Giant Robots Smashing Into Other Giant Robots

458: Cofertility with Lauren Makler

January 19th, 2023

Lauren Makler is Co-Founder, and CEO of Cofertility, a human-first fertility ecosystem rewriting the egg freezing and egg donation experience.

Victoria talks to Lauren about tackling the access issues around egg freezing and donation and hoping to bring down the cost, leaving a company like Uber and starting her own business, and figuring out a go-to-market approach and what that strategy should look like.

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VICTORIA: This is The Giant Robots Smashing Into Other Giant Robots Podcast, where we explore the design, development, and business of great products. I'm your host, Victoria Guido. And with me today is Lauren Makler, Co-Founder, and CEO of Cofertility, a human-first fertility ecosystem rewriting the egg freezing and egg donation experience. Lauren, thank you for joining me.

LAUREN: Thanks for having me. I'm so excited for this.

VICTORIA: Me too. I want to hear all about Cofertility. Can you tell me a little bit more about the platform that you built?

LAUREN: Absolutely. Cofertility is really like you said; we're a fertility ecosystem. And at our core, we're enabling women to freeze their eggs for free when they donate half of the eggs retrieved to a family that can't otherwise conceive, providing support and education for everyone involved along the way. You know, we're serving two very different audiences. One side of our business, our Freeze by Co, is targeted at women between the ages of 21 and 40 who might be interested in preserving their fertility.

We know that really the best time to freeze your eggs, unfortunately, is when you can least afford it. And so we've really taken on this access issue and hoping to bring down the cost on that front. And then our Family by Co business is for intended parents who need the help of an egg donor to have a child, so that could be anyone from people who struggle with infertility, or gay dads, cancer survivors, et cetera.

There are a lot of people that really rely on third-party reproduction to have a family, and we think it's time to really move that industry forward, and we're doing that in a lot of ways. So that's at a high level; happy to dig in more on any part of that. But we launched in October, and things have been going well ever since.

VICTORIA: Wonderful. Yeah, I want to ask you more mentioned the problem that you identified with when people who are most ready to freeze their eggs probably can't afford it. [laughs] But how did you really identify that problem and think I should start a company around this?

LAUREN: Yeah, so it's a two-part problem. I think we see a big problem on the egg-freezing side, which is truly cost. I think we know that women are starting families later than ever. For the first time in U.S. history, the average age of women giving birth now is 30, which is the highest on record. And the experimental label from egg freezing was removed in 2012, and so it's become much more mainstream for women to do it.

However, the cost to do it in the U.S. is between; I want to say, $12,000-20,000 to do it, plus yearly storage fees. And there are some women who have access to doing it through their large employer, but for the majority of people, that's just not the case. And so, for women who are really trying to prioritize their career or their education or maybe haven't found a partner yet, egg freezing can be a great option.

And certainly, it's not an insurance policy by any means, and it's not a guarantee. But studies show that if you experience infertility later in life and you did freeze your eggs, you're much more likely to have a child than not. And so we see it as a great backup option. But again, cost is just truly a huge problem.

And then, on the egg donation side, there are tons of families that rely on egg donation to have a baby. And I'm someone...I should mention, too, personally, years ago...I'll make a very long story very short here. Years ago, I was diagnosed with an incredibly rare abdominal disease that put into question my ability to have a biological child someday. And so, I started to look into what my options might be, and egg donation came up.

And when I looked at what was happening in the space, I just couldn't believe how antiquated it was. And truly, for lack of a better word, how icky it felt. It seemed really transactional and impersonal for everyone involved. And what I realized was that it was really rooted in the stigma around egg donation that comes from cash compensation for donors.

So traditionally, a donor is paid anywhere from $8,000 to $100,000 for her eggs, depending on, unfortunately, her pedigree or sometimes her heritage. Something that might be, you know, a donor that's harder to find might require more compensation the way it's done today. And so we actually saw that many women who are interested in helping another family grow through egg donation can actually be off-put by this idea of cash for their eggs. It's like, ooh, am I selling my eggs, or how do I feel about that? And it actually turns people off when it might otherwise have been something they wanted to explore.

It also, I think, leaves intended parents without options that they need and really hurts the LGBTQ community that relies on egg donation for family planning. So there's a lot there. And we felt that that was something that if we remove cash compensation, perhaps it's something that really opens up the pie of women that are open to and interested in egg donation. And it also might really honor the donor-conceived person on the end of it more than what's happening today.

Studies have come out that show that donor-conceived adults find the exchange of money for donor eggs to be wrong and that they can actually find it disturbing that money was exchanged for their own conception. So our model takes out cash compensation and instead gives women something that they're excited about, which is preserving their own fertility as well and really sets up everyone involved for success.

VICTORIA: Yeah. I saw that in your literature, you bring this human-centered design to how you built the platform, which I think speaks to a little bit of what you're describing there. And do you think that being a woman founder yourself allows you to relate and empathize with women who have this unique perspective or a different perspective on how egg donation should work?

LAUREN: Yes, egg donation and egg freezing, honestly. I think I mentioned a little bit about my own experience. Both of my two co-founders have also really, really been through it when it comes to their journeys to parenthood; both of them have been through IVF. And one of them says, you know, her biggest regret in life is that she didn't freeze her eggs at 25. And now, instead of just sitting in that, she's building a company to help other women not have that same regret.

So building the company we wished existed when we were younger lets us build something that truly is empathetic and human-centered. And it's unfortunate that so much of healthcare is built and designed by people who, while maybe they have good intentions, they're not building from a place of experience, and I think reproductive health is one of those. I think women need to be involved in designing those solutions, and too often, they're not.

VICTORIA: Right. Yes. That makes a lot of sense to me. And I want to talk more about you and your three co-founders and how quickly all this has come together. So, how did you know that your team of co-founders was the right team that these are the people you wanted to start this with?

LAUREN: Yeah, it's an interesting question on so many fronts. I think there are people who spend a really long time, like co-founder dating, and use frameworks for evaluating co-founders, and the truth of it for us is that it all happened very quickly. Halle, who is the person who connected the three of us, she is one of my co-founders, and she's just someone I had long admired in digital health and women's health.

And there was a day where...we peripherally knew each other. And she slid into my DMs on Instagram. Like, you never know where a great contact may come from. And she asked me what I was up to, what I was working on, and the rest is history. I told her I had just left...I spent eight and a half years at Uber and launched new markets of Uber across the East Coast and then started a business line at Uber called Uber Health, and Halle had always followed my trajectory there.

And when she reached out to me, it was like, [gasps] what's it going to be about? And when it ended up that she had an idea centered around egg freezing and egg donation, given the experience I had had with my own fertility journey, it just felt like how could this not be the right thing for me to go build? So I would say gut instinct is really what it comes down to.

Halle and Arielle, our third co-founder, had worked together a bit in their past lives. Halle built a company called Natalist, which is fertility, pregnancy tests, ovulation kits, and prenatal vitamins, things like that. And Arielle had actually built the first iteration of Cofertility, which was a fertility content site. And they had had that rapport already, and so that was something that I valued quite a bit. Really talking to some references and getting opinions of people you trust, but your gut, more than anything, will help you answer that question.

VICTORIA: Right. And sounds like there's that shared experience and mutual respect, which goes a long way. [laughs]

LAUREN: Yeah, that and also a shared vision. Like, if you're aligned with someone in the first month or so of talking about an idea, and when it goes from a little kernel to snowballing and becoming something real, I think it's a good signal. But if you're butting heads and disagreeing in that first really crucial time, it's probably a good idea to go in a different direction.

VICTORIA: Yeah. And thinking along those lines, were there decisions that were really easy to make, and what were those? And the second part of the question is what decisions were kind of challenging to make, and what made those decisions challenging?

LAUREN: It's funny. Halle was just like, "This idea is going to work, and I know it. Let's do it." I am someone who likes to see evidence before making a decision. And so I suggested in those first two weeks, like, let's get a survey together. Let's ask women, "Hey, would you actually be interested in egg donation if it meant that you got to keep half of the eggs for yourself and that there was no cash compensation involved?" So we asked a few influencers on Instagram to put out our Typeform, and within, like, I don't know, 24 hours, we had over 700 responses.


LAUREN: And it was a very resounding like, yes, this is something women were interested in. That gave me all the conviction I needed to go at this full force. And so I think having that proof point not only was valuable to help me get there, but it also helped investors get on board. I think some of the easy decisions were like there were certain investors that after meeting I just knew like, yes, this is someone I want to be working with over the next few years. This is someone who sees the same vision that we see.

And there were a few conversations with other potential investors where I was like, you know what? That's not who I want to work with. Again, it's like, I'm very big on my instincts as it relates to people and trusting that.

VICTORIA: Right. Yeah, that makes a lot of sense. And congratulations on raising your seed funding.

LAUREN: Thank you.

VICTORIA: And was that a stressful process? How did you feel after that happened?

LAUREN: Parts of it were stressful, for sure. I think the fact that I had never done it before was stressful. I like to call myself...before this, I was an intrapreneur. I pitched the idea of Uber Health to Uber executive leadership with a deck that was very similar to what you would pitch external investors with in a scenario like this. So I had gone through a little bit of that but never before had I done anything quite like this.

And so I felt very lucky to have Halle by my side through that process because it wasn't her first rodeo. But I would say trusting yourself and trusting that you can figure this out. It seems so much more intimidating than it needs to be. No one is expecting you to fully know how all of this stuff works. It's very figureoutable.

VICTORIA: And what obstacles did you face in the last year that you've been working on this?

LAUREN: The biggest obstacle, I would say, honestly came down to having the time to both get a company off the ground...and I like to imagine an aeroplane. You have to figure out what kind of plane you're building; then you have to find all the parts, then you have to build the plane. And then the goal upon launch, I can imagine it when I close my eyes. It is like getting the plane off the ground.

And with a startup, like you can imagine, there's always a bit of building the plane while you're flying it. But doing all of that over the last year, plus finding the right people to hire, is two full-time jobs. You're sourcing incredible candidates. You're meeting with them. You're pitching them the business. But you also need to evaluate whether or not they're as great as their resume makes them seem. Then you have to convince them to join your seed-stage startup, then check their references, and then put together their offer package, and then do all of their paperwork.

And it was like all of these things that I took for granted at Uber for so long of having recruiters, and having an HR team, [laughs] and all of those things that truly it is a full-time job plus building a company. So that, for me, was the hardest. And hiring just at that early stage is so, so important because you add one person, and that's like such a huge percentage of your team. So every hire has to be a great one, but you also can't wait too long to hire because then you miss your goals.

VICTORIA: Right. Yes. And there's lots of uncertainty going on in the world as well. I'm sure that makes hiring extra exciting.

LAUREN: Yes. I mean, exciting and also scary. I think exciting from the fact that there's great talent that's looking in a way that wasn't necessarily the case six months ago, but scary in that you have of my biggest or things that keeps me up at night is like, what's the right timing to bring on new people so that your business scales appropriately but not too soon that you have people waiting around for the work to come?

VICTORIA: Right, yes. And speaking of scary, I can imagine the choice to leave a company like Uber and go and start your own business was thrilling. [laughs] Can you tell me more about how that happened, or what was the order of operations there?

LAUREN: I'll go back to my personal story a little bit. So I ended up with this disease that I had been diagnosed with. It was so rare and so not a lot of data on this disease that I decided it was...or these doctors were like, "You know what? Do you have a sister by any chance?" I was like, "What do you mean?" They were like, "You know, it's too risky for you to freeze your eggs just because we don't have any data on your disease. But if you have your sister freeze her eggs and donate them to you, you have them as a backup should you need them." So my incredible sister did that.

