A Slice on Courtney Williams, Co-Founder and CEO of Emagine Technology Solutions
The United States is the most dangerous and expensive country in the developed world for a woman to give birth. For black and indigenous women, it’s even worse, as the death rate is two to three times higher than that of white women. Courtney Williams is a corporate businesswoman turned co-founder on a mission to modernize maternal healthcare. Williams and her team developed Emagine, a software company that offers pregnant women a new level of care. The advanced doctor-patient software combined with a handheld ultrasound aims to dramatically improve maternal health outcomes. Expecting mothers can log and manage pregnancy symptoms while their healthcare providers receive real-time updates on their progress, symptoms and vitals between doctor visits. The company now has 10 employees and will be entering its series A round in 2021.
Williams is a University of Arizona alumna and graduated from the Thunderbird School of Global Management with her MBA in 2010. It wasn’t passion for technology that launched her entrepreneurial journey but rather, family. Her sister was experiencing an unnecessarily difficult pregnancy which opened Williams’ eyes to an under-addressed issue: disparities in maternal healthcare in the U.S. As a biracial woman, Williams became especially aware of these disparities as she experienced them firsthand in her own family. She began researching and learning more about the problem, finding that it was a widespread issue many women face every day. Though she was gaining valuable experience in her corporate career, Williams knew she could have a greater impact by addressing the problems she saw with maternal healthcare in the U.S.
Leaving her comfortable corporate job, Williams took a huge risk and started Emagine in 2017. Pulling from both her sister’s and her own pregnancy experiences, Williams sought a co-founder who could complement her business background. “I partnered with a software engineering expert who had experience already in the medical field…it was important to me to build a team with software and technical experts.” With her team newly formed they worked hard to get the product on the market. However, it wasn’t long before they encountered one of their biggest obstacles: getting FDA clearance on the handheld ultrasound. “That was time and resource-intensive. There was a learning curve, a big learning curve.”
Throughout these challenges, Williams was supported by local incubators and accelerators who provided their mentorship. As a part of the Arizona Innovation Challenge Program, Dirk Beth was assigned entrepreneur-in-residence for Emagine. Providing wisdom and mentorship was easy for Beth as he was continually inspired by the work of Williams’ team. “He [Beth] is now formally a part of our advisory board because he believes in our mission and wants to help us succeed.” The key to success for Williams is staying true to the problem she initially set out to solve.
She sees technology as an ever-changing industry that necessitates evolution with each new development; it’s the learnings and studies that will eventually lead to the final product.
As Williams continues to fundraise for Emagine, her ultimate vision for the product motivates her daily. “If we can see better outcomes as a result of our technology, we consider that a success…already, our technology has contributed to saving the lives of patients, and we hope to scale, magnify and amplify those efforts as we move forward.” Dedicated to improving and saving the lives of women not only in the U.S but internationally, she hopes to empower both the provider and patients.
Courtney Williams started her career in a corporate environment before a personal experience prompted her to become an entrepreneur. She co-founded Emagine Solutions Technology in 2017 and later was the recipient of the Flinn Foundation Bioscience Entrepreneurship Award. Connect with Williams on LinkedIn.