Dr Lucy Buckley and Kobi McCardle

Posted on July 6, 2020 by staff

Dr Fertility seeks to raise £1.75m to fund expansion plan

Tech start-up is now offering online appointments after receiving Care Quality Commission registration

Dr Lucy Buckley and Kobi McCardle

A tech start-up that is aiming to become the world’s leading digital platform for fertility is looking to raise £1.75m to fund its future growth strategy.

Best friends Dr Lucy Buckley and Kobi McCardle came up with the idea for Dr Fertility while they shared a flat and launched it while they were on maternity leave in 2017.

Last year they raised £900,000 in seed funding from North West focused VC Praetura Ventures and £100,00 from an angel investor and have just launched an online consultation service where people can book an appointment with a fertility doctor or nurse fter receiving Care Quality Commission (CQC) accreditation.

The start-up has seen its turnover grow by 80 per cent in the last year and now has more than 30,000 customers.

Dr Fertility, which has grown to seven full-time staff and four contractors, can advise on all aspects of the fertility journey including helping women who’ve had a miscarriage.

Buckley said: “We’ve transitioned from an eCommerce business to a digital healthcare business. Becoming registered as a CQC healthcare provideris a game-changer for us. It means Dr Fertility can now offer medical advice.

“When it comes to fertility there’s a gap in the NHS and private provision. Over the years we’ve received countless messages asking for advice and we’ve had to signpost them elsewhere.

“With the CQC registration we’re now providing online primary care, tailoring a care plan to the needs of the patient. Customers can do home testing without the need to go into a clinical environment. We can also provide referrals and prescriptions.

“One thing we’re really excited about is people can book online appointments with a qualified fertility consultant for £195 or a fertility nurse at £90. We want to make it accessible and affordable. Appointments are for 45 minutes to an hour because when you’re talking about fertility you can’t squeeze it into a 10 minute appointment with a GP.”

Co-founder McCardle said the involvement of Praetura Ventures had transformed the business.

“They’ve been brilliant,” she said. “We were nervous about finding the wrong investor but Praetura Ventures have offered a lot more than just money.

“We’ve made a number of hires, including an FD, and expanded our services. We support people on their entire fertility journey, whether they’re just thinking about trying for a baby, trying for a baby, or their path to parenthood is taking longer than they expected.

“We also help people who have suffered a miscarriage. One in four pregnancies end in miscarriage.”

The entrepreneurs say they are seeking to raise £1.75m to expand their services and take Dr Fertility to the ‘next level’.

Buckley explained: “We want to be able to develop our service offering further and include sperm testing and ultra sounds. The extra investment will enable us to scale and market Dr Fertility to new markets, including overseas.

“When you’re at school you’re taught how not to have babies but nobody teaches you how to have babies. That’s why Dr Fertility is so important.”