From fertility apps to ovulation tests, the reproductive health market is traditionally geared toward women. But what about the men? Don’t they contribute to infertility cases?
They sure do. But men aren’t exactly openly talking about it. And that’s why Sandstone Diagnostics is flipping the traditional reproductive health market model on its head.
Livermore, California-based Sandstone’s Trak Male Fertility Testing System gives men the opportunity to check their sperm count and improve their reproductive health from home.
The FDA-cleared device uses centrifugal force to separate and quantify sperm cells. The results show users whether their sperm count is low, moderate or optimal based on World Health Organization guidelines and clinical studies. Trak comes with four test packets, and two-pack refills are also available for purchase. Men can also download the Trak app, through which they can log their results and track their progress over time.
“Sperm production is something men can impact through health and lifestyle changes,” Greg Sommer, Sandstone’s cofounder and chief scientific officer said in a phone interview with MedCity. “This is more of a tracking device to help them understand where they’re at.”
And to accompany the device and app, there’s DontCookYourBalls.com, a website full of educational, lighthearted articles and videos on everything relating to men’s reproductive health.
“The difficulties of infertility are difficult to talk about. Guys aren’t out there talking to their friends about sperm troubles. We wanted to overcome that barrier with a consumer-friendly message,” Sommer said of the website.
Sandstone Diagnostics was the winner of the diagnostics track in the Pitch Perfect contest at MedCity INVEST last week.
After the contests, MedCity consulted two of the three judges for the diagnostics group, both of whom said they were looking for a company with a solid business model. One judge said he wanted a company that was a bit disruptive, and another wanted a company with an experienced team.
Sandstone Diagnostics had all of these qualifications.
“Men’s fertility is an area with significant unmet needs and I think Sandstone has an innovative approach to addressing one important aspect of the problem,” Ed Michael, one of the judges and a managing partner at LionBird Venture Capital, told MedCity via email. “Their testing device coupled with their digital strategy gives them, I think, an opportunity to differentiate Sandstone and attract customers who are looking for help with fertility problems.”
Eran Toledo, another judge and the CTO of Sanara Ventures, agreed. “We thought that Sandstone Diagnostics addresses a huge clinical and economic problem in a fresh way, the business model makes sense and the go-to market strategy seems appealing and is already implemented,” he said via email.
After winning Pitch Perfect, Sommer says the next step for Sandstone is to keep growing. “What’s next is continuing to expand — we’re bringing on new distribution channels [and] new partners,” he said. “I think our number one goal right now is to build awareness.”