What You Need to Know About Prelude Fertility
Prelude Fertility was founded in late 2016 by successful startup entrepreneur Martin Varsavsky with a $200 million investment. Its business model is aimed at in vitro fertilization and egg freezing, catering to working women in their late 20s and mid-30s who want to focus on their career but keep eggs in reserve from when they were at their healthiest.
The distinction is important. Most in vitro fertilization companies cater mostly to women near the end of their childbearing years who are having difficulties conceiving. Varsavsky told Forbes, “We’re about helping women and couples have healthy babies when they’re ready.”
As part of Varsavsky’s investment, he acquired a majority stake in the Southeast’s largest in vitro fertilization clinic, Reproductive Biology Associates of Atlanta and its affiliate, My Egg Bank, which is the largest frozen donor egg bank in the U.S. Another partner is Pacific Fertility Center in San Francisco.
The company’s board of directors includes Martin Varsavsky, Joanna Rees, a managing partner at West, and Mehmet Oz, professor of Surgery at New York Presbyterian/Columbia University.
Susan Hertzberg – chief executive officer. Hertzberg has more than 25 years of diversified strategic and results-oriented experience in healthcare. She is on the Founders Affiliate Board of the American Heart Association and the board of directors for breastcancer.org.
Kim Bracuti – chief financial officer. Prior to joining Prelude, Bracuti was chief financial officer of Boston Heart Diagnostics, and Controller for Ipsogen. She was previously senior manager of Finance and Marketing for Quest Diagnostics.
Anne Hogarty – chief business officer. Before joining Prelude, Hogarty was vice president of International Business for BuzzFeed. Before BuzzFeed, she was Tech, Media & Telecom Investment Banking associate with Goldman Sachs.
Additional investors include Lee Equity Partners, Reproductive Biology Associates and My Egg Bank North America.
The company’s Prelude Method is a four-step process that includes egg and sperm freezing, genetic testing, embryo creation and single-embryo transfer. The Prelude Method reportedly increases the probability of having a healthy baby and decreases the risks of requiring infertility therapy later in life.
There are numerous in vitro fertilization clinics, both private and as part of healthcare systems throughout the U.S. What distinguishes Prelude is its financial backing, the national partnerships it is developing, and the extent to which it is marketing itself to young professional women as opposed to older women at the end of their fertility cycle.
Dollars and Deals
On Oct. 30, 2017, Prelude Fertility acquired Vivere Health and its flagship partner, the Houston Fertility Institute (HFI). This goes along with its previously named partners, Pacific Fertility Center of San Francisco, Reproductive Biology Associates of Atlanta, and MyEggBank.
“Acquiring Vivere, including HFI, demonstrates our ability to execute on our business strategy,” Hertzberg said in a statement. “By adding the Vivere clinics to the Prelude Network, we move closer to achieving national scale, one of our key strategic goals. Additionally, Vivere’s robust back-office capabilities accelerate our ability to provide a full suite of services across our network. This acquisition is an important step forward in creating the premiere fertility services company in the United States, and in delivering on our brand promise to help people have healthy babies when they are ready.”
What to Expect
Prelude Fertility is planning to expand its presence throughout the U.S., likely via the acquisition of major fertility centers. Acquiring Vivere added 22 locations to the Prelude Network, and developed strategic synergies with MyEggBank. Current locations are in the Southeast, Southwest, and Northern California. That would suggest the company will focus on developing or acquiring centers in the Northeast, Great Lakes region, and Midwest.