LA-Based Mate Fertility Wants to Take the Price Gouging Out of Fertility Clinics

Keerthi Vedantam

Keerthi Vedantam is a bioscience reporter at dot.LA. She cut her teeth covering everything from cloud computing to 5G in San Francisco and Seattle. Before she covered tech, Keerthi reported on tribal lands and congressional policy in Washington, D.C. Connect with her on Twitter, Clubhouse (@keerthivedantam) or Signal at 408-470-0776.

LA-Based Mate Fertility Wants to Take the Price Gouging Out of Fertility Clinics
Photo by Luma Pimentel on Unsplash

Two of Mate Fertility's founders — brothers Oliver, 28, and Gabriel Bogner, 25 — intimately know about in vitro fertilization. Gabriel Bogner, who is gay, was born though IVF and Oliver's wife went through IVF to genetically screen out a gene that could pose a risk for cancer.

Both were struck by a system that favored wealthy, straight urbanites.

"A lot of the queer community has been locked out of some of these reproductive services due to some specific discriminatory policies," said Gabriel Bogner, the younger of the two.


Insurance policies sometimes require people try to conceive for a certain number of months before they're qualified to be covered, effectively making it impossible for same-sex couples or individuals to get insurance to cover fertility treatments. And clinics are notoriously costly. Of the 480 in the U.S., most are concentrated in urban centers, catering to wealthier residents, he said.

The two started Mate Fertility with Dr. Jeffrey Steinberg, an endocrinologist who studied under the doctors that conceptualized IVF, to counter that, with lower cost services and in rural and suburban areas. Mate Fertility offers egg freezing, surrogacy, genetic screening and in vitro fertilization. The Los Angeles-based startup just clinched a $2.8 million funding round led by Struck Capital. The cash will be used to add more employees and establish clinics in smaller cities, including Bakersfield.

The company joins a slew of startups in the fertility space tackling cost-prohibitive procedures. She's Well, a San Francisco-based startup, offers subscription plans for egg freezing and IVF treatments, and Stork Club is an insurance add-on for companies to make the cost of fertility treatments cheaper for employees. But Mate Fertility aims to build clinics that can operate at a lower cost.

Mate Fertility has yet to open a single clinic but has begun accepting patients in Oklahoma City, where it plans to open a center next month. Clinics are planned in South Arkansas, Anchorage, and L.A. areas including Downey, Long Beach, San Bernardino and Bakersfield.

"We've kind of gone public with our vision that we want to open 1,000 clinics in the next ten years," Oliver Bogner said.

Brothers Gabriel and Oliver Bogner created Mate Fertility to make IVF treatment cheaper and more accessible in rural areas.

Gabriel said for many families looking to conceive, there are not many low-cost options. And people often turn to these clinics at a vulnerable time in their life when they are desperate. He said clinics take advantage of this and often charge high prices.

"It allows these clinics to start price gouging," said Gabriel Bogner. "And so it makes these services extremely unaffordable because people are willing to pay a really high price to have kids when there's a really high demand for it."

It's difficult to find an average treatment cost, since insurance and external factors severely impact how much a treatment can cost, but Mate Fertility said it's $41,000, which it's aiming to bring down the average cost by 40% by subverting market expectations.

"The sad reality is more than half of all those legacy clinics are bought out by private equity firms," Oliver Bogner said. "So they do have very aggressive market expectations...none of these procedures are all that expensive to actually perform."

The company is leveraging technology to make its fertility clinics more efficient. Mate Fertility uses a custom electronic health record, or EHR, to centralize patient data and better share information. The company also has patient portals that aim to make the process of paying for treatments easier and an e-pharmacy that delivers medication.

The technology, he said, will open up access to more people.

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🚁 One Step Closer to Air Taxis in LA
Image Source: Joby Aviation

🔦 Spotlight

Joby Aviation, a pioneering electric air taxi company, has achieved a significant milestone by successfully flying a hydrogen-electric aircraft demonstrator for 523 miles with only water as a byproduct. This groundbreaking flight showcases the potential for emissions-free regional travel using vertical take-off and landing (eVTOL) aircraft, eliminating the need for traditional runways. The company's innovative approach combines its existing battery-electric air taxi technology with hydrogen fuel cells, paving the way for longer-range, environmentally friendly air travel.

For LA residents, this development holds exciting implications for future transportation options. Joby's technology could potentially enable direct flights from LA to destinations like San Francisco or San Diego without the need to visit conventional airports, offering a cleaner and more convenient alternative to current travel methods. The company's progress in both battery-electric and hydrogen-electric aircraft positions it at the forefront of next-generation aviation, promising to revolutionize urban and regional mobility.

Notably, Joby Aviation has already made strides in Southern California by securing an agreement with John Wayne Airport earlier this year to install the region's first electric air taxi charger. This strategic move sets the stage for LA to be among the initial markets where Joby will launch its electric air taxi service. With plans to commence commercial operations as early as 2025 using its battery-electric air taxi, LA residents may soon have access to a fast, quiet, and environmentally friendly mode of transportation that could significantly reduce travel times and traffic congestion in the region. In the not too distant future, LA might find itself in an identity crisis without traffic and excess smog 🤞🤞.


