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Exclusive: Reshma Saujani backs "Bumble for surrogacy" startup Nodal

Photo Illustration: Tiffany Herring/Axios; Photo: Courtesy Nodal

Girls Who Code founder Reshma Saujani is coming full circle with an investment in surrogacy startup Nodal, she tells Axios exclusively.

Why it matters: Surrogacy is an opaque, expensive and time-consuming piece of the fertility puzzle that Saujani experienced firsthand, and she hopes Nodal can help to make the process more equitable.

Details: Saujani participated in Nodal's $4.7 million seed round alongside fellow notable backers including Maven Clinic's Kate Ryder and Frida's Chelsea Hirschhorn.

What she's saying: The investment feels like completing a cycle of investment and entrepreneurship that Saujani started with Girls Who Code, she says.

  • "I started investing in startups because it was: Will these big tech companies ever change? Will they ever have the ethos to let women and people of color sit around a table?" says Saujani.
  • "This is about creating access and opportunity for families that want it."

How it works: Nodal operates an online platform where surrogates and intended parents can connect — similar to the dating app Bumble — and access educational and support tools.

  • Nodal's app lets surrogates make the first move when matching with intending parents.
  • Users pay $500 a month to create a profile on the website, and matches cost $6,000 each. (The traditional surrogacy process can cost $125,000 or more per child.)
  • The company works with surrogates, intended parents, surrogacy agencies, and assisted reproductive technology (ART) attorneys.
  • All Nodal users are screened in a process that includes background checks and live interviews.

The backstory: Saujani met Nodal founder Brian Levine as a patient at the clinic he directs, CCRM in New York, and emailed him to see how she could be supportive of the work he was doing.

  • Levine, who'd read Saujani's 2020 surrogacy op-ed in Vogue, was thrilled.
  • "To have Reshma shoulder-to-shoulder with us is humbling and frankly I'm honored to have anything to do with her," he says.
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