A new company by and for millennial women is selling fertility products as a subscription and launched Tuesday in Charleston.
Natalist set up shop on Daniel Island and is headed by Halle Tecco, a founder of California-based digital health venture fund Rock Health. It has five full-time employees.
The company tagline is "inspired by beauty and backed by science," and aims to take some of the guesswork out of selecting the products women need when trying to get pregnant. It includes ovulation and pregnancy tests, and a book titled "Conception 101."
"We wanted a journey to pregnancy and support that felt in touch to millennial women," said Margaret Rogers, Natalist's director of marketing.
Rogers said she has a 2-year-old child, and it took her longer than she expected to get pregnant. Struggles with fertility and pregnancy are personal to many on the team.
Natalist's staff is diverse, and almost entirely female. It includes a PhD from Harvard, a Duke-educated obstetrician and gynecologist and a resident at the Medical University of South Carolina.
It won't be the first attempt to encourage consumers to buy health products as a subscription, and it's not the first geared toward women. Binto, for instance, sells fertility supplement plans starting at $35 per month. Natalist's subscription sells for $81 per month.
With a slick Instagram account and a feminist message, Natalist is marketing itself to millennials in particular. It's little wonder, given millennials are now between 23 and 38 years old, an age group likely to consider having children. Millennials have also driven a growing tendency toward selling everything — from razors to Netflix to gym guides — on a rolling, monthly basis.
And getting pregnant can take months or longer.
About 10 percent of childbearing-age women in the United States have difficulty getting pregnant or staying pregnant, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Rogers said the startup also wants to educate aspiring parents. Natalist did a poll and found only 36 percent of women were confident of their ovulation date.
The Natalist website, which went live Tuesday, also has a list of what the company won't sell because the product doesn't stand the tests of science. Gender prediction tests and fertility crystals are among the myths Natalist is seeking to bust.
The startup is making its stated commitment to science part of its branding — a pregnancy test and pills sit in beakers in the title image of its website.
Tecco is also listed as an author of "Conception 101," a book that guides women through the process of becoming pregnant.
Rock Health, Tecco's prior venture, invests in companies that are working on innovations in health care. Tecco is also an angel investor at Techammer, an investment group that lists more than a dozen deals in its portfolio.
Techammer also made a donation to the MUSC Hollings Cancer Center for an undisclosed amount after Tecco and her husband made a lucky bet on bitcoin when the cryptocurrency began trading.
She is slated to speak at this year's SC Bio conference in Greenville.