Béa Fertility wants to provide an at-home alternative to IVF. Check out the 9-slide pitch deck the startup used to secure $3.2 million.
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- London-based Béa Fertility has raised $3.2 million in fresh funding from Octopus Ventures.
- The startup aims to develop a more affordable at-home alternative to IVF.
- It wants to enable intracervical insemination (ICI), which allows women to inseminate themselves.
A startup that has created an at-home fertility treatment device for consumers has just secured $3.2 million from Octopus Ventures.
Béa Fertility, which launched in 2020, is bringing back an alternative to IVF that fell out of popularity by the 1990s, as IVF offered a promising prospect of pregnancy to LGBTQ couples and those with higher cases of male infertility. It wants to enable intracervical insemination (ICI), which allows women to inseminate themselves in a bid to get pregnant.
Cofounder and CEO Tess Cosad said that “more and more people are struggling to start a family,” due to rising infertility rates globally.
“We need an early-stage intervention,” she said. “A lot of options are out of alignment — so we’ve opened the fertility pathway and created a treatment that’s more affordable.”
The startup is offering a medical device and treatment kit that delivers ICI. It contains a small cervical cap, which users have to put the semen sample in, along with a clinical-grade applicator that would be inserted in the cervix. The cap is placed in there for an hour, and users can conduct a pregnancy test two weeks after the procedure.
Whereas the success rate of IVF stands at 27%, ICI has a 50% success rate across six treatment cycles for women under 30, according to the UK’s National Institute of Health and Care Excellence. But IVF is commonly offered to those who have unexplained fertility, endometriosis, as well as in mild cases of male infertility, per Manchester Fertility. It’s also been a more popular alternative to ICI because the latter requires women to have open and healthy fallopian tubes, which can drastically affect fertility rates. For that reason, ICI is more commonly used by those who are beginning to conceive and have not encountered cervical problems.
The startup aims to offer a cheaper alternative to IVF, which can cost up to £5,000 per cycle (around $6,431) in the UK. The kit will initially retail at £350 ($450) for its first batch of customers, after which it will be priced at £700 ($900).
Consumers can order Béa’s three-cycle program, which dispatches a kit every month, along with a support program. The kit also provides a daily treatment guide that gives instructions on tracking ovulation cycles and using the device correctly.
The startup is gearing up to launch a pilot program with the UK’s National Health Service and enroll its users in a fertility treatment study.
The tech downturn has created a funding winter that’s starkly affected women’s health startups. Although fertility as a sector is getting attention from private equity giants, many startups have found the fundraising environment challenging.
“I created Béa in lockdown — and I thought funding was complex in COVID-19, but I don’t think I understood,” said Cosad. “You end up raising another round in the downturn, and it’s a test of the resolve and resilience.”
The round was led by UK-based venture capital firm Octopus Ventures, which has previously backed women’s health startups Elvie and Vira Health. Additional backing came from JamJar and Forward Partners, and existing investors Calm/Storm and Q Ventures.
With the fresh funds, the startup will focus on its consumer launch in the UK, as well as its NHS pilot program.
Check out its 9-slide pitch deck below: