May 26, 2022

Lauren Burson Andreessen Horowitz originally left it to help weight watchers grow up before losing weight. But little did the growth strategist know that she would soon find inspiration for her first startup, digital health company Conceive.

When he joined the Weight Watchers, Burson spent time browsing user forums that ranged from photos of the transformation to someone later letting the community know about their plans to go for a walk. She said she had a “wonderful, sincere, consistent experience” of people supporting each other. The one that led to responsibility and, ultimately, to the result.

At the same time, Burson was busy trying to conceive a child. She and her partner spent three years trying to conceive – a time of failed treatment, loneliness and miscarriage – before they had a daughter, now two and a half years old.

Conceive, launched today, is a digital reproduction program based on Berson’s professional and personal scripts. She founded the company to connect the most inspired people – people who want to start a family – with each other, with service providers, courses and coaches. The goal, she says, is to better map underground communities experiencing “one of the most challenging patient journeys ever.”

Conceive’s 8-week “Try to Conceive” program looks different than the IVF program for beginners or those who are just starting to talk about starting a family. Users are matched with the course and trainer that best suits their needs, taking into account factors such as geographic location, duration of training, and diversity.

The program costs $549 and there are several scholarships available. Burson explained that she intentionally started with a direct route to the consumer because she didn’t want to serve only people who were “fortunate enough to work for an employer” that offered fertility benefits. Ultimately, the company plans to make money through partnerships with consumer products or clinical companies, as well as through relationships with clinics and employer plans.

While Conceive’s mission to help people conceive and support them through obstacles is not uncommon, integration is. Berson said fertility specialists often give very standard scripts that people should use to work with other conditions, specialist or doctor advice. Let’s hope the VC-backed women’s health company led by Natalie Walton is of the same opinion. Both companies strive to provide comprehensive care for families.

“You put on a shitty show like this and obscure it with important decision-making moments that can lead to misdiagnosis or poor treatment,” Berson said. “There are many plaster approaches in this area. [such as ] Decide with IVF we know it costs $20,000, 20% when it comes to efficiency.

Pregnancy focuses not only on helping women better understand their bodies and fertility, but also considers men as part of the equation. “I was diagnosed with unexplained infertility and years later found out that my partner had a varicocele,” Burson explained, a condition that can lead to infertility in men.

So far, Burson has found an impressive cohort of 11 beta testers for his company. She says 54% of participants got pregnant, 36% understood new diagnoses and 90% felt supported on their journey to conception. The biggest hurdle for startups in the future is expanding the circle of people who trust the above results and group them carefully. Scale and success is a delicate topic here.

“We cannot guarantee that everyone will be pregnant, but there are so many different aspects that we can influence, [like] Feel supported, cared for and guided,” said Berson. “What we really want to do is create paths and protocols.”

The company does not produce alone. To date, the company has raised $3.7 million led by Kindred Ventures and the founding team of Great Oaks, with over 30 angel investors including the founders of Netlist, Tia, Forward, CityBlocks and PillPack. The capitalization table is dominated by women, with 42% of investors identifying as BIPOC.

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