Long lacking in technical innovation, women’s health is now experiencing a surge in financing from venture capital firms for Fertility Tech. According to the World Health Organization, infertility is a significant problem that affects 15% of couples worldwide who are of reproductive age.
VCs have just recently begun to focus significantly on businesses that are trying to solve the problem. According to PitchBook statistics, $823.1 million was invested across 90 deals last year, which represents an increase of 273.3% and 109.3% over the previous five years, respectively. As a result, startups are attempting to alleviate different points of pain in a woman’s journey to become pregnant, whether it be through modern brick-and-mortar clinics, information platforms, mobile applications, wearables, or other medical procedures.
What is Fertility Tech?
Family and fertility technology, or FemTech, is a sector of the healthcare industry that has historically been underdeveloped. The cutting-edge services and solutions offered by this industry cover the whole lived experience of women’s health and fertility care, from telehealth services to family benefits platforms, period monitoring applications to wearables for menopausal comfort.
FemTech is defined as any program, test, item, or service that uses technology to enhance women’s health. Femtech, and more especially the companies in the fertility and contraceptive lanes, hasn’t been in the news as frequently as, say, artificial intelligence or blockchain technology. Most likely because the sector’s businesses haven’t completed as many noteworthy venture deals.
The Fertility Tech Market
In the US, infertility is a prevalent issue. According to the CDC, 10 out of every 100 women in the US have trouble getting pregnant or maintaining their pregnancy. As a result, a new “FemTech” sector has emerged, with a focus on reproductive tech and digital goods made to help those trying to conceive.
Analysts predict that the market for fertility treatments will reach $41 billion by 2026, driven in part by the fact that one in eight couples experience difficulties conceiving or maintaining pregnancies, according to statistics from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Additionally, fertility clinics assist LGBTQ+ couples and single parents in starting families.
And the industry has drawn significant investment capital. According to statistics from Rock Health, an investment fund focused on telemedicine, fertility support firms in the U.S. acquired $345 million in venture financing in 2021, which was up 35% from $254 million in 2020. Since 2019, when businesses in the fertility support industry acquired $133 million, fundraising has more than doubled.
Where’s The Money Going?
A large portion of the money invested in fertility is allocated to quick-acting, well-known medical technology like egg-freezing and IVF advancements. A contributing factor to the issue is that discussions about fertility sometimes start when people are already intending to have children. This emphasizes reactive therapy more.
IVF has been around for a while, and according to the Society for Assisted Reproductive Technology, it has a success rate for live births of about 55% for women under the age of 35. Less hazardous than investing in early-stage companies exploring unproven technology is supporting entrepreneurs that make IVF more accessible or increase its effectiveness by maximizing embryo selection or sperm count.
It is risky to invest in a medical startup in any sector. Additionally, reproductive entrepreneurs have a heavier regulatory burden than those developing apps or financial products and demand a greater time and financial investment. Investors may be put off by a startup’s potential ten-year product development cycle.
Benefits of Fertility Tech?
For those who are having trouble becoming pregnant, access is a big problem. Worldwide and among individual nations, laws governing fertility vary. Infertility is frequently neglected even in places with public healthcare systems since it isn’t viewed as a “life or death” problem.
Although providing access to reproductive care is urgently needed, emerging prevention technologies and therapies may eventually lower expenses. More VCs are focusing on the area by making investments in businesses that address access to care.
It’s easy to notice the progression. Demand for fertility treatments will increase as fertility rates continue to drop. With new services and technology providing more scalable, less expensive treatments. In the end, this offers a tremendous chance to change outcomes for patients and ought to make having a child far more accessible to everyone.
This is now beginning to change as a result of significant scientific and technical advancements, and some smart businesses are creating quite intriguing startups in the sector. Several of them have the ability to significantly disrupt the market, and VC funding will be essential to bringing about this shift.
Fertility Tech is on the rise, although the sector is not as funded as others in the industry. It is not simple to fix, but female presence in VC must increase if the FemTech sector is to realize its full potential. In the end, this representation will result in a significant increase in financing, which will enable FemTech to continue upending the whole HealthTech industry.
At Storm3, we work with some of the most innovative FemTechs worldwide, connecting top talent with startups and scale ups to help them achieve their mission of improving female healthcare. If you’re looking to hire for your FemTech, speak to our consultants about your hiring needs. Alternatively, get to know more about the roles we work with here.