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Zuri Fertility, a new startup located in the Great Chicago area, recently launched, offering, through its platform, resources for patients who are trying to conceive. Telehealth, at-home testing, prescriptions, mental health services, education and care coordination are among the offered services.
The company, which means “beautiful” in Swahili, aims to modernize fertility treatments by providing access to early, high quality medical care.
The need for more solutions to approach fertility treatments is poignant, since, according to the Word Health Organization estimates, one in six adults is affected by infertility. For these individuals, navigating the process of conceiving a baby is usually full of obstacles, and navigating them can become extremely burdensome.
“Reproduction is a basic biological need, yet 1 in 6 couples worldwide suffer from infertility. Access to fertility care is a major problem, and it can take months or years for patients to get to a fertility clinic,” Giulianna Zaccardelli, MD, CEO and co-founder of Zuri Fertility, told VatorNews.
“Fertility issues are continuing to rise, and patients are not getting the care, support, or guidance that they need in a timely manner. We know that patients need to have better support and the ability to get the care that they need quickly, because time is the most important factor in a successful fertility outcome,”
Zuri Fertility was born out of the experience of co-founder Blair Matthews and his wife when they were trying to conceive. Like them, the typical customer for Zuri is a couple who is currently trying to get pregnant but hasn’t yet had success. These couples, who are often unsure of where to go or who to talk to next, can download Zuri, access their free resources, and also opt to complete a fertility workup within the app. The personal experience that motivated Matthews has proven to be the motor behind many successful health related initiatives. Simple Habit, an app which helps a person meditate to reduce stress, was born from its founder’s personal need. Personal struggle also prompted tech entrepreneur Onno Faber, RDMD’s founder, Chairman and Head of Product, to start a company to try and find cures for rare diseases. Kate Ryder, a former journalist for the New Yorker and mother of two, founded Maven to help fix the way the healthcare system treats mothers. Personal health issues also motivated Melinda Richter, Global Head of Johnson & Johnson Innovation, JLABS, not only to completely change her life, but also to profoundly modify the way J&J sees innovation in healthcare.
A Zuri Fertility membership will cost $2,000 upon registration with additional $500 monthly fees. The offering is currently self-pay, with plans to integrate insurance solutions throughout the year. The company is now testing with about 100 patients; its revenue-generating platform will launch later this summer, but it currently has a waitlist on its website of over 500 patients. This is why the company could not calculate any kind of ROI for its patients so far.
“We hope to be able to save patients significant time, and hopefully money, on their fertility journey by getting them the answers they need earlier in the process,” said Zaccardelli.
The company’s solution starts with education and resources to give patients the information they need to make informed decisions as they embark on their journey. Through telehealth with licensed providers and home diagnostics, it helps patients get a diagnosis for their cause of infertility much earlier on in their journey and create personalized care plans. Members will be given access to licensed therapists, nutritionists, and financial counselors.
“The vast majority of cases of infertility can be treated with medical management, and for those patients, we can prescribe medications and treatments and follow them through our app. For those patients who need to go to a fertility clinic for in-person treatment, we facilitate that referral,” explained Zaccardelli.
“In fertility, time equals success. A woman’s age has the most direct impact on her fertility potential. That’s why we are focused on providing access to high-quality care for all patients,” she added.
The ultimate goal of the company, which has so far raised a total of $450,000 from angel investors and Techstars NYC Powered by JP Morgan, is to be the leader in fertility care.
Zuri is not the only fertility oriented start up to elicit interest from financiers in recent years. Alife Health, the fertility technology company building artificial intelligence tools to advance in-vitro fertilization (IVF), announced March 22nd 2022 it has raised $22 million in Series A financing, the company aiming to get its fertility products to market and conduct clinical trials for treatments that are still in the pipeline.
The funding round 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. A year before that, in 2021, Maven Clinic, the largest virtual clinic for women’s and family health, announced August 17th il closed its $110 million Series D funding round, co-led by Dragoneer Investment Group and Lux Capital, with participation from BOND and existing investors Sequoia, Oak HC/FT, and Icon Ventures. Maven also welcomed Oprah Winfrey as an investor in its Series D round, its total funding going up to more than $200 million.