Big Data-Based Fertility Tracker Ovuline Now Integrates With FitBit & Other “Quantified Self” Devices, Will Support Pregnancy Tracking Too

Posted: May 9, 2013 in Technology

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Ovuline, the big data-driven fertility tracker backed by
$1.4 million in funding from Lightbank, Launch Capital
and others, is today launching an upgraded version of
its Smart Fertility product which now more accurately
predicts ovulation, offering real-time feedback plus
integration with “quantified self” devices like the FitBit and Withings. Company co-founder and CEO Paris Wallace had
previously founded Boston-based Good Start
Genetics out of his Harvard Business School dorm
room – a company which, incidentally, just
announced $28 million in financing. During his four
years there growing the business, he gained a lot of exposure to the fertility space, leading him to tackle
what he refers to as the “least talked about public
health issue” in the U.S. There are now 7.3 million
people (men and women combined) who are
struggling to conceive in the U.S. alone, and it’s
something they generally suffer through alone. With Ovuline, the idea is to give women the power to
improve their chances at conception by going beyond
traditional means, like basal temperature charting, for
example. A number of services and mobile apps offer very
basic tools to monitor and track a woman’s fertility,
but these tend to be either arithmetic-based methods
which make estimates based on a woman’s cycle, or
those which offer digitalized charts where women
input data like their basal temperature and other factors. But Ovuline goes a step further. It allows for the manual entry of various data points
which women working to conceive are already familiar
with – things like basal temperature, cervical fluid
analysis, ovulation test results, physical symptoms,
mood, etc., as well as other metrics like sleep,
weight, nutrition and activity. But now, through the integration with quantified self devices like the FitBit,
it can also pull in some of this data automatically, like
steps taken or sleep cycles, for instance. Since its beta launch in June 2012, the company has
grown to over 50,000 users, who have provided the
service with more than 2.5 million of these data
points. This data is the critical piece to Ovuline’s true
value in this space. It uses machine learning
techniques and crunches big data, which in turn has helped to create proprietary algorithms which more
accurately predict a women’s ovulation – meaning the
best time to get pregnant. Now that it has data to build on top of, Ovuline can
make real-time predictions immediately after a woman
enters data and hits “submit.” Right away, the service
(web or mobile) can tell the end user where they stand
today, and what their next steps should be. Of course, the bigger question is whether or not it’s
actually working. Wallace claims it is, saying the
company has received thousands of thank you’s from
its users who have gotten pregnant after signing up
for the service, sometimes as many as ten to fifteen
emails per day. In fact, one of the company’s success stories actually comes from its CTO and
machine learning expert, Alex Baron. “Most people start families by – you know, having sex
– but he started his by building an algorithm to figure
out when his wife is ovulating,” laughs Wallace. (Baby
Michael is now four months old.) The more interesting data point around success rates,
however, is the fact that of those who report they’ve
become pregnant, the pregnancy is happening 60
days after they become Ovuline members. That’s
three times faster than the national average, which is
generally four to six months, Wallace notes. Soon, Ovuline will begin to help its newly pregnant
members, too, with the launch of a pregnancy
tracking app later this year which will also integrate
with quantified self devices to monitor key health
indicators like activity levels and blood pressure, to
help women have healthier pregnancies. This app and the fertility tracker will work with more devices in the
future, but those discussions and deals are under
NDA. Ovuline is a freemium service, but the advanced
features, including calendar integration, expert advice,
and fertility predictions are available for a one-time
fee of $10 on mobile, or $50 for both web and mobile.
Sign up is here.

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