And I learned a lot about the process of donation even through that experience. And went on to have three surgeries and ultimately was able to conceive without using my sister's eggs which was crazy and exciting and definitely gave my doctors a shock, which was great. And when I had my daughter, it was like this light bulb went off of, like, I have to build something in reproductive health. If I'm spending my time building something, I want it to be spent giving people who want to have a child this amazing gift that I've been given.

And it was like an immediate amount of clarity. And so, after my maternity leave, I gave notice at Uber without a plan. I did not have a business idea. I did not have a job lined up. I was fortunate enough to be able to do that. But I almost think releasing myself of that is what gave me the freedom to think about other things. And it was within a day that Halle sent me that DM on Instagram without knowing I had given notice. So the universe works in mysterious ways.

VICTORIA: That's wonderful and so exciting and that you just had a baby and then to be in a position where you could start a company and almost feel like I don't have enough to do; [laughter] I want to start a new company too. [laughs]

LAUREN: I know. I ended up...the day we pitched our lead investors was my daughter's six-month birthday.

VICTORIA: That's amazing.


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VICTORIA: How do you balance that, like, those needs of being a mom and maybe being sleep deprived, but also starting this incredibly important business that you're passionate about?

LAUREN: I mean, I'm very lucky that I have an amazing husband and sort of partner in all of this. We both are very involved in each other's work, and I highly recommend that if that's something you're open to. I think it gives you an outlet and someone to be invested in it with you but also more to talk about with your partner. [laughs]

But other than that, too, I think having boundaries. So I've been really, really specific with myself and with my team about what windows of time I'm with my daughter, and I'm meticulous about it. If that means on certain days, I wake up before she does so that I can get some work done so that I have two hours with her first thing in the morning, and then I'm off between the hours of 4:00 to 7:00 so that I can spend time with her. If that means getting back online at night, I'm down to do that. I just won't compromise the time with her.

And my team has been really respectful and honoring of that. And in turn, I really encourage everyone on my team to have a life outside work, whether that's with their children or their pets, or having physical activity, or things like that in their life. I think it's so important that we're not entirely defined by our startups. I think that's how people burn out really quickly. And it's like 2023, right? We don't need to be in this hustle culture where 100% of our time is focused on building our company. It's just not sustainable.

VICTORIA: Right. I like that you mentioned sustainability. And that's been a recurring theme I've seen where, yeah, the hustle culture leads to burnout. It isn't sustainable. So are there other cultural or values that you impart onto your team, this new team, that you're standing up to create that sustainability in that innovation that you want?

LAUREN: Yeah. I think one thing we've implemented...I would highly recommend actually Matt Mochary's CEO Curriculum. You can find it by Googling it, or I can share the link with you. And within his curriculum, he has something called The Magic Questions. And the magic questions it's like five or six questions where you ask everyone on your team, like, how would they rate their life at work? How would they rate working with the team? How's their personal life going? Like, you know, questions that you can quickly get to the root of something.

But then, aside from giving a rating for each of those questions, it asks like, "How would you take it to the next level?" And what I think implementing these questions has done is it's like each time we do it, it gives the leadership team something to act on of like, "Hey, I noticed a theme amongst the employees with this set of magic questions. Like, here are some things we can address to improve that for everyone."

And then there are also opportunities with each individual to say, "Hey, manager of this person, so and so called out that they're really struggling with prioritization this month, or they're really struggling with being split on these two projects. How can we help relieve that, or how can we dig in with that person so that the next time we ask these questions, that's not still an issue and that we've been able to take swift action to help improve that?"

I think that really helps to just stay close to what people are feeling and thinking. And it also gives people, I think, more self-awareness of how they're doing and what they can be intentional about and address for themselves as well.

VICTORIA: I like that. I'll have to look up that book and share it in our show notes as well and --

LAUREN: It's actually even all online. It's like a Google Doc you can look at.

VICTORIA: That's awesome.

LAUREN: And there's also a book called The Great CEO Within by Matt Mochary. But I love the book and the Google Doc version.

