$10 Million More Earned by Rhea Under Thiel’s Leadership

Rhea reaps $10M more led by Thiel
Rhea reaps $10M more led by Thiel

Globally, infertility rates—that is, the inability to conceive at all—are rising while birthrates are down in many nations. Fertility is still a major problem.

Not surprisingly, considering the emotional challenges people have managing infertility, the opportunity is enormous. However, this also means that the industry is still somewhat disjointed and dispersed.

Reproductive health services firm Rhea, with locations in Singapore and New York, plans to use technology to bridge the global value chain in order to address this dilemma.

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Rhea announced on Thursday that it has raised $10 million to carry on growing its business. This most recent investment was headed by previous investor Thiel Capital, with participation from Blue Lion Global, FJ Labs, and LifeX Ventures.

In order to set a high level for fertility treatment worldwide, Rhea intends to expand its services into new areas, buy more facilities in 2024, and hire more reproductive health specialists. Rhea now employs more than 380 people in 12 markets.

The most recent fundraising followed its $20 million first round in 2023 and its earlier this year acquisition of Embryonics, an Israeli business that developed AI-powered IVF software solutions.

Rhea, an end-to-end reproductive health service that links potential families in Asia with supplementary operations in North America and Europe, was also launched today, according to the firm.

The components of Rhea’s ecosystem are as follows: Rhea Labs, an integrated technology platform that leverages data to expedite time to market and incorporate quality product feedback to improve patient outcomes; GenPrime, a global network of owned and partner clinics; and a suite of fertility wellness partners, such as Moom Health, Elix Healing, and Madam Partum, to provide more comprehensive reproductive health services.

Rhea has exclusive regional distribution rights with top medical partners and has incorporated Embryonics’ AI-driven diagnostic tools into its pipeline for product development. Additionally, Rhea Labs is building RheaX, a worldwide gamete exchange startup that creates innovative ways to enhance the matching and transfer of gametes. The exchange will grow thanks to its collaboration with Baylor College of Medicine, a Texas Medical Centre health sciences institution.

CEO of Rhea Margaret Wang told TechCrunch that Recharge Capital first incubated Rhea in response to the rising trend of women and families around the world wanting more freedom and alternatives in family planning. Rhea was formed by Recharge Capital’s founding partner, Lorin Gu. In September of 2023, Wang, who had first joined Recharge as an adviser, assumed leadership of Rhea.

Initially, GenPrime was supposed to be a modest roll-up of clinics located throughout Southeast Asia. On the other hand, the firm’s members sought to create a business that would offer medical devices, analytics, and a full range of wellness services on the platform in addition to the clinical network (GenPrime), drawing on their personal experiences with infertility.

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Wang stated, “We’re innovating around integration to bring different sections of the value chain together and integrating not only an upgraded physical clinic experience but the use of technology along the route. The usual strategy is one that’s very walled and relies on third-party players.”

Asia has the lowest birth rates in the world.

According to a recent research, over half of the world’s countries now have birth rates below replacement levels, with the worldwide rate having dropped by half during the previous 70 years. (A few brief statistics: The birth rate in South Korea is the lowest in the world, Singapore’s dropped below 1.0 last year, and China, the region’s biggest market, suffered a loss in population for the second year in a row.)

According to Wang, “Globally, rapidly falling fertility rates are an indication of an impending population decline, the impacts of which are notably hurting nations in Asia.”

Furthermore, every nation has its own laws, which makes navigating the fertility process with specific criteria difficult. For instance, the National Health Commission of China forbids single women from using egg freezing or other forms of assisted reproductive technology (ART). Only Chinese married heterosexual couples are eligible for the services. Wang pointed out that many Chinese patients are then forced to travel beyond the AIPAC area in order to obtain reproductive care. Only in July 2023 was elective egg freezing for women between the ages of 21 and 37 legalised in Singapore.

Via its platform, Rhea helps potential families in Asia navigate a range of legal obstacles pertaining to reproductive health. According to Wang, the emotional and sensitive aspect of the process means that even with the plethora of new alternatives available, studying, getting information, and making educated selections remain a difficult problem.

When questioned about its industry counterparts, Wang responded, “On the clinic network side, we look to players like CCRM and Spring Fertility with their same patient-first emphasis and, of course, IVI RMA and EuginGroup for the size.” However, these are all often found in both Europe and the US. In Asia, the groupings are substantially smaller and occur either within individual nations (which entail a risk specific to that country) or throughout the microregion. However, nobody is considering the entire ecosystem, starting with the global level, or how we create and incorporate technology and gadgets. Being the first comprehensive ecosystem for intended families centred in Asia, Rhea continues to be unique.

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The company is currently growing, expanding its integrated approach to serve more consumers and building on the assets it purchased the previous year. For instance, Rhea purchased a medical tourism business that catered to Chinese consumers seeking reproductive treatments abroad.

“Normally, this firm recommends customers to partner clinics; but, with your joining our organisation, we are now able to direct demand to clinics that we own, know, and have faith in for a high-quality experience. Because we’re now capturing the entire patient journey rather than just specific aspects of it (such as lead generating referrals or individual services), the total business margins increase, according to Wang.

The business generates revenue from its clinic services, leads it provides to affiliated clinics and businesses, and the unique rights it has to distribute and create technology and medical products.

Dr. Milton Leong, a pioneer of IVF in Hong Kong and the founding president of The Hong Kong Society for Reproductive Medicine, Dr. Javaid I. Sheikh, dean of Weill Cornell Medicine – Qatar, Dr. Michael Coburn, professor and chair of the urology department at Baylor College of Medicine, Bea Camacho, director of Southeast Asia for IDEO, and Weylin Liew, co-founder of Fertility Support SG, Global Sustainability Portfolio Manager, and Head of Active Engagement at Singapore sovereign wealth fund GIC, are among the members of Rhea’s senior advisory group.

Source:
https://techcrunch.com/2024/05/30/rhea-reaps-10m-more-led-by-thiel/


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