“I have seen firsthand that mothers will do anything they can to save their babies. And yet 450 babies die every hour around the world. In villages where this toll is a reality, it is simply beyond a mother’s means to save her children.”
— Jane Chen
Jane Marie Chen (born December 5, 1978) is the co-founder of Embrace, a social enterprise startup that aims to help the 20 million premature and low birth-weight babies born every year, through a low-cost infant warmer.
Currently, Chen serves as CEO of Embrace Innovations, which has a mission to design and bring to market healthcare technologies for the developing world, starting with the infant warmer. The Embrace infant warmer costs about 1% of a traditional incubator, and is currently being distributed across clinics in India, with pilots being conducted in 10 countries. The Embrace infant warmer is estimated to have helped over 150,000 babies to date.
Chen served as the first Chief Executive Officer of Embrace, the non-profit arm of the organization, before stepping into the CEO role for Embrace Innovations, the for-profit social enterprise that was spun off in 2012.
Chen holds a BA in Psychology and Economics from Pomona College, a Masters in Public Administration from Harvard University, and an MBA from Stanford University.
Prior to Embrace, Chen worked with nonprofit organizations on healthcare issues in developing countries. She spent several years as the Program Director of a startup HIV/AIDS nonprofit in China (Chi Heng Foundation), and worked for the Clinton Foundation’s HIV/AIDS Initiative in Tanzania. She also worked at Monitor Group as a management consultant, advising Fortune 500 companies.
Chen has been a TED speaker, and was selected as one of Forbes’ Impact 30 in 2011. In 2011, Chen was also recognized as the Inspirational Young Alumni of the Year by Pomona College, and was the keynote speaker at Stanford’s Women in Management event in the same year. She is also featured in Stanford’s “Tradition of Innovation.”
In 2012, Chen was named as a Young Global Leader by the World Economic Forum, and was featured in Dove’s “Real Role Models” campaign for women and girls. She is also profiled in AOL’s Makers campaign. Chen is a TED India Fellow, TED Senior Fellow, Echoing Green Fellow, and Rainer Arnhold Fellow.
In 2013, Chen and the other co-founders of Embrace, Linus Liang, Nag Murty, and Rahul Panicker were awarded the prestigious Economist Innovation Award, under the category of Social and Economic Innovation. In the same year, Chen and her co-founder Rahul Panicker were also recognized as Schwab Social Entrepreneurs of the Year by the World Economic Forum.
While doing her MBA at Stanford, Chen and a few other fellow graduate students were assigned a class project to create a low-cost infant incubator that could be used in rural areas. In 2008, they co-founded Embrace, a non-profit organisation, to bring their project to life. In January 2012, Embrace moved into a hybrid structure. The non-profit entity, Embrace, donates infant warmers to the neediest areas through NGO partners, and provides educational programs on newborn health alongside the distribution of warmers. The for-profit social enterprise, Embrace Innovations, sells the warmers to paying entities, including governments and private clinics, all focusing on emerging markets. Embrace believes that this type of “hybrid” structure allows it to most effectively achieve its mission: to supply its infant warmers to every baby in need. Embrace Innovations, the for-profit social enterprise, raised its Series A round of financing in 2012 from Vinod Khosla’s Impact Fund and Capricorn Investment Group.
Embrace Innovations’ vision is to develop a line of disruptive healthcare technologies to reduce infant mortality in developing countries.
Please view an interview of Jane Chen with Namukini to understand her passion. Please click on the link below.