VICTORIA: That's awesome. And it sounds like you really pulled everything together so fast. [laughs] I'm curious about your background if you feel like there mentioned that you pitched inwardly to Uber. But what else about your background kind of lends you to this leadership-founder skill set?

LAUREN: I mean, I joined Uber in 2013 when we had, I think, fewer than 200 employees, and we were in about 12 cities. So I very much knew startup life. And I understood this idea of sort of building the plane while you're flying it and saw that. And so I think that certainly has contributed to this. It's important when you're a founder to surround yourself with other founders and to have people that you can tap into at any point.

I'm in a few different Slack groups with different founders; some are healthcare founders, some women founders, some through the VCs that we've worked with where it's really easy to say, "Hey, which payroll tool are you using?" Or "Hey, like, how do I measure employee NPS?" Or "What tools are you using for this or that?" And if you can tap into other founders, you really can move a lot faster. You don't have to write your entire employee handbook from scratch because you can borrow from other people. I think that's one of the best hacks that I would recommend.

And then some of these books that I found that really do, you know, within that Matt Mochary book, it's like, here's a way to make candidate offers. Obviously, the book isn't doing the work for you, but it certainly is helping to give you a framework. And then the other piece is like, aside from your own team, I think bringing in some advisors who you trust and can go to for certain things. So two of our advisors are people I worked incredibly closely with at Uber and would trust with my life and so why not trust them with my company? So bringing them into the mix has been a real relief.

And then just sort of about your community. I think it takes a village to raise...I think, actually, I would compare launching a company to having a baby. So if having a baby takes a village, so does launching a company.

VICTORIA: Right. Or no founder is an island. [laughs]

LAUREN: Yeah, exactly.

VICTORIA: There's like a community, a whole group around that. I've heard, even in the episodes I've recorded, that it's a common theme among successful founders, which is heartwarming and understandable. So last question about just how it all got started. But if you could travel back in time to when you first decided you wanted to go after this opportunity, what advice would you give yourself now that you have all your present knowledge?

LAUREN: I say this even to our intended parents who are grappling with this decision of using an egg donor to have a baby: remain steadfast on the vision or the end goal and be flexible on the how. So if you're an intended parent, it's like, remain flexible, like, steadfast on this idea that you want to become a parent, but be flexible on the how.

With a company, I think stay true to what that ultimate vision is. So, for us, it's like help more people have babies on their own timeline and be flexible on the how, so exactly what our business model was, or exactly what our go-to-market approach would be, or exactly which product we were going to use to get there. I wish I had been a little bit more open to it being a winding road than I realized I needed to be at the beginning. So now I know that, and I'm open to any possibility as long as it gets us to the same place.

VICTORIA: Right, gotcha. Yeah, well, let me ask you then about your go-to-market strategy since you mentioned it. What was unique in your strategy there, especially to target the specific consumers that you want to with this app?

LAUREN: So I did follow a bit of an Uber approach, which is this idea of a soft launch. And the reason for basically what we did was for the Freeze by Co side of our business, so for women who are interested in freezing, they have the option to join our split program where they donate half to intended parents and do it for free. Or they can join our Keep Program, where they freeze their eggs but keep 100% of the eggs for themselves. And we help do that along the way.

However, basically, we couldn't launch Family by Co to help people find donors until we had donors. So it made sense to launch the Freeze by Co side of our business first. And I wanted the ability to market to them when we didn't have the eyes of the whole industry on us, or we didn't have tons and tons of consumers reading our press or things like that just yet.

And so by soft launching with a quick beta Squarespace page, we were able to test our hypothesis, test our messaging, test our funnel, test our experience before really putting a ton of marketing spend behind it or having a ton of visibility into what we were doing. And I'm so, so grateful we did that.

It led us, like, we went through probably five different versions of our funnel before we got to our public launch, and our soft launch really afforded us the opportunity to do that. So by the time we turned on the Family by Co side of our business, we already had over 50 donors on day one for them because we had already gotten these women through the funnel.

