Healthtech spotlight: Jack Fertility

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SETsquared Bristol

Jack Fertility has recently launched its £500K fundraising campaign to bring the world’s first home-to-lab sperm test kit to market. We had a chat with Co-founders, Lily Elsner and Nick Shipley, to hear their story…

Founders of Jack Fertility wearing black and white Jack Fertility branded clothing

Jack Fertility at a glance:

  • Start date: 2022
  • Market sector: Healthtech
  • Location: Oxford
  • Number of employees: 3
  • Amount of funding raised: £125k + government grants
  • Company growth status: Pre-seed, pre-product

Let’s start with Jack Fertility’s elevator pitch

Jack Fertility is changing the game in male fertility testing with our innovative home-to-lab sperm test kit.

As male fertility issues are on the rise, with average sperm counts halving in a generation and 1 in 6 couples facing challenges today, our solution makes testing accessible and proactive. By eliminating the need for awkward, in-person clinic visits, we’re breaking taboos and offering a convenient, modern approach to fertility health from home.

It takes two to tango, and we want to empower more men to do their part!

How did your startup journey begin?

Nick: Our startup journey began with my personal experience of infertility struggles. I saw the inefficiencies and stigma surrounding male fertility testing when my wife and I were trying for our child during COVID when I couldn’t access any testing. I couldn’t believe a better way didn’t exist!

Lily: I’d met Nick during our MBA programme together at Oxford University and using my background in healthtech, we decided to create a more convenient solution. This led to the development of Jack Fertility, combining cutting-edge technology with a user-friendly approach to transform how men address fertility.

SETsquared Bristol has played a key role in turning our idea into reality.

How has SETsquared Bristol’s business support helped?

Lily: SETsquared Bristol’s support has been a game-changer. I joined through the Enterprising Women programme and the incredibly diverse community of like-minded entrepreneurs has been crucial in helping us overcome challenges and move forward quickly.

SETsquared Bristol has played a key role in turning our idea into reality. We’ve received expert advice, valuable networking opportunities, and practical workshops from the Entrepreneurs in Residence, and personalised coaching and support from the SETsquared team. This has helped us to sharpen our business strategy, prepare for funding, and grow our reach. We’ve had strong early traction with media coverage in Men’s Health, GQ, The Guardian, The New York Post and many others.

Our top tip is to focus on creating something people truly need, starting by understanding your consumers inside out.

What are your startup top tips for other founders?

Beyond a ‘just do it’ attitude, our top tip is to focus on creating something people truly need, starting by understanding your consumers inside out.

Especially in consumer-driven ventures like ours, looks matter and having a beautifully designed product matters. Despite the hype around moving fast and breaking things, in areas like fertility, attention to detail is everything. Never compromise on quality, which is especially tempting to do when things or funding get tough. It’s not glamorous but obsessing over the nitty-gritty pays off in the long run.

What’s next for Jack Fertility?

We’re getting ready for our second round of fundraising to launch our groundbreaking home collection kits this year. It’s been over a year of non-stop development in the lab, and we can’t wait to finally get our kits out there. But that’s not all – with the funding, we’re diving into R&D to be able to launch the UK’s first remote sperm freezing service. And looking forward, we’re planning to broaden our testing to include metabolism, microplastics toxicity, cancer risk, and even longevity assessments. Exciting times ahead!

At Jack Fertility, we’re making sure the future truly is in your hand!

Find out about SETsquared Bristol’s incubation programmes.

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