May 8, 2024

Fertility startups to watch, according to investors

VCs from Sofinnova, Antler and Ananda Impact Ventures share their top picks

One in six people globally are affected by infertility, underscoring the need to create accessible, affordable and high quality fertility solutions. 

Many startups in Europe are entering the fray to do just that — and investors are increasingly noticing them. Last week, Ovom raised €4.3m for its AI-powered fertility treatment. In March this year, Elixir Health raised €2m for its care platform for fertility treatment — and in December last year, Freya Biosciences, which develops microbial immunotherapies to relieve chronic inflammation in women, raised a $38m Series A. 

While round sizes in Europe are less than in the US, there are signs the fertility sector is ramping up. Between 2021 and 2023, European fertility startups raised $394m, according to Dealroom — more than the previous four years combined.


So which startups are investors keen to back this year? We asked three VCs to select their top picks with one catch: they can’t highlight companies from their own portfolios.

Mascha Bonk, Investment Manager at Ananda Impact Ventures

Bea Fertility - UK

Although in vitro fertilisation (IVF) treatments are commonly seen as the gold standard for infertility patients, they are often prohibitively expensive and not always necessary. For this reason, Bea Fertility has developed an intracervical insemination (ICI) applicator — which inserts sperm into the cervix which is a passageway to the uterus — designed for home use. 

Although ICI is not a novel concept, Bea's approach to providing it is innovative. The device is readily accessible on the market and has already demonstrated early success, resulting in live births.

Freya Biosciences - Denmark

Tackling what has long been a taboo subject, the biotech startup is studying and optimising the vaginal microbiome in ways that are truly innovative. Their recent $38 million Series A funding round represents one of the largest investments dedicated to immunotherapies for fertility, a leap forward in women's reproductive care.

Javier Nunez-Vicandi, Principal at Sofinnova

Overture Life — Spain

Overture is a clinical-stage biotech company that automates assisted reproductive procedures to improve in vitro fertilisation (IVF) outcomes through process automation and non-invasive embryo selection. They’ve created three products: DaVitri, m|z, and ICSI.A which standardise and simplify procedures across the embryology lab.

The solution improves the overall quality of care for patients and enables cost-effective treatment by clinicians.

Levy Health — Germany

LEVY Health has developed a CE-compliant software (which meets EU safety, health and environmental protection requirements) to decipher women’s fertility using a rule-based algorithm (which uses a list of prewritten rules to make decisions and solve problems).

We are witnessing a growing use of such solutions to support clinicians. For example, they assess patients’ needs more efficiently and help make effective treatment decisions. This saves time and money while improving the likelihood of a good outcome for the patient. 

LEVY Health's clinical decision support software allows OB-GYNs (obstetrics and gynecologists) to identify endocrine disorders swiftly and assists fertility clinics in streamlining complex examinations. 

Sarah Finegan, Senior Director at Antler

Fertifa — UK

Any company with Eileen Burbidge, founding partner of Passion Capital, as its executive director is worth watching. Fertifa provides reproductive health support and benefits for employees, including claims management, educational resources and personalised guidance. Fertifa has a very impressive founding team and their service is inspiring a very important discussion about the way parents and fertility is perceived and managed in the workplace. 


Gaia — UK

Founders are finding new and innovative ways to help people navigate the cost of living crisis. For the thousands of families that are unable to pursue IVF treatment because of the prohibitive costs, a service such as Gaia, which provides information and financial support about IVF, is more important than ever.

Using data collected by clinics, Gaia predicts how likely you are to have a baby and how many rounds of fertility treatment you should need. Then it insures the couple or woman against the risk of failure.

Hertility — UK

Hertility offers at home hormone and fertility tests for women. Its CEO and founder, Dr Helen O’Neill is an example of a growing number of women founders who are developing technology to revolutionise health services and treatments, addressing the existing gender disparities within a system historically overlooking women’s needs. 

Hertility focuses on increasing access to scientific data and services, ultimately empowering women in the healthcare system.