Everly Health acquires fertility startup Natalist amid an uptick of women's health M&A deals

The news: Everly Health (parent company of home testing startup Everlywell Health) acquired reproductive health startup Natalist.

  • Natalist’s suite of products (like ovulation tests, pregnancy tests, and prenatal supplements) will add on to Everly Health’s existing at-home lab collection tests for areas like menopause and fertility hormones.

How we got here: Everly Health has been on an M&A spree over this past year as consumer interest in home health testing exploded amid the pandemic thanks to greater exposure to at-home testing.

As a result of rising consumer interest, Everly Health was able to deliver 1 million tests as of December 2020—fueling its M&A deals in 2021:

  • This year, besides its recent reproductive health purchase, Everly Health scooped up telehealth clinician network PWNHealth and self-collecting lab services firm Home Access Health, giving it access to approximately 20 million people annually.

Why more women's health testing could succeed: Adding on at-home fertility testing to a digital health company’s suite of tools is an attractive proposition for two key reasons:

  1. Increased convenience. Getting a referral to a fertility specialist could take weeks in the US, but an at-home test offered by companies like Everlywell or LetsGetChecked could help patients get a quicker peek into their fertility health. LetsGetChecked says customers can get test results during a 24 to 72 hour window, for instance.
  2. Lower costs. Most fertility tests and treatments are expensive and aren’t covered by traditional payers, which is good news for healthcare startups seeking higher customer acquisition rates. Patients will likely be attracted by the low price point of at-home fertility tests, which only cost around $50 in Everlywell's case.

Trendspotting: Some direct-to-consumer (D2C) telehealth vendors are acquiring fertility startups to combine women's’ health and primary care—a trend we expect to see play out over the next year.

  • In May, D2C telehealth vendor Ro acquired reproductive health company Modern Fertility for over $225 million to bring its at-home fertility test and digital app-based platform in-house.

It wouldn’t be surprising to see other D2C vendors like Ro’s competitor, Hims & Hers, pursue a similar M&A strategy to wade deeper into women's’ health.

  • Hims & Hers doesn’t offer fertility tracking yet, but adding that capability could fit neatly into its hers for women brand, which already offers sexual health care prescription birth control.
  • Tacking on reproductive health tests or care is a smart move for D2C telehealth vendors, considering 83% of consumers are already digitally tracking fertility, per Rock Health.