The number of workplaces offering fertility and reproductive healthcare benefits are on the rise. Doing so can help companies become more competitive employers and bolster diversity, equity and inclusion efforts, for example by attracting more women and LGBTQ+ people. Based in London, Fertifa wants to enable more companies in Europe to offer reproductive benefits to workers. Its clients already include Lululemon, Meta, Bain Capital and Virgin. Today the startup announced it has raised a £5 million seed round (about $6.3 million USD) led by Notion Capital and Triple Point Ventures.
Other participants included Conviction, Calm/Storm, Tiny.vc, EQT Foundation and angel investors Eamon Jubbawy, Catherine and Jonathan Lenson, Dorothy Chou, Caroline and Mike Hudack and Scott Mackin. Existing investors Passion Capital, Lemonade Stand, SpeedInvest, Monzo co-founder Tom Blomfield, Adam Knight and Jeremy Yap also returned for the round.
Fertifa was founded in 2019 by Tony Chen and Nick Kuan, who have since left the company but remain as shareholders. Eileen Burbidge, who led Fertifa’s pre-seed round along with her Passion Capital partner Malin Posern, joined in January 2022 as executive director to lead the startup and take charge of its business development. Fertifa currently has 22 employees.
Burbridge told TechCrunch in an email that she’s committed to Fertifa’s mission because she has been through “many reproductive health journeys,” in different places and stages of her life, while maintaining a career. These include two elective terminations in her 20s in California, two miscarriages in her 30s while living in London, and three rounds of IVF in 2017. She is now perimenopausal and on HRT.
“Although I am an example that it’s possible to do (and to just grin and bear it or carry on), I’m also witness to what a difference it could make for employee wellbeing if individuals had support from their workplaces,” she said. “For example, I imagine how it might have helped me if I’d felt able to perhaps take a day off when I knew I was having a miscarriage at work or to tell someone even as GP of my own venture fund that I was going through IVF and having injections every day.” Access to reproductive healthcare was another concern. “As someone who grew up in America and now lives in the UK, I’m intensely sensitive to what appears to be a slow erosion or roll back of reproductive health rights (or even simply access to via public healthcare due to strains on the NHS and providers)—and I’m desperately keen to play a part in ensuring that as many people as possible have access to education and information so they may make the best choices for themselves,” Burbridge said.
Services Fertifa help facilitate include fertility preservation like egg, embryo and sperm freezing, fertility planning, IVF, IUI and ICSI treatment cycles, contraception, surrogacy and adoption, as well as care for menopause, endometriosis, PCOS, fibroids, STIs and men’s sexual health. Fertifa says it has increased revenues 10x over the last year, and also saved patients more than £1.5 million through employer-funded allowances. It’s also saved employers about £250,000 in compliance by identifying ineligible claims.
Other providers in the space include Poppy, which focuses on menopause, endometriosis and PCOS education in the United States, and reproductive health benefits platforms Apryl, Maven Clinic and Carrot. Fertifa says its differentiators are the scope of its offering, which includes educational resources that are available to employees through an app, clinical services from an in-house team lead by medical director Dr. Gidon Lieberman, reimbursement administration, prescription writing and fulfillment.
Burbridge added that one of Fertifa’s main “competitors” is inaction on the part of employers. Fertifa combats that by demonstrating the business case for providing reproductive health and wellbeing support. It is also often requested by employees through their networks or executive sponsors. “Another influence is when corporates see their competitors acting and investing in the space—and they realize they compete for talent with those companies, so need to meet the bar,” she added.
Fertifa works with companies of all sizes and monetizes through per employee per month pricing model. It also offers reimbursement administration by charging a 5% fee on transaction volume, with an annual minimum.
Te new funding will allow Fertifa to launch new services like treatment financing and scale up its enterprise sales. Its goal is to become the market leader in the UK within a year, and then the EMEA category leader by the end of 2024.
In a statement about the financing, Notion Capital partner Itxaso del Palacio said, “Although there is 8x more spent on assisted reproductive technology (ART, including IVF, IUI, ICSI, etc) in Europe over the U.S., there are three unicorn companies in the U.S. [Maven Clinic, Progyny and Kindbody] and none in Europe. It’s clear there is a massive opportunity for a team with commitment to better outcomes to make a significant impact. We believe we have found this in Fertifa and are excited to see what can be achieved.”