Montcalm Insights

Inspiring Woman Founders

Crystal Brown

Crystal Brown, CEO, Healthiest.io

Montcalm believes in woman founders. Women are creating amazing and unique solutions that address global challenges and market needs. Yet, startup capital is not flowing fast enough to these founders. 2.2% of venture capital funding goes to women.

We are changing this by partnering with inspiring women to empower them to reach success. Montcalm has built a series of services to support effective capital raising and brings a robust ecosystem to ensure success.

We are proud to spotlight Crystal Brown, CEO and Founder of Healthiest, Montcalm’s inaugural woman founder and the first in a long pipeline of talented women we are partnering with. We love Crystal because of her spirit, her passion, and her persistence. She’s both visionary and strategic, and simultaneously independent and collaborative. She has an important idea and is out to change healthcare in a fundamental way.

Crystal Brown accidentally discovered herself as a community organizer and agent of systemic change.

When her first child was about to enter kindergarten, California implemented massive school budget cuts. Crystal knew kids were going to suffer. So she used her community volunteer connections and, together with six other women, founded “Educate Our State,” a grassroots education lobby that mobilized 1 million moms and dads to speak up for education.

From this experience, Crystal had two major takeaways:  one – she discovered she is a master organizer, and has the natural ability to mobilize people behind issues. Two – the real influence in government is held by businesses with a lot of money. She resolved to run a company that would have the clout to change legislation and policy.

Previously, Crystal had 12 years of experience in healthcare. She thoroughly understood the mismatch in incentives and where the best interests of patients were not being served. Crystal realized this was the issue area where her confluence of expertise and genius could have the most impact.

The vision for Healthiest was born, as an education and resources platform for natural healing. It would empower people to manage their own health, develop personalized treatment plans, and save expensive office visits for when they were really needed.

The question was, where to start? After extensive research and talking to numerous customers and investors, Crystal and her team settled on the Healthiest browser extension, which coaches consumers real-time as they shop and provides them with healthier alternatives to the products they are considering purchasing. Crystal’s research uncovered a huge and growing demographic of tech-savvy, globally-conscious consumers willing to pay more for healthier products, if only they had the right information at their fingertips. These customers are 100% enthusiastic about the modern tech solution Healthiest provides.

Crystal had met Holly Ruxin of Montcalm many years earlier. She had watched Holly leave Wall Street and launch her own private wealth management firm in 2012. One day at Blue Bottle Coffee, Holly outlined her vision for a different way of funding companies, where incentives are aligned, with transparency and collaboration. Crystal knew that this was a solution that was desperately needed.

Fast forward to 2019, after pivots and experiments by both Healthiest and Montcalm, the two women decided to collaborate. Montcalm had built a platform of capital raising services to work alongside founders to fund their dreams. Healthiest was ready.

The best part of working with Montcalm, Crystal says, is “having passionate, bright, experienced partners who care deeply and help me figure out how to move forward. I love the team, and their due diligence confirmed what I already knew but now gives us credibility with investors. It’s so helpful to have a home.”

“Initially, when I first started Healthiest, I didn’t want to identify myself as a woman founder. But I was wrong. No matter how strongly I present myself as a CEO like any other, the world sees me as a woman CEO. We women need to help each other and figure out models to scale that help.” In keeping with her genius for seeing solutions where others see obstacles, Crystal is feeling called to solve the problem of enabling women entrepreneurs to be successful. We at Montcalm are at her side.

Meanwhile, Healthiest continues rapid progress toward Crystal’s dream of a comprehensive natural healing platform. They are building the biggest existing database of products and ingredients. They are building their customer base. They are scoping other pieces of the solution in the ecosystem. Once Healthiest crosses their tipping point of revenue from their browser extension, they will be able to build the whole platform and change healthcare forever.

The world needs solutions from all kinds of people. We are changing the flow of capital to make sure important ideas make it into the marketplace. For more information, check out Montcalm Capital.