February 20, 2024

Juniper raises £1.5m to roll out “insurance for genitals” pilot

Is insurance a better model than benefits packages for looking after employees in 2024?

Juniper has raised £1.5m in pre-seed funding and emerged from stealth. The UK-based startup aims to provide healthcare insurance as a workplace benefit when it launches a pilot later this year.

The round was led by Insurtech Gateway, and featured VCs 2100 Ventures and Exceptional Ventures. Angel investors including Eurazeo’s Tara Reeves, Atomico Angel Vera Baker and fintech ComplyAdvantage founder Charles Delingpole were also involved.

If all goes to plan, the startup plans to launch its product officially sometime in 2025 — alongside going out to raise again in the second half of next year.


The funding will be spent on rolling out Juniper’s pilot programme with 1000 employees, across several UK businesses. To support that, the team of three will triple in size by the end of the year.

Genital insurance for the workplace

Founded in 2023, Juniper plans to offer health insurance for conditions like polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), menopause, erectile dysfunction and gender dysphoria. 

Depending on specific employers’ packages, Juniper will cover three key areas in reproductive health including discovery (consultations, tests and screening), treatment and family planning.

Treatments and testing for menopause, endometriosis and prostatitis will be covered, alongside things like sperm and egg freezing, IVF and adoption support. Juniper is targeting employers with over 250 staff, who will be able to make claims on the company's web app and choose where they have treatment. 

Cofounder and CEO Ambra Zhang’s personal experiences inspired the startup after being diagnosed with PCOS at a previous corporate job and finding out it wasn’t covered by her health insurance. 

According to Juniper’s research, she’s not alone. Based on the startup’s analysis of coverage offered by 50 health insurance policies from mainstream providers, 90% didn’t offer IVF, while other infertility and menopause treatments weren’t covered by any. 

With one in three women suffering from reproductive or gynaecological issues in the UK and ​​up to 7% of men affected by infertility, Juniper is hoping there’s a big gap in the market.

Juniper calculates the risk associated with its insurance plans but claims will be paid out using the cash from other larger insurance providers, which would take a cut from the price of the package. The startup is in the due diligence stage with a number of insurance providers, says Zhang. 

Alongside figuring out product-market-fit, Juniper will also use the pilot phase to gather data on reproductive health insurance claims to validate the model its risk calculator runs on — which, according to cofounder Sam Pratt, doesn’t exist for this market. Up to this point, Juniper has used publicly available data like research papers and a panel of medical and insurance providers to calculate coverage costs.

Insurance vs benefits

Over the past few years, a number of startups have emerged offering workplace benefits in the fertility and reproductive health space.


Eileen Burbidge’s UK reproductive benefits startup Fertifa raised a £5m seed round in June last year, German fertility provider Apryl picked up $4.4m in 2022 and UK-based Peppy — the best funded European startup in the sector — picked up $45m at the start of 2023. 

Hitting scale in the sector has proved a challenge, though. 

In November, Peppy confirmed to Sifted that it had made redundancies as revenue growth has slowed during the economic downturn. The startup said that increasing private health insurance premiums for employers has meant other employee healthcare benefit budgets have been put on hold.

There is a risk companies won’t have a budget for extra reproductive healthcare insurance, says Zhang.  

But in Juniper’s market analysis of more than 100 businesses, the startup found that employers were more willing to spend money on insurance than benefits, she tells Sifted.

That’s because insurance is seen as a “core benefit” as part of the compensation package, Zhang argues. Employee benefits that are purely services, on the other hand — like gym memberships, apps and cycle to work schemes and other fertility benefits providers — are seen as an “add-on benefit”.

“Companies are always more price sensitive when it comes to employee benefits and have a higher likelihood of churn vs traditional insurance products,” she says.

Kai Nicol-Schwarz

Kai Nicol-Schwarz is a reporter at Sifted. He covers UK tech and healthtech, and can be found on X and LinkedIn