VICTORIA: I love that. And that's something we talk a lot about with founders at thoughtbot is that idea of validating your product, and you talked about it with your Instagram poll that you did with influencers. And the way you're talking about your go-to-market strategy is that you wanted to make sure that even though you knew this is what you wanted to do, that you had the right approach and that you could create something that consumers actually wanted to buy and had trust in.

LAUREN: Mm-hmm, totally.

VICTORIA: You launched in October 2022. Are there any results post-launch that surprised you?

LAUREN: I feel so grateful that our launch truly exceeded my expectations. So the interest from women in our programs has been overwhelming, like overwhelming in a good way. And then intended parents are thrilled about it. So we are making matches every day of these intended parents and these donors. And every time we make a match, I'm like, oh my God, it feels like Christmas morning. You're helping people find their path towards growing their family, and there's nothing that feels better than that. I don't think that feeling is ever going to go away, so I'm thrilled about it.

But it doesn't mean that it's not hard. I think back to that analogy of like having a baby, you know, you launch this company. You hope it's received. You count ten fingers, ten toes, hope that it's received, hope that it's received. It is, but then you have the demand, and you have inbound on partnership opportunities, and you have managing the demand and handling the leads and things like that. And it's like so much more than you expect.

It's like the same feeling of having a newborn of, like, [gasps] how are we going to do all this? Am I going to stay up all night to manage this? Or how do we handle what we're seeing? And so it's a lot, and figuring out what this new normal is is something that my team and I are working through every day.

VICTORIA: What's wonderful is that the surprise feels even better than you thought it would. [laughs]


VICTORIA: Wonderful. For myself, as I'm in my 30s and I'm married and, you know, I'm not thinking it about at some point in the future. But what advice do you think you want women to think about regarding their fertility at any age, like if you could talk to consumers directly like you are now? [laughs]

LAUREN: Totally. Just that it's never too soon to ask those questions. And the information you need and should want is like inside your body but ready to be shared with you. So by having a consult with a fertility clinic, and that's something my team could help you with, you can learn about your prospects for having a baby and understanding how fertile you are.

And just because, you know, they say, "Oh, as long as you're under a certain age, you shouldn't have a problem," doesn't mean that that's the case. One of my co-founders was 28 when she started trying to conceive and was completely blindsided that this was going to be a real struggle for her, and that breaks my heart. It doesn't need to be like that. If we're more proactive and we start asking these questions younger, then we can actually do something about it.

So your fertility is really about your egg quantity and your egg quality, and both of those things are things that can be tested and measured. And I think I'm someone who loves data. And having that data, I think, can help enable you to make decisions about how you can best move forward, and for some, it might mean having a baby soon. For others, it might mean freezing your eggs. For others, it might be a waiting scenario. But that's something that you can make a more informed decision about if you have that data.

VICTORIA: That makes a lot of sense. And I'll be sharing this episode with all of my friends and everything on Instagram as well.

LAUREN: [laughs]

VICTORIA: Great information to put out there. And what's on the horizon for you? What are the big challenges that you see coming up for Cofertility in the next months or year?

LAUREN: I think really like scale is what we're focused on. So we've started making matches; it feels great. I want us to be prepared to do those at scale. We are seeing no slowdown in terms of people who are interested in this. And so, making sure that our team is ready and able to handle that demand is my absolute top priority. So I think scale is top of mind.

I think making sure we're optimizing our experience for that is really important. So how do we make sure that everyone is having a magical, smooth experience, both through our digital experience but also if they're on the phone with someone from our team or if they're reading our materials at the fertility clinic? Like, how do we ensure that that's a great experience all around?

VICTORIA: Right, that makes sense. And right now, is Cofertility specific to a certain location, or is it nationwide?

LAUREN: Nationwide throughout the U.S.

VICTORIA: Wonderful. And you yourself are based in California, right?