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Fuel Innovation: 7 Unforgettable Team Building Experiences in LA
Image Source: Discover LA

In today's competitive business landscape, team building activities have emerged as a crucial tool for fostering a positive work environment, enhancing productivity, and crucially, improving employee retention. Studies have shown that such activities help employees feel valued, with one report indicating that 93% of those who felt appreciated were more motivated at work. Importantly, team building events may improve retention rates, as employees who feel connected to their colleagues and company culture are more likely to stay long-term. With these benefits in mind, let's explore some of the most engaging and effective team building activities available in Los Angeles.

Pickleball

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Pickleball is a fantastic team bonding activity because of the easy-to-grasp rules and gentle pace make it perfect for everyone, regardless of age or fitness level. The game thrives on communication and teamwork, as players must collaborate and strategize to outplay their opponents, boosting team cohesion. Plus, the lively, fast-paced action sparks friendly competition and laughter, creating a fun and spirited atmosphere that brings everyone closer together. Los Angeles boasts numerous pickleball courts that are easy to rent if you have your own equipment. If you need additional assistance organizing your pickleball outing, there are plenty of full-service companies ready to handle every detail for you.

Resources: Pickle Pop, Corporate Pickle


Escape Room

Image Source: The Escape Game

Escape rooms are a great way to build camaraderie. They require participants to work together, combining their problem-solving skills and creativity to overcome challenges and puzzles. The immersive and time-sensitive nature of escape rooms fosters collaboration and communication. Additionally, the shared experience of tackling complex tasks and reaching a common goal helps build trust and foster positive emotions among colleagues.

Resources: The Escape Game, 60Out


Day Trip to Catalina Island

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Catalina Island is a perfect day trip for a team because it provides a break from the usual work environment, allowing team members to relax and connect in a new setting. Shared experiences during the trip, such as exploring new places and participating in fun activities, help build stronger relationships and foster a sense of camaraderie. There are numerous team-building activities such as an arboreal obstacle course, an island tour, scavenger hunts and more.

Resources: Catalina Island Group Activities


Top Golf

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Topgolf is an excellent team building event because it provides an inclusive, relaxed atmosphere that accommodates players of all skill levels, fostering personal connections and improving team morale. The unique blend of competition and entertainment creates an ideal setting for building trust, enhancing communication, and revealing hidden skills among team members. Additionally, Topgolf offers structured team building packages with guided activities, discussion prompts, and lessons on culture, change, collaboration, and strategy, making it a versatile and effective platform for strengthening relationships and boosting overall team performance.

Resources: Topgolf El Segundo


SoFi Stadium Tour

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A SoFi Stadium tour offers a unique, behind-the-scenes experience of one of the world's most advanced sports venues, allowing team members to explore exclusive areas like premium suites, team locker rooms, and the player tunnel together. The tour provides a shared, memorable experience that can foster camaraderie and spark conversations among team members, regardless of their interest in sports. Additionally, the stadium's state-of-the-art features and impressive architecture can inspire creativity and innovation, while the group setting encourages interaction and collaboration, making it an engaging and enjoyable activity for teams of various sizes and backgrounds

Resources: SoFi Stadium Group Tours


Corporate Volunteering

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Volunteer work serves as an excellent team building activity by uniting employees around a shared, meaningful cause, fostering a sense of purpose and collective accomplishment. It provides opportunities for team members to collaborate in new ways, often revealing hidden strengths and leadership qualities that may not be apparent in the regular work environment. Additionally, engaging in community service can boost morale, enhance the company's reputation, and instill a sense of pride among employees, leading to improved workplace relationships and increased job satisfaction.

Resources: Habitat for Humanity, L.A. Works, VolunteerMatch


Corporate Improv Sessions

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A corporate improv class encourages spontaneity, creativity, and quick thinking, skills that are valuable in the workplace. It promotes active listening and collaboration, as participants must work together to create scenes and respond to unexpected situations, fostering better communication and trust among team members. Additionally, the playful and often humorous nature of improv helps break down barriers, reduces stress, and creates a shared positive experience that can improve team morale and cohesion long after the event.

Resources: Improv-LA, Groundlings, Improv for the People

🎬 Paramount and Skydance Are Back On
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Happy Friday Los Angeles! Hope you all had a fantastic Fourth!!

🔦 Spotlight

Paramount and Skydance Media have rekindled talks to merge after negotiations abruptly halted in June. The proposed deal, contingent on approval from Paramount’s board, aims to combine Paramount’s extensive media holdings—including CBS, MTV, and Nickelodeon—with Skydance’s film expertise showcased in hits like "Top Gun: Maverick." This merger signals a potential transformation in the media landscape, positioning the new entity to compete more effectively amid challenges from streaming services and the decline of traditional cable TV.

Led by Shari Redstone, Paramount’s controlling shareholder via National Amusements, the deal represents a pivot towards revitalizing Paramount’s strategic direction amidst financial struggles and shareholder concerns. The involvement of major investors like RedBird Capital Partners and David Ellison underscores the financial backing aimed at stabilizing Paramount’s operations and addressing its $14 billion debt burden. Importantly, the agreement includes provisions to protect National Amusements from potential legal challenges, addressing previous hurdles that stalled earlier negotiations.

The deal also includes a 45-day period for Paramount to explore alternative offers, highlighting continued interest from other potential buyers like Barry Diller’s IAC and media executive Edgar Bronfman Jr. This flurry of activity underscores the significant stakeholders’ interest in Paramount’s future and its potential as a key player in a rapidly evolving media industry.


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  • Sidecar Health, a startup that offers personalized health insurance plans to businesses that allow members to see any doctor and pay directly at the time of service, raised a $165M Series D led by Koch Disruptive Technologies. - learn more

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