Frame Fertility Raises $2.8M in Seed Funding CEO and Co-Founder Jessica Bell van der Wal tells Axios exclusively.
Why it matters: As fertility businesses gain increasing attention from investors and the broader public, a flock of companies is emerging focused on identifying reproductive issues early and recognizing fertility as one component of overall wellness.
- In addition to women, Frame says it offers care to “anyone who might want to have children,” including groups often overlooked by the mainstream medical system when it comes to fertility, including men and people who identify as LGBTQIA.
Context: Frame is not the only company focusing on inclusion.
- Noula Health, which recently raised $1.4 million in pre-funding, focuses on culturally competent care and offers its services in English and Spanish, Axios exclusively reported.
Details: Looking Glass Capital led the seed round. Flare Capital Partners, Great Oaks Venture Capital, Healthworx and Brand Foundry Ventures joined.
- Individual investors from a number of other digital health companies also participated in the round, including Headspace Health chief marketing officer Christine Hsu Evans, Everly Health CEO Julia Cheek, and Giovanni Colella, the founder of Castlight, OODA and Brightline Health.
How it works: Framework is employer and provider oriented. Its users:
- First, receive a fertility score – generated by its algorithm, which incorporates factors including medical and family history, reproductive health, lifestyle, finances and partner information (if applicable).
- Next, they are paired with a coach and given a care plan.
- Frame also helps connect users to providers, employer benefits, products and educational tools through partnerships with companies including home testing company Everly Health, fertility finance Sunfish and meal delivery service Territory Foods.
- “We built this product because it would have helped us,” Bell van der Wal, who went through infertility struggles with her husband and chief product officer Corey van der Wal, tells Axios.
What they say: Analysts and experts say companies like Frame take a well-researched approach, appropriately targeting people earlier in life – but say challenges include the current medical system.
- Frame seems to have found a sweet spot where it can act as a resource and coach for those in the planning stages, said Shereese Maynard, a health technology strategist who focuses on women’s health.
- But “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.”
Yes, and: Experts also said they want to see more evidence of how their offer can help people of color — especially black women, who are three times more likely to die from a pregnancy-related cause than white women.
- “I would like to see how this solution can mitigate some of the issues associated with black maternal mortality,” Maynard added.
What is next: Frame’s next moves include:
- Building a user advisory board that is representative of the populations it aims to serve.
- Explore the potential of partnering with a company that offers preconception genetic carrier screenings.