June 22, 2022
📆 You're invited: Tune in to an exclusive conversation between Sarah and General Atlantic's Robb Vorhoff on June 27 at 4pm ET as they dish on all of the biggest health tech stories from Q2. Register here.
1 big thing: Fertility tech startup AiVF raises $25M
AiVF raked in $25 million in Series A funding led by Insight Partners and the family office of former WeWork CEO Adam Neumann, the Tel Aviv fertility care startup exclusively tells Sarah.
Why it matters: IVF clinics are struggling to keep up with mounting demand, as the industry faces a shortage of embryologists and high variability in success rates.
- AiVF's software empowers embryologists with fertility intelligence to standardize and accelerate processes, boasting that it shortens the time to pregnancy and improves predictability.
- The funding gives AiVF the financial wherewithal to enter the U.S. (where it is currently pursuing FDA approval) and to deepen its adoption across Europe.
State of play: IVF historically has been based upon subjective human analysis, with technology old-fashioned and costly, says Daniella Gilboa, an embryologist who co-founded AiVF in 2018 alongside IVF specialist Daniel Seidman.
- Without technology, she says, "there's no way that [IVF clinics] can ever scale" to address today's access problem. "We call it the AI-human team."
- Gilboa's ultimate vision? Revolutionize fertility care such that today's difficult and lengthy IVF experience becomes "quick and friendly".
How it works: AiVF uses machine learning to evaluate embryos during IVF, guiding embryologists as they identify and select what they believe are the embryos with the most promise of a healthy pregnancy.
- Its AI is based upon what it says is the world's largest and most diverse clinic-derived datasets — the latter in terms of age, types of infertility, ethnicity and geography. That's in contrast to what is typically a heavy reliance by datasets on wealthy, white demographics.
- The system is currently assisting with 15 ongoing pregnancies and soon to be the first delivery, Gilboa says.
Of note: Celebrity academic Dan Ariely is AiVF's chief behavioral officer.
Context: VC firms are flooding into fertility tech due to multiple factors: The desire to have children later in life, employers' focus on workplace benefits, and a growing recognition that reproductive wellness is crucial to overall health care.
- Startups fielding fresh capital this year include Gaia, Frame Fertility, Noula Health, Legacy, Oviva and Future Family.