According to studies, 50% of couples are expected to rely on IVF for conception by 2045. Demand for IVF and related fertility services is rapidly growing around the world, yet – although treatments are available – many struggle to access the care they need on their family planning journey.
This is especially true in emerging markets, where the development of new technologies and business models catering to women’s and reproductive health is crucial as it not only greatly improved the quality of care and life, but also combats centuries of stigmatization.
Recharge Capital, a New York-based and globally active investment firm founded and led by Lorin Gu, is looking to fill this gap in emerging markets with the launch of Generation Prime, a “Full-Stack, Closed-Loop IVF Health Services” Network in Southeast Asia, that has recently opened its first two clinics in Bangkok (Thailand) & Kuala Lumpur (Malaysia). These clinics are the first in a series of 15 roll-ups across Thailand, Malaysia, and Singapore, providing access to high-quality, low-cost fertility services for Southeast Asia’s 600M residents.
China alone accounts for 1M IVF cycles annually, equivalent to ~40% of the global market, and exports an additional ~500K cycles each year due to a mix of regulatory and demand constraints. By traveling to Generation Prime’s clinics in Thailand, Malaysia, and Singapore as medical tourists, patients can receive access to top-notch fertility care at a fraction of the cost compared to countries like China.
Investment in Generation Prime was led by Recharge Capital, who incubated the company and initially invested $3M. Other participants in the seed round notably include Thiel Capital, Shamrock Holdings, an investment vehicle for the Disney Family, Blue Lion Global, and Thompson Medical Group, a Singapore-based IVF clinic network.
Lorin Gu, Founding Partner of Recharge Capital, notes: “Generation Prime is well-positioned to emerge as a leading IVF and fertility service provider in Southeast Asia due to a combination of their brand new facilities, top-notch team, and emphasis on accessibility. At Recharge Capital, we have identified women’s healthcare as a thematic sector primed for long-term growth, and companies like Generation Prime are leading the way to make key services like IVF more accessible and cost-effective for women around the world.”
Camila Caso, Recharge Capital’s Head of Platform, shared in an interview that although the fund looks at women’s health holistically, the opportunity in the IVF space initially stood out to the team: “We’ve analyzed the women’s health space and found that fertility, as a sector hasn’t really boomed yet, although – unlike in many other areas of women’s health – the science and tech, are available and the demand is there. The problem in IVF is not the lack of solutions. It’s a lack of supply and access. With Generation Prime we aim to solve for this.”
According to Caso, Recharge Capital is now planning to make further investments in the IVF space, but is also interested in menstrual wellness (menopause, endometriosis & PCOS) and women’s disease treatment. Generally speaking the fund is focused on identifying and accessing the high growth opportunities across both (!) growth and private equity markets.
Recharge capital has also invested in Elix, a personalized clinically-backed herbal remedies brand for women’s hormonal health.