DTC Fertility Brand Natalist Gets Funding From Stitch Fix’s Katrina Lake03/10/2019
Take a pregnancy test, but make it fashion.
Natalist, a women's health and fertility start-up, has raised $5 million in funding from a variety of angel investors and venture capital firms. The seed round is backed by the likes of Stitch Fix founder and chief executive officer Katrina Lake, EverlyWell founder Julia Cheek and others, as well as investor groups such as Collaborative Fund, Cowboy Ventures, Fuel Capital, Rock Health, and xFund.
Founded by Halle Tecco, Natalist aims to make products for women's health and fertility more appealing and accessible to Millennial women who are planning on or thinking about getting pregnant. Natalist is sold entirely direct-to-consumer through its web site, and products include standard fertility-adjacent items like ovulation and pregnancy tests, prenatal and Omega DHA vitamins. The difference between these products and those that can be purchased at the drugstore is in the sleek design and the friendly, easy-to-comprehend directions and marketing, said Tecco, who got the idea to start the company when she embarked on her own "fertility journey" a few years ago.
Tecco declined to give sales projections, but industry sources estimate the brand could do at least a few million dollars in sales in its first year in business.
Tecco, who previously founded Rock Health, a venture fund focused on the intersection of health and technology, found fertility products at the drugstore to be clunkily designed, and found information on ovulation and getting pregnant to be dense at best and sometimes, just straight up kooky.
"There was a lot of junk science and misinformation — people selling homemade remedies and birth control cleanses, even $5 tarot card readings," said Tecco. "And the products I needed to get pregnant were dated, clinical and sterile and they didn't look like any beauty products that I owned and loved."
While Tecco had worked on plenty of general health-care start-ups at Rock Health, she felt there was a hole in the market for a start-up based purely on women's health and fertility. She is also an investor in Tia, a women's health clinic specializing in gynecological care and overall wellness, also marketed at Millennials, that opened in New York this year.
"It was a completely unmet need," said Tecco.
Prices of Natalist items range from $16 for a pack of three pregnancy tests to $28 for vitamins to $34 for a bundle kit of pregnancy and ovulation tests.
Natalist also sells a book called "Conception 101" for $15, which features "practical tools and tips to get pregnant and prepare your body, mind and life to have a baby," which Tecco said was inspired by what she saw as a dearth of accessible and "jargon-free" information on getting pregnant.
Tecco plans to use the funding to expand into new products, including ones that deal with male fertility.
" products have been pretty stale, blue and pink," said Tecco. "These are products you put on your bedstand and bathroom and want to make them look more like the products you love and covet, not clinical products that look like a Nineties grocery store."
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