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Fertility startup Alife incubates $22M Series A to make IVF affordable with AI

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San-Franciso-based Alife Health, the fertility technology company building artificial intelligence (AI) tools to advance in-vitro fertilisation (IVF), announced that it has raised $22 million in Series A financing. It was co-led by existing Seed lead Deena Shakir at Lux Capital, and new investors Rebecca Kaden at Union Square Ventures and Anarghya Vardhana at Maveron, both of whom will also be joining Alife’s Board of Directors.

Around 180 million people in the world struggle with infertility and have to go through treatment options that are both expensive and inaccessible. The average IVF cycle can cost up to $25,000 in the U.S., and patients typically go through 3 to 5 cycles to have a baby. Successful pregnancies from IVF rely on a complex set of clinical decisions to deliver the optimal care for each patient. However, there is no unified technology platform working to optimise those decisions and improve the patient experience.

Founded by Paxton Maeder-York in 2020, Alife aims to enhance IVF clinical decision making with personalised, data-driven patient insights, ultimately helping clinicians maximise each patient’s chances of success while also lowering costs and barriers to IVF access. 

“Artificial intelligence has tremendous potential to impact the effectiveness and equity of fertility care,” says Paxton Maeder-York, CEO and Founder of Alife. “Our AI software uses one of the largest and most diverse IVF datasets in the world to analyse millions of data points from patient cycles and provide insights on what treatment has worked best for patients that are similar to you.

He adds, “Our goal is to enhance clinicians’ expertise with machine learning, helping them to improve outcomes and hopefully one day make AI-powered fertility care accessible for everyone.”

Stim Assist and more products 

With its new funding, Alife plans to bring its first two products to market and continue conducting clinical studies for a third product. Alife’s first medical product, Stim Assist, is used during the ovarian stimulation process, in which a patient receives an injection of medications to induce the ovaries to generate mature eggs. This stimulation allows clinicians to retrieve the eggs from the patient so they can be fertilised and implanted back into the uterus. 

Stim Assist is an AI tool built to provide clinicians with adjunctive information to support their decision-making as they attempt to retrieve the maximum number of mature eggs per cycle and reduce patient medication costs.

An IVF app

Alife is also set to release its first patient product later this year. Upon conducting extensive interviews with past IVF patients, the company identified the need to streamline and organise the IVF process. With their mobile app, patients will gain a comprehensive platform that includes educational resources and easy-to-use organisational tools for medication reminders, appointments, lab results, and more. 

The company’s third product, Embryo Predict, is an AI tool that analyses patient embryos and helps embryologists prioritise them for transfer. The technology is currently investigational.

“USV has long focused on partnering with businesses that have strong network effects with the belief that networks create significant value for both company and customer,” says Rebecca Kaden, Managing Partner at Union Square Ventures. “Alife is powerfully demonstrating this in fertility by applying advanced AI to large datasets to offer intelligent fertility care to patients and in a software wrapper that makes adoption by practitioners simple and effective. Nothing will change the fertility landscape in a more significant way than improving efficacy per cycle and lowering cost. Alife is at the forefront of creating this value and we’re thrilled to work with Paxton and his fantastic team as their products become standard practice in fertility treatments worldwide.”

All women Board of Directors

“It has been incredible to witness the progress and evolution of Alife since Lux led the Series Seed last year. The company is addressing the inequities and inefficiencies inherent to IVF starting from the source. By building a first-of-its kind modern, diverse dataset, Alife is on track to transform the anachronism of fertility care through advanced AI and intuitive vertical software,” says Deena Shakir, Partner at Lux Capital. “Not only is Alife’s executive team 50% women but I am proud to say that our newly-expanded Board of Directors is now all women, all mothers, and all seasoned investors with both personal and professional conviction in the generational potential of the company. Founder and CEO Paxton Maeder-York is an inimitable entrepreneur and leader, and working with him and the Alife team is a privilege and a joy.”

Investors that went through IVF

“As someone closely impacted by a challenging fertility journey, I had been on the lookout for a company that is aiming to meaningfully move the needle in IVF: driving down cost, driving up quality, and overall having an ability to expand accessibility to this increasingly needed technology. Paxton and his team have the alchemy of an innovative model, clinical connections, and deep patient empathy to build something impactful in the space. I am excited to see Alife become a trusted resource for clinicians to revamp fertility care as we know it,” says Anarghya Vardhana, Partner at Maveron.

Meanwhile, there has been a significant influx in the number of startups in the fertility space, recently, based out of London, Gaia raised $20M and also US fertility startup Carrot raised $75M to make IVF and egg-freezing more affordable.

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