, wholeness and nourishment. Terra is our systemic foundation, a natural, fertile ground for growth. We start from the beginning, from who you are at a cellular level and build an understanding of your reproductive foundation for long-term health.
What does your typical day look like and how do you make it productive?
I work hard, making the most of every minute of everyday. I start my day by filling my own cup, so I can pour a full cup for others. I start my morning with either running, riding my Peloton or doing a pilates class. Then I spend time at my most important job, being a Mom to my daughter Kellen. Ovaterra is a hybrid company in which I work remotely allowing me to be completely focused on building the company from 9 to 5. I’m a big fan of daily prioritization and calendar time-blocking to make sure that my time is spent on the things that will move the company forward the fastest. I believe in setting boundaries and have a hard stop from 5-7:30 for family time. I usually log back in around 9pm as I do my best work from 9 to midnight.
How do you bring ideas to life?
Through simplicity. I look at technology through a lens of “Are we making this as simple as possible?” In fertility, a couple is already overwhelmed by the process so as we build out our technology stack we think about “how can we simplify the process to remove friction so we don’t make the experience even more overwhelming” We give a lot of thought, time and attention to how can we break down the content to be easier to understand and to digest.
What’s one trend that excites you?
We are on the cusp of a revolution in women’s health, particularly with regards to fertility. There are so many women building amazing companies that will drive the future of women’s health research, the customer experience and in-clinic care. I’m excited about all of the ideas and entrepreneurs who are identifying severe and chronic problems feminine health and are doing something about it by building billion-dollar solutions. I’m honored and humbled to be a part of this explosion.
What is one habit of yours that makes you more productive as an entrepreneur?
I am highly organized and overachievement is in my blood. It wasn’t good enough for me to do any triathlon, I needed to do the Ironman. When I was in high school, my closets were color-coded and labeled with tags so I could coordinate outfits easier. As an entrepreneur, my desk is a mess but I’m highly organized in my own way. I keep a running to-do list of follow-up required and prioritize it daily so I can be the most efficient with my day.
What advice would you give your younger self?
To have put myself first earlier on in my career – I spent the early part of my career putting the needs of others ahead of my own. It wasn’t until I became a Mom that I realized the true meaning of “You can’t pour from an empty cup.” Now, I work hard to prioritize the needs of myself and my family – so that I can give much more to those around me.
Stand for my own value – I spent the early part of my career, looking externally for validation of my worth and value while desperately trying to prove it to others. That’s exhausting and limiting. After working with an amazing executive coach, I realized my value comes from the inside. Instead of seeking validation from others, I can now focus on me which has freed up space and time so I can focus on new opportunities that I would have never thought existed.
Tell us something that’s true that almost nobody agrees with you on.
That one day the University of Virginia football team will win a national championship. We finally got one in basketball, but we’ve always been mid-pack in football except for the 2 weeks we were ranked #1 in the 1990’s – our “glory days”
As an entrepreneur, what is the one thing you do over and over and recommend everyone else do?
I’m a natural teacher and a voracious learner which allows me to be a better teacher. I have an insatiable thirst for knowledge. I spend, on average, at least an hour per day reading and absorbing information. I use any “non-productive” time to listen to books on Audible, and can often get distracted by a going down a “rabbit hole” while consuming information on topics of interest. One of my motto’s is to read as much as you can, as often as you can. Reading and learning open your mind to new opportunities and allow you to see new connections between people, businesses and experiences that may not be so obvious to someone else.
What is one strategy that has helped you grow your business?
I make things happen by meeting the right people at the right time which also serves to move my business forward. Networking comes natural to me, and I absolutely love meeting and connecting with new people. One of these connections was meeting Rebecca Fett, a biochemist turned lawyer who has written the #1 bestselling fertility book on Amazon for the last 5 years. A “get to know you” call turned into a partnership, which turned into a line of products. Now, her audience of 25,000 online followers along with readers of her book drive a large portion of our monthly sales – all because I saw she was looking at my LinkedIn profile.
What is one failure you had as an entrepreneur, and how did you overcome it?
When I first started this company, we received an FDA warning letter two days before we were supposed to launch our new brand. Our entire forecast had been built on this launch and it was going to drive our summer sales plan. We had to shut it all down, pull back and regroup. It was tough at the time, but with the support of my team, we repositioned the negative into a positive. We saw this as a learning opportunity on how to work with regulatory agencies.
Startups aren’t a linear path, there are always ups and downs but those downs are usually the best and fastest way to learn to accelerate in the future.
What is one business idea that you’re willing to give away to our readers?
In fertility, there’s a huge marketing opportunity to create a more customer centric experience. The industry is in need of a creative, media and marketing agencies who understand the nuances of reaching an emotionally-charged customer at an extremely urgent time. There are a number of strong startups in the space building amazing products, but I have yet to come across a creative agency that knows how to position them properly.
What is the best $100 you recently spent? What and why?
I got my hair, nails and eyebrows done the day before the Thanksgiving holiday. I rarely take time off as an entrepreneur, and when I do, I’m usually with my family. But I’m also a big proponent of self-care and rest. For me, to take a few hours to turn off, relax and recharge was vital to be able to come back to my business after the holiday with an overflowing cup.
What is one piece of software or a web service that helps you be productive?
Calendly. This was game-changing for me as it eliminated the back and forth emails of “here’s when I’m available, when are you available”. As a startup, that’s valuable time we don’t have. Ovaterra does not have an administrative staff to handle booking appointments. Being able to send my calendar link to a networking connection, potential client or customer saves hours of time each week, that I can put back into growing our business.
What is the one book that you recommend our community should read and why?
Conscious Capitalism by John Mackey and Rajendra Sisodia. We are moving into the conscious age where humanity in business will drive bottom-line results. We are starting to see it now with the “great resignation”, labor shortage and talent retention issues effecting a lot of industries. Conscious companies who treat employees as human beings tend to have employees that stay longer, are more engaged, productive and generate higher value for everyone involved. When we operate with higher purpose, stakeholder orientation, conscious leadership, and conscious culture, we elevate humanity through business. Mackey and Sisodia take readers through a Conscious Capitalism journey of how some of the top businesses in the world operate this way – driving value for all stakeholders involved and outperforming the market by 10x.
What is your favorite quote?
Knowledge is power. Knowledge aggregated is power multiplied. Knowledge simply delivered is game-changing.
- The more knowledge you have the more you can empower yourself to make the right decisions. Reading and learning open your mind to new opportunities and allow you to see new connections between people, businesses and experiences that may not be so obvious to someone else.
- Put yourself first and stand for your own value. After working with an amazing executive coach, I realized my value comes from the inside. Instead of seeking validation from others, I can now focus on me which has freed up space and time while bringing on new opportunities that I would have never thought existed.
- When sharing knowledge, keep it simple. How can we communicate more effectively on a topic that is overwhelming by nature to make it easy to understand and digestible.
Steve (Stefan) Junge hails from Germany and helps with the day-to-day publishing of interviews on IdeaMensch. While he and Mario don’t share a favorite soccer club, their enthusiasm to help entrepreneurs is a shared passion.