10 European pregnancy startups to watch

Nearly 150 million women give birth each year worldwide, but startup founders say pregnancy-related health issues are still not taken seriously enough by potential investors.

While the broader femtech market has caught the eye in recent years, just £133m of venture capital has been invested in pregnancy-related startups in Europe in 2022, compared to £210m the previous year, according to PitchBook. This is a drop in the bucket compared to the more than 91 billion euros invested in the region in 2022. Pregnancy-related services include connecting with midwives and finding professional support or postpartum care.

“The majority of VCs are men and unless they have a wife or sister who has been through something, it’s hard for them to understand the extent of the problem. I’ve often been told these are niche issues,” says Leila Thabet, founder of Naytal, the UK’s first online pregnancy and postnatal clinic.

Thabet’s experience highlights one of the main reasons pregnancy-related startups have struggled to find funding: many are founded by women, and women have a harder time raising funds. According to PitchBook, only 13% of capital in Europe went to startups with at least one female co-founder.

“People don’t understand the value of the market. Women spend more than men in this demographic, the fact that we’re not innovating for these women is mind blowing,” says Michelle Kennedy, who founded women’s social networking app Peanut after achieving success as a as Deputy CEO of dating giant Badoo.

Victoria Engelhardt, co-founder of Berlin-based Keleya, says she struggled to raise funds, and when she did, it was for a small fee and a “shitty deal”, which weighed throughout the startup’s journey because it distorted the ownership of the company. She says the last funding round, completed in 2021, was much easier because the company already had market recognition and investor relations.

But that doesn’t discourage ambitious founders. Here are 10 startups that are innovating in pregnancy, based on discussions with VCs and Sifted’s own research.


Michelle Kennedy, Founder of Peanut
Michelle Kennedy, Founder of Peanut

Peanut is a women’s social network founded by Kennedy in 2017 when she was a young mom who felt underserved in a market full of apps designed to make people’s lives easier, from ordering food to rides. The network allows women at similar stages of life – including pregnancy – to connect with each other.

The London-based platform raised $12 million in 2020 from EQT Ventures, Index Ventures and Female Founders Fund. To date, Kennedy has raised $23 million in funding and tells Sifted that she is not looking to raise more any time soon as the company is sufficiently capitalized to continue. With the launch of a Pro service, Peanut began monetizing its product last year by connecting women with experts.


Victoria Engelhardt, co-founder of the Berlin company Keleya
Victoria Engelhardt, co-founder of the Berlin company Keleya

Berlin-based Keleya connects German women with midwives. Engelhardt launched the platform after seeing a huge shortage of midwives in Germany and a lack of information for women. It started out offering safe workouts for pregnant women and evolved into a much more holistic app, offering birth preparation classes and post-natal help. The company has entered into agreements with 40 health insurance funds in Germany that cover its services and has started working with the Association of German Midwives, which represents 97% of midwives in the country.

The company raised $3 million in total and closed its last round in the summer of 2021. Engelhardt says the group is now considering adding a strategic partner.


Leïla Thabet, founder of Naytal
Leïla Thabet, founder of Naytal

Thabet created Naytal with co-founder Lara Russell-Jones in 2021 after going through fertility issues and a high-risk pregnancy with postnatal complications. She then realized that women had nowhere to turn.

“The GP becomes redundant and you’re dependent on a system that’s stretched, that doesn’t give you any support outside of the basics,” she says.

“In all other parts of my life, I can order a taxi, food and an outfit [immediately] but trying to sort out all the health issues like breastfeeding issues or incontinence, all of that, it was incredibly hard to find the right people.

Naytal is an online women’s clinic and secured £300,000 in pre-seed funding led by Fuel Ventures in 2021. Thabet says he is currently working on another fundraiser.


Preglife is based in Sweden and helps women track their pregnancy — it’s been around since 2010. It received around SEK 70 million in development capital from eEquity in 2019, according to PitchBook. And in 2020, the company acquired Bej Technologies, a networking platform for parents.


Paris-based Sonio received €10m from the European Innovation Council (EIC) Accelerator in December 2022, following a €5m fundraise this summer supported by Elaia, OneRagtime and Bpifrance.

The company was founded in 2020 and uses artificial intelligence software to improve prenatal screening and diagnosis. The solution is used by more than 250 healthcare providers and supports fetal ultrasound practitioners. It will use the additional funding received in December to release new features to the platform.


Founded by Sabrina Badir, Pregnolia produces a medical device for the advanced detection of premature births. The Swiss-based startup raised CHF4.2 million in 2020. The venture was initially funded by the EU, which estimated that premature births result in annual healthcare costs of around CHF20 billion. euros, while being the main cause of infant mortality.


Based in Spain, Innitius has received €3.8m in capital from the EIC Accelerator to work on solutions to improve the health of pregnant women. Its first product is called Fine Birth, which works on diagnosing preterm labor. The startup was launched in 2017 by Rubén Molina, who is CEO, and Dr. Francisca Molina.


Based in the UK, Peppy is a B2B digital health platform set up to help employees manage life transitions like pregnancy and parenthood. It allows users to access experts through chats or video consultations. He works with companies such as BNP Paribas, Santander and Clifford Chance. Most recently, he raised a $45 million round debt and equity to expand into the United States.


Health tech company Elvie raised £12.7m in a Series C round in 2021, taking the total it has raised to date to £70m. It was founded in 2013 by Tania Boler and the company has developed a hands-free breast pump for breastfeeding mothers as well as a pelvic floor trainer. Postpartum pelvic floor problems are common for many women after giving birth, leading to issues such as urinary incontinence.

Leia Health

The Sweden-based startup just raised €1.4 million in pre-seed funding from People Ventures, Norrsken, Unconventional Ventures, The Case for Her and Octaquest. Founded in 2021 by Sandra Wirström and Astrid Gyllenkrok Kristensen, Leia works to provide postpartum care for women. The group is building a mobile application focused on physical and mental well-being after childbirth.

Selin Bucak is a Paris-based freelance financial writer. She tweets from @SelinBucak2.