Fertility startups Ruth and Apryl seed rounds

The funding frenzy for fertility tech has only just begun, as two reproductive health companies secured a combined $6.7 million in seed funding on Thursday.

  • Los Angeles-based Ruth Health and Berlin-based Apryl raised $2.4 million and $4.3 million from venture backers in their respective geographies.

Manage the news: Digital health investors are flocking to fertility technology like never before, pouring unprecedented amounts of capital into a sector that has been overlooked by mainstream supporters for decades. Investors and analysts tell Axios:

  • People choose to have children later in life, making the process biologically more challenging and increasing the appeal of assistive technology.
  • Discussions about reproductive health, infertility and women’s health are beginning to be destigmatized.
  • Employers increasingly view reproductive health aids as a core workplace benefit.

Why it matters: Reproductive well-being is a core component of health care with impact beyond children and their birth parents, including their partners, adoptive parents, carers and employers.

  • “The industry is finally catching up to the fact that this is not just a women’s issue,” said CRV partner Kristin Baker Spohn, who previously invested in the start-up Carrot Fertility. “And it’s a tax on a woman’s highest growth potential, so we need better clinical care and infrastructure in place.”

Details: Ruth offers consumers virtual care tools that span pelvic floor training, lactation counseling, C-section recovery and intimacy, and Apryl offers tools to employers that include lab testing, care navigation, fertility treatment financing and adoption support.

  • Ruth’s seed funding was led by Giant Ventures, with participation from Citylight VC, Cleo Capital Scout Fund, Crista Galli Ventures and others, bringing its total capital raised to $3.1 million.
  • April’s seed funding was led by European venture firm Breega.

Context: The first quarter of 2022 saw a growth spurt for reproductive and maternal health startups. In April, the sector ranked among the top six funded clinical categories for the first time since 2019 with a combined funding of $424 million, according to a recent Rock Health report.

  • The trend was particularly evident in October 2021, when global investment in fertility technology jumped 89% from the year before, according to Crunchbase.
  • “I believe the market is ripe for this,” says Shereese Maynard, a health technology strategist who focuses on women’s health.

Game Condition: Companies in the fertility technology sector span a wide channel of services, from reproductive counseling and support to diagnostic testing and financial support.

  • UK-based Gaia launched its personalized in vitro fertilization (IVF) insurance product on the Lloyds of London market in February, raising $20 million in Series A funding.
  • San Francisco-based Frame Fertility raised a $2.8 million seed round this week to offer its virtual caregiving tools to “anyone who might want to have children,” including people who identify as LGBTQIA.

  • New York-based Noula Health raised $1.4 million in pre-funding in March to offer a mix of virtual coaching and home testing products to birth parents in English and Spanish.
  • San Francisco-based Future Family raised $25 million in Series B funding this month to offer birth parents both financial and virtual care support.

Be smart: Most businesses in this sector offer their services through employers, who according to investors were early adopters of the tools, as opposed to consumers, who would either have to pay out of pocket or seek reimbursement with insurance, which rarely covers infertility treatments.

  • “Employers think of it as total rewards rather than health and benefits,” says Baker Spohn.

The other side: The fertility technology industry is still in potty training as it faces significant challenges, such as the US health care system, where a fee-for-service model tends to encourage people to wait until they are actively trying to conceive. to get help, as opposed to opting for early-stage family planning or preventive care.

  • “Thinking preventively about fertility is not intuitive how people or the medical system currently treats it,” says Leslie Schrock, women’s health investor. “That should be the standard of care, but it’s going to take a lot of time to educate people.”

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