Nodal raises $4.7M to be the Bumble for surrogacy

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The company offers a surrogacy matching platform where the surrogates make the first move

While surrogacy is often the best option for couples who want a child and aren’t able to conceive, the process is outdated: it can take years to find the right match and it’s expensive: the process can cost $125,000 or more per child. 

Nodal, a surrogacy matching platform that launched on Tuesday with $4.7 million, is looking to bring it into this century, offering a matching platform that is designed improve the experience for both intended parents and surrogates.

“There’s a need to make surrogacy more affordable, and to shorten the wait time. We also need to work harder to dispel misconceptions about the process and provide equity, transparency and education for intended parents and surrogates. All of these are goals of mine at Nodal,” Brian Levine, M.D., the company’s CEO and founder, told VatorNews. 

Putting surrogates in control

Part of what makes Nodal different from the traditional way that surrogacy has been done, he said, is the level of transparency, equity, education and support it provide surrogates and intended parents the entire way through the process.

With conventional surrogacy agencies, intended parents can wait one to two years to be matched with a surrogate, and much of the matchmaking is done with little participation from the surrogate or the intended parents. With Nodal, surrogates make the first move in the selection process, which is why the company compares itself to Bumble, the dating app that allows women to take control over who they match with. 

“Nodal is the only platform that provides that power to surrogates. Our surrogates are vetted and supported by us, meaning they are better set up mentally, emotionally, and materially to be the best possible partners for the intended parents they work with,” Levine.

“Unlike agencies where matches are made for you behind closed doors, Nodal is flipping the script by giving surrogates the ability to reach out to intended parents first. We believe that whether you’re an intended parent or a surrogate, you should have full control over your journey — especially who you match with. Our platform allows people to connect and decide to match based on chemistry and criteria that are actually meaningful to them.” 

The company also differentiates itself by committing to price transparency, so that intended parents know exactly what the process is likely to cost them from the beginning, without surprise bills or unanticipated fees. To that end, Nodal costs intended parents a flat $6,000 fee for matching with a vetted surrogate.

“Nodal’s transparently priced services make it possible for intended parents to avoid tens of thousands in agency fees. In short, intended parents can start saving for formula and diapers instead of being bogged down by astronomical costs,” said Levine. 

Once a surrogate has indicated interest, the intended parents review the request to connect and they can choose whether or not to move forward with a conversation. Surrogates can reach out to multiple intended parents at once, which minimizes wait times.

At launch, Nodal has 30 surrogates and six times as many intended parents. It is currently averaging about three introduction calls per match before both parties make their decisions. 

Partnering with Maven

The company’s new funding round was led by Amplo, along with Scott Belsky of Behance, Chelsea Hirschhorn of Frida, Kate Ryder of Maven Clinic, Great Oaks Venture Capital, Interplay Venture Capital and others.

In conjunction, Nodal also entered into a partnership with Maven, a telemedicine-based virtual clinic focuses on women and families, which will give its members access to Maven Clinic’s platform, including care from providers ranging from mental health providers and pediatricians to sleep and career coaches.

The idea is to continue to provide care for surrogates after they give birth, Levine explained.

“Our partnership with Maven Clinic  helps with supporting eligible surrogates after the baby arrives as well — from mental health support to pediatricians to sleep and career coaches, it’s important to consider the surrogacy process as inclusive of postpartum care as well. The ‘fourth trimester’ shouldn’t fall by the wayside, and we’re making it a priority,” he said.

The company intends to use the new funding to invest in its product and experience, as well as in its marketing to help us get the word out to the right people, with the ultimate goal being a surrogacy experience that’s empowering and transparent for everyone involved, and accessible to anyone who wants to grow their family.

“I am very focused on thinking of ourselves almost like we’re in hospitality: we aim to be a best-in-class service provider and that kind of high-touch experience can be capital-intensive, especially at scale,” said Levine.

“We’re here to help make it easier and more affordable for more people to become parents. We’re eager to get that message in front of the right people at the right time.”

(Image source: nodal.com)

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