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  • Writer's pictureJessica Karr

Why We Invested: Sunfish


Company: Sunfish

Founders: Angela Rastegar

Stage: Seed 

Women’s Health Vertical: Fertility

Industry: Financial Technology


Meet Sunfish: financing solutions to help individuals build the family of their dreams


Sunfish provides financial products and support for individuals and couples embarking on the parenthood journey. Assisted reproductive technologies (“ART”) can be complicated and expensive. Sunfish aims to simplify the financial opportunities, so that all aspiring parents can afford the fertility solutions they need to start a family. By combining dedicated financial advocates, competitive loan offerings, transparency around costs, and a network of provider and financial partners, Sunfish has built a digital platform and proprietary pricing model that will make family planning accessible to all. They currently support fertility journeys including egg freezing, embryo preservation, IVF, egg donor, and surrogacy.


Why?


According to the latest statistics from the CDC, about 1 in 5 (19%) of women of reproductive age with no prior births are infertile (unable to get pregnant after one year of trying). Infertility rates in both women and men have risen over the decades - even when adjusted for a person of the same age to that of a person several decades ago. On top of that, the age at which family planning occurs is significantly later in life than it was decades ago. Lastly, there is a sharp rise in the LGBTQIA+ couples who are family planning since the legalization of same-sex marriage nationwide with the Marriage Equality Act of 2015.


As these numbers continue to grow, more and more individuals are turning to ART. In 2021, over 400k ART cycles were performed at 450 reporting national clinics, already doubling the number of cycles only six years prior. Rapidly advancing innovation has helped dramatically improve ART success rates over the years, opening up more diversified paths to parenthood.  


However, alongside growing demand is also a growing awareness of the hefty cost associated with fertility treatments. With only 26% of large employers offering family-planning benefits, most patients are required to pay out-of-pocket. Treatments like IVF often exceed $20,000 per cycle, depending on specific services required, and there is no guarantee of a successful pregnancy. These direct medical costs may even run up to an average $50,000 to include necessary tests, medications, and post-treatment care, making fertility treatment financially unattainable for many. In a recent survey conducted with 1,000 American adults who have or were considering undergoing fertility treatments, over 71% were willing to incur debt to finance the expenses. There is a pressing need for more comprehensive and accessible financing tools to alleviate the financial burden associated with infertility, and Sunfish is well positioned to tackle this massive challenge.


What differentiates them in the market relative to competitors?


Sunfish aspires to be the financial partner of choice for many IVF clinics and other fertility solution providers. Fertility clinics provide affordable options and support to patients through Sunfish's financial products. Sunfish's platform helps patients convert and move forward. This collaborative partnership approach enables Sunfish to build long term relationships with doctors. Rather than rely on high interest rate loans or merchant fees that competitors utilize, Sunfish has established a network of strong financial partners that share a similar mission of expanding financial inclusion around family planning. Through customized financial packages, transparency around costs, financial consultant guidance, and ability to return quotes in under 3 minutes, Sunfish reduces risk and makes the fertility process more seamless and affordable.


In addition, Sunfish offers a unique IVF Membership which includes a warranty reimbursement for patients who do not have a successful outcome after multiple transfers. Their pricing is based on a proprietary predictive model that aims to combine an individual’s biological indicators with Sunfish’s large dataset of fertility success rates by clinic. With reimbursement rates up to 90% of the fertility treatment costs, this competitive offering relieves significant pressure for individuals and couples who are embarking on an otherwise high-risk and anxiety process. In turn, the inclusion of relevant fertility testing as part of the Sunfish journey empowers women to own their own biological data and gain critical knowledge about their reproductive health. This new Membership program launched in select IVF clinics, including Boston IVF (announced August 2023). 


Furthermore, Sunfish’s differentiated products and services that value results-driven outcomes and financial accessibility highlight their commitment to helping a growing population of aspiring LGBTQIA+ parents navigate the fertility journey. They have dedicated resources around same sex and transgender options, including additional financing partners and grants available to the specific communities.


About the team


Angela Rastegar, founder and CEO of Sunfish, has 18 years of experience building, leading, and investing in fertility and healthcare startups. She has been a founder and CEO twice previously, including successfully exiting an enterprise fintech startup. More recently, Angela was the CEO of Origin Finance, a similar fertility financing company, and also Director at Circle Surrogacy, a global surrogacy and egg donation agency. Her expertise and close relationships within the fertility provider network has enabled Sunfish to attract merchants quickly. Since its platform launch in September, Sunfish has already signed 72 partners and received over $40 million in applications for financing from active patients.


Angela also brings together a strong executive team and advisory board of healthcare, fintech, insurtech, financial lending institutions, and fertility industry leaders. Dev Sethi and Michael Pigott, Head of Product and Head of Technology, respectively, were both early joiners at Bread Financial, a fintech startup, before its exit. They each have almost two decades of product and software engineering experience. Margaret Orenstein, Head of Business Development, was the former Chief Operating Officer of a major fertility clinic and brings her expertise in operations, health tech, and deep network to  manage partnerships and drive business development at Sunfish.


Sunfish advisors include key senior executives from Kindbody, SoFi, the insurtech industry, several Reproductive Endocrinologists, and Bread Financial.

 

Coyote Ventures Investment


Coyote Ventures is proud to join Sunfish in their Seed round alongside Walkabout Ventures, Hannah Gray, Fiat Ventures, and others. Following our investment, Sunfish has launched their warranty product and continues to expand their partnerships and offerings.  


How the company is advancing the conversation around Fertility?


Sunfish values reproductive freedom, financial inclusion, and diversity. These values are consistently highlighted throughout its differentiated offerings, customized resources for LGBTQIA+ communities, and strong financial and provider networks. The IVF journey has always been fraught with uncertainty and financial challenges, posing significant obstacles for individuals looking to start their own families while also burdening specialists and clinics with the additional task of explaining complex financing options. However, Sunfish stands at the forefront by offering aspiring parents in the US the first-ever warranty product that helps hedge against the uncertainties in IVF treatments. Sunfish also provides invaluable educational resources and professional guidance at every step of the loan and fertility process. By doing so, they ensure that individuals and couples are well-informed and supported throughout their IVF journey, making it a smoother and less daunting experience.


Going forward: vision of the company


Looking beyond the current offerings, Sunfish aspires to assist with both family planning and the broader parenthood journey. This bold vision involves providing an array of financial products specifically designed to support individuals and families in multiple stages of parenthood.

 

The team at Coyote is thrilled to witness Sunfish's vision in supporting various aspects of parenthood, which strongly resonates with our own fund values. As we share this common goal, we look forward to collaborating with Sunfish and contributing our collective efforts to bettering the lives of parents and families.


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