LAUREN: Yes, I'm based in Los Angeles. And our team is fully remote, which has been a really exciting thing to do. We're in different time zones and have a lot of opportunity to visit people in different cities, which is nice.

VICTORIA: Oh, that's great, yeah. How do you help build that culture remotely with a brand-new team?

LAUREN: So, for us, I think we're very intentional about having team off sites at least twice a year. We also get together for different things like planning meetings or conferences that are really relevant to us. But I think part of it, too, is really around different touchpoints throughout the day. And we have a daily stand-up.

We also are clear about which hours everyone sort of overlaps based on their time zones and making sure that people are available during those windows and then giving everyone flexibility otherwise in terms of when it makes the most sense to do their work, not being too prescriptive. And really, again, encouraging people to have a life outside work, I think, makes it so that we get the best out of our team.

VICTORIA: Right, that makes a lot of sense. Yeah, we've got thoughtbot, we have in-person meetups once or twice a year and then go to different conferences and things together. And I think some people do miss a little bit of the office experience, but for the most part, everyone is happy to put it that way. [laughs]

LAUREN: Yeah, it's definitely...I think for sure it has its pros and cons. I think what I love about it is that we're not limited with talent. Our team truly, like, [laughs] we have people...we have someone in Oakland, someone in Miami, someone in Charleston, someone in Boston, someone in New York City. Like, the fact that we're not limited because of geography feels great. And I admittedly really love the ability to see my daughter throughout the day and feel like I don't have to stress over how much time I'm spending commuting. So I can't see myself ever going back.

VICTORIA: That's right, and LA is certainly a place to have a long commute. [laughter] And have you gotten any benefit out of local networking and community around Los Angeles or Southern California?

LAUREN: Yes, absolutely. Even this Friday night, I'm going to a female founder dinner. I have something coming up in a couple of weeks with this group of women's health founders that I really love. It's so, so valuable to have people in your network that are both local and get the life that you're living while you're doing it. I think having people understand why your life is the way it is while you're building a company is really quite nice. So there are founder communities everywhere but seeking those out early is definitely helpful.

VICTORIA: And then if you have a remote team, then each team member can have that local community, so you're 10x-ing. [laughs]

LAUREN: Completely.

VICTORIA: Yeah, wonderful. Is there anything else, anything that you think I should have asked you that I haven't asked yet?

LAUREN: No. I think one thing I would encourage is when you're trying to figure out your go-to-market approach, what the strategy is going to be. I'm a big fan of getting everything really in slides. Get it in slides and bring in some people you trust. Talk to your advisors, talk to your investors, talk to your co-founders or your team and say, "Hey, these are the three ways this could go. Here are pros and cons of each one," and making a decision that way.

I think when we try to do it where it's like all in someone's head, and you're not getting it out on paper with pros and cons, it can feel like a really, really hard decision. But when you see things on paper, and you're able to get the opinion of people you trust, everything is able to come to fruition much more quickly, and you can get to a decision faster.

VICTORIA: Right. So you're probably really buzzing with ideas early on and finding ways to communicate those and get it so that you can practice talking about it to somebody else. Makes sense.

LAUREN: Yeah. It's like, how do you socialize it? That's a great way to do it.

VICTORIA: Yeah, well, wonderful. This has been a really enjoyable conversation. I appreciate you coming on the show so much, and thank you for sharing all about Cofertility with us. Any other final takeaways for our listeners?

LAUREN: Thanks so much for having me. If you're interested at all in what we're doing or it would be helpful to connect, our website is You can find me on Instagram at @laurenmakler, L-A-U-R-E-N-M-A-K-L-E-R. Happy to chat really about anything as it relates to building a company, or your fertility, or just questions you have in general. I would love to chat.

VICTORIA: Thank you so much. And you can subscribe to the show and find notes along with a complete transcript for this episode at If you have questions or comments, email us at And you can find me on Twitter @victori_ousg.

This podcast is brought to you by thoughtbot and produced and edited by Mandy Moore. Thank you for listening, and see you next time.

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