Over the past few years, an increasing number of startups are entering the fertility space by offering right from hardware-based diagnostics to software that tracks.
According to Market Research Future (MRFR), the Global Fertility Services market size is expected to reach $36B with a CAGR of 8.5% by 2023. This indeed opens up a vast opportunity for startups to explore and innovate.
Gaia raises $20M
Based out of London, Gaia is one such company that is planning to capitalise on the opportunity. The company aims to design a patient-first, full end-to-end fertility care experience, starting with IVF.
Today, the UK-based company announced that it has raised $20M funding in a Series A round led by Atomico, bringing the total funding to $23M. As a part of the funding round, Atomico Partner Sasha Astafyeva joined the Gaia board as part of this investment.
How will the funding be used?
The company will use the funding to scale its operations and accelerate international expansion, targeting markets such as the US, where people are critically affected by a lack of access.
The average cost of IVF treatment today costs £15,000 in the UK and up to $50,000 in the US per cycle, with many couples requiring more than one treatment cycle to be successful but with little to no visibility into how many treatment cycles will be required at the outset.
In fact, Gaia was founded by Nader AlSalim in 2019 after he and his wife experienced the frustrations and limitations of IVF firsthand. Inspired by the event, Nader established Gaia to bring better access and personalised information to a process that so often sidelines the patient.
“The fertility care model as we know it today is broken because the gap between those who want access to fertility treatments and those who can afford access is greater than ever. Three out of four people who seek fertility treatment never start because they believe the financial burden would be too large,” said Gaia CEO and founder Nader AlSalim. “With only one in seven people in the UK and the US who require IVF being able to access it, we need to rethink how people access, experience, and pay for treatments which are physically and mentally taxing.”
How does it work?
Gaia says it offers a new way to pay for fertility care starting with a model that provides personalised insurance and payment plans for people going through IVF treatments.
To do this, Gaia leverages its predictive technology which uses secure and clinically validated datasets to predict the number of rounds a couple will likely need in addition to the clinics that can offer the right treatment.
Consequently, the UK company will be able to develop an insurance product that gives people greater visibility about the entire process.
“The model means that those who do not have a live birth in the rounds subject to Gaia’s prediction technology pay a fraction of the cost of the treatment, while those that do have a baby spread the cost into manageable monthly payments over time,” mentions Gaia in the press release.
This allows prospective parents to pursue their treatment with upfront clarity on their costs. Gaia trades in Lloyd’s of London insurance market as a coverholder of the global insurer Beazley, with further capacity provided by Chaucer and Atrium.
Founded in 2006, Atomico invests in tech founders at Series A and beyond with a particular focus on Europe, leveraging deep operational experience to supercharge their growth.
The VC has partnered with over 100 teams – including those at Klarna, Supercell, Graphcore, Compass, MessageBird, Masterclass, Attentive Mobile, Pipedrive, Zapp, Scandit and Hinge Health. The firm currently has $4B in assets under management.
“A whole host of factors – from declining sperm rates to people giving birth later in life – is leading to upward pressure on demand for fertility services,” said Atomico Partner Sasha Astafyeva. “With more people turning to fertility solutions, Gaia’s offer is well placed to play a vital role in helping huge numbers of families who are frozen out of the treatment process based solely on financial reasons beyond their control.”