Boom in backing for fertility start-ups after fall in birth rate
START-UPS driving innovation in the fertility industry are seeing a boom in investment, attracting $2.2bn (£1.8bn) in funds from venture capital investors over the past five years.
A study led by Octopus Ventures found a four-fold increase in funding for start-ups exploring new fertility treatments and testing kits between 2014 and 2019.
Funds raised last year by fertility start-ups globally topped $750m after 97 deals were completed, up from a deal count of 47 in 2014. The average round size was $7.7m in 2019.
Start-ups are looking at innovative solutions in an industry estimated to be worth $25bn, according to Data Bridge Market Research.
For instance, Modern Fertility, which raised $15m in a Series A round last year, has created a hormone testing kit that links to an app to help users track ovulation and fertile days. UKbased Adia Health, founded in 2018, offers a finger-prick fertility test at home, giving a smartphone-linked report that shows a user the levels of key hormones in their blood. Meanwhile, Ava offers a bracelet that monitors temperature while you sleep.
The surge in investment comes as infertility rates for men and women have soared in recent years.
A report from the Office for National Statistics last year estimated a decline in the birth rate of 9.9pc in England and Wales between 2012 and 2018.
Kamran Adle, investor at Octopus Ventures, said fertility treatments could be “genuinely life-changing for many people”, but had seen a lack of innovation for a number of years due to “relative under-investment” versus sectors such as telemedicine.
“The trend is clear to see. As fertility rates continue to decline, demand for fertility treatments will continue to rise, but not everyone who wants treatment can access it,” he said.