Angelfisha new startup built by a former executive of one of the oldest surrogacy and egg donation agencies in the world has raised $4 million to build financial aid for hopeful parents.
The round, led by Walkabout Ventures with participation from Hannah Gray VC and Fiat Ventures, comes just over a year after the Santa Monica-based startup was first founded. The support is intended to help Sunfish scale its product, enabling families to find affordable options within the assisted reproductive journey, whether that means egg freezing, embryo preservation, IVF, egg donor travel or surrogacy.
CEO and founder Angela Rastegar first noticed the lack of support for assisted reproduction services when she worked at surrogacy agency Circle. “There really aren’t many resources out there to help the average American understand budgeting, how to plan a loan, what the right loan size is for their household, where they can get discounts, or even how to think about savings based on money. the cost of collecting a family in their city,” she said.
The entrepreneur says nearly ¾ of people undergoing assisted reproduction today earn more than six figures, despite there being a demand from people who don’t fall into that category.
The company works with IVF clinics, surrogacy agencies and egg banks to find clients who need more funding. It then helps them navigate discounts, grants, employer benefits, and loan options that fit their background and needs. It also links people to a financial advisor and cost calculator; an AI component of that calculator will go live later this year, which could help provide a better predictive view of how much having a baby could cost, depending on several variables related to health and family history.
Baseline, there are a number of factors that affect the cost of assisted reproduction, such as the number of children a family wants versus the type of resources you already have from insurance or employers. “Usually to make a baby you need a sperm cell and a uterus. If you’re a straight couple who has all three of these things that IVF process will be less, if you have to work with an egg donor or a surrogate mother because you’re a single parent by choice or you don’t have all of those components, if you’re a If you’re a same-sex male couple, it gets a lot more expensive,” Rastegar said. The cost range, she explains, can range from $20,000 to $200,000.
Notably, Sunfish itself does not make loans, but helps prospective families connect with loan providers. Her previous company, Origin Finance, which offered and provided family building option loans directly to the surrogacy agency she worked for. While Origin ceased operations in January, Sunfish became an answer to the same problem area, albeit with a broader, more entrepreneurial vision.
Today, Sunfish helps facilitate loans to a medical provider, rather than an individual trying to take out a personal loan at a higher, riskier rate. And while banks may be open to lending, Sunfish helps people better visualize what that lending process might look like, including estimates of total loan costs and the different phases of borrowing that may be required.
“This is very different from someone who just sets up their own facility and has only one set of criteria for which they can only approve one set of borrowers,” Rastegar said. “As more and more lenders begin to look into this space and the fertility industry is growing, we wanted to provide our partners with the most comprehensive solution.” The entrepreneur did say they will offer in-house loans in the future, but for now, multiple lenders are giving the budding outfit some flexibility.
So far, Sunfish has received more than $20 million in loan requests from hundreds of applicants, but declined to share how much capital it was ultimately able to raise, citing competitive reasons. However, the company said it has supported hundreds of customers in 32 states, a cohort that has received lines of credit ranging from $12,000 to $100,000.
The startup certainly has its work to do. There are a number of competitors in the space, including Gaia, which raised a $20 million Series A round last year to help couples fund IVF treatments. Future Family, which offers 60-month loans to help fund fertility treatments, also raised a $25 million Series B last year.
While Rastegar may need to catch up with these VC-backed comrades, she said Sunfish’s differentiation is clear: Sunfish’s ambition is to support parents through the full journey, from pregnancy through early childhood to raising a child with long-term financial difficulties. well-being in mind. And while step one may link parents to loans, steps two and three can look like savings accounts, investment games, and much more.