Gaia is a startup that effectively seeks to “de-risk” the entire IVF fertility treatment process, using products such as personalized insurance and payment plans. It’s almost BNPL for babies – but not quite.
It has now closed a $20m Series A funding round led by London’s Atomico. Previous investors were Kindred Capital, Seedcamp and US-based Clocktower Technology Ventures. This means Gaia has raised a total of $23 million. Atomico Partner Sasha Astafyeva will join Gaia’s Board of Directors.
In addition to insurance and payment plans, Gaia says it has predictive technology that predicts how many rounds a couple is likely to need in addition to clinics that can offer the right treatment, based on clinical data sets.
In a statement, Gaia CEO and Founder Nader AlSalim said, “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 it is bigger than ever. Three out of four people who seek fertility treatment never start because they think the financial burden would be too great. With only one in seven people in the UK and US who need IVF being able to access it, we need to rethink how people access, experience and pay for treatments that are physically and mentally taxing.
He says Gaia’s model means that those who do not have a live birth in cycles subject to Gaia’s prediction technology pay lower treatment costs. And those with babies break down the cost of their total treatment cycles into monthly payments, making it easier to plan overall costs.
“A host of factors – from falling sperm counts to people giving birth later in life – are putting upward pressure on demand for fertility services,” added Atomico partner Sasha Astafyeva. “With more people turning to fertility solutions, Gaia’s offering is well positioned to play a vital role in helping a large number of families who are excluded from the treatment process solely for financial reasons beyond their control. “
This is the second investment led by Atomico consumer partner Astafyeva (her first being Zapp’s Series A with Lightspeed) since joining Felix Capital as a partner.
Gaia was founded in 2019 by Nader AlSalim after he and his wife had to go through IVF themselves, and he realized how unpredictable treatment costs could be.
He told me: “We started trying to conceive our first child and it took us five rounds of IVF and three clinics in two countries and £50,000. We were lucky to have a child. Most people can’t even make it and then I realized the pain wasn’t just emotional and physical, it was also financial.
He said the big picture is that while 15% of people today need fertility treatment, less than 2% have access to it: “So the problem we’re really solving is giving people a layer of clarity and visibility, but also peace of mind to go and pursue this treatment without this financial unknown. But more and more importantly, we really want to open this market to the underserved.”