This week at Breega, we’re excited to be introducing you to the co-founder and CEO of our very latest investment: Apryl! The company has just announced a €4,1 million seed round last week to bring employee fertility and family-forming benefits to companies across Europe.
Berlin based founders Jenny Saft and Tobias Kaufhold launched Apryl in 2019.
Jenny came up with the idea of developing a fertility solution after a particularly disappointing egg freezing experience. Although only 32, Jenny wasn’t planning on starting a family straight away but wanted to ensure that she would still be able to start a family later in life. Jenny tells us:
“Having lived in San Francisco, where egg freezing is fairly common, I expected it to be just as straightforward in Germany. However, there was next to no guidance and very little information on either the process or the overall cost”.
With 15% of the world’s population suffering from infertility (WHO), infertility is not what you could call a “niche” problem. Added to this, many millennials are choosing to have children later so as to focus on their careers but as fertility rates decline with age (for women, notably after 35 years) this is a choice which comes with its own set of challenges.
Even so, many public health care systems today still do not provide adequate coverage for fertility treatment services, leaving prospective parents with sizable fertility treatment bills and/or overly complicated reimbursement requirements.
Jenny saw that an improved understanding and access to fertility treatments was necessary in Europe, so after discussions with friends and acquaintances, all of whom showed an avid interest in the subject, she decided to address the issue by setting up a company with her friend and now co-founder, Tobias Kaufhold.
Jenny and Tobi identified three main barriers to fertility in Europe: a lack of information, a continuing taboo and prohibitive costs. Cost being the largest dissuading factor they decided to tackle infertility through the private sector with an employee fertility benefits system. To begin with, this was not an easy sell. If employee fertility solutions were already seeing the light of day in the USA, it was still a different story in Europe.
“Companies didn’t really understand the need for what we were doing, so we had to build the platform first so that they could understand its relevance. This was a big risk but it paid off. The feedback we received from our beta customers then allowed us to improve and further develop the platform”.
With talent wars raging, Jenny and Tobi had some very convincing arguments. Today, corporate social impact has become a leading criteria in job choice and companies must show a progressive mindset.
For Jenny and Tobi, providing employees with fertility benefits is not only a way for employers to attract and retain the best talents, but also a way to differentiate themselves and highlight a progressive and inclusive culture.
“To remain competitive, businesses must demonstrate a family-first culture and a willingness to support their employees in what is a critical life phase. We believe that to win the war for talent, companies must show they can tackle the problems that really matter to millennials. Apryl’s fertility benefits platform allows them to do just that.” Jenny adds.
Apryl’s easy-to-use platform enables companies to support employees on their path to parenthood by offering access to a range of reproductive treatments – egg/sperm freezing- IVF, adoption or surrogacy. Company employees looking to benefit from fertility treatments receive a “360° Concierge Service” providing them with easy access to a personal expert whether needed, information on clinics and partners, unlimited consultations, an appointment booking service and complete guidance on insurance and reimbursement handling.
All information contained in their personal space is completely private and confidential.
Why Apryl ?
Given current trends, fertility is set to become a growing issue for professionals in the coming years and investors are catching on. According to Apryl, over 30% of North America’s larger companies (+500 employees) now propose some sort of fertility compensation to their employees. So what makes Apryl different?
If investment in the fertility sector has tripled over the past four years, Apryl is the only pan-European solution of this kind that exists. Meaning that UK or US based companies, for example with offices across European countries are now able to offer the same level of fertility benefits to their European employees that they provide to their Non-European ones. But that’s not all.
Whereas some fertility benefits platforms are focused solely on women, Apryl believes fertility to be a fundamental human right and therefore seeks to offer support, guidance and coverage to all employees seeking to become parents, whatever their status: in a couple, single, transgender, hetero or homosexual.
And last, but definitely not least: data. Jenny’s own experience showed her that today, there are multiple fertility clinics in European countries but not all of them provide the same types of treatment, or the same level of care and accompaniment.
So Jenny and Tobias decided to create a database of clinics, interviewing fertility doctors, clinic managers and healthcare experts so as to be able to better advise their users.
Jenny and Tobias first met with Breega’s London investment team, they appreciated their open and direct approach. Jenny tells us:
“As creating societal change doesn’t happen overnight, we wanted an investor that shares our strong convictions and commitment towards diversity, equity and inclusion. We were very happy when Breega proposed to lead our seed round. Throughout the entire investment process to the term sheet, there was a very strong alignment on our values and mission”.
So what’s next for this budding European fertility startup?
Apryl’s €4,1 m raise means that the coming months will be very busy. The startup plans to double and strengthen their 10 person team with product developers, sales and marketing professionals (check out their hiring page here).
They have also recently signed a major contract with a GAFA company and are currently focusing on onboarding their new client and rolling out their solution across 14 European countries.
As they do so they will gain a better understanding of people’s needs and specificities and will continue to build and expand their solution to meet them.
Apryl’s ultimate aim is to become a one-stop-shop inclusive fertility benefits provider of choice for all companies tech and traditional.
As proud investors at Breega, we see Apryl as pioneers paving the way to a brighter, fairer and more inclusive tomorrow and we’re very excited to be accompanying them in their adventure.