6 App Startups Tackling Women’s Health

Women's healthcare digital icons

Women’s health apps raised more money than all other health apps combined in 2014, revealed Crunchbase. Investors are excited about the high engagement numbers due to the nature these apps, especially fertility and period tracking apps. An Applause report shows consumers are just as keen, revealing that the most popular health and fitness apps in the US were for women’s health. It’s not surprising, as the continuous flow of user data and feedback means these app’s can provide a much more personalised experience.

Last year, Apple finally addressed women’s health by making period tracking a feature of the iPhone with their iOS 9 HealthKit update. But period tracking is just one part of a much bigger picture. From menstrual health and fertility to telehealth services and detecting breast cancer, these are the new app startups putting women’s health at the forefront of the tech industry.

1) Natural Cycles – for fertility tracking

Natural Cycles is a fertility app and thermometer that lets women take basal body temperature readings and analyse their data to inform them when they’re ovulating. Husband and wife team Dr. Raoul Scherwitzl and Dr. Elina Berglund founded Natural Cycles back in 2013 and the app now boasts more than 100,000 users for its subscription-based service.

This month, Natural Cycles raised $6 million in a Series A round, led by Bonnier Media Growth, with additional investment from Sunstone and E-ventures. The funds will be used for research to measure accuracy rates and expand the business beyond Europe, into the US market.

  • Founded: 2014
  • Funding raised: $7.5 million
  • USP: natural birth control


2) Progyny – “Uber of the fertility industry”

Progyny fertility health app

Progyny is a digital heath startup focused on the fertility industry. Gina Bartasi launched the Fertility Authority platform, in 2009, when she became frustrated about the lack of available IVF information. The startup merged with Auxogyn, in 2015, and became Progyny. Their referral network, connects patients with the best fertility doctors and patients can use the Progyny app to find doctors, book appointments and arrange financing.

In June, Progyny raised $14.7 million in a Series B round, with Kleiner Perkins Caufield and Byers and SR One among the five investors adding to the pot. The startup plans to use the money to develop better tools for patients to track their fertility and predict IVF success.

  • Founded: 2008
  • Funding raised: $87.8 million
  • USP: simplifies the search for fertility services


3) iSono Health – breast health monitoring at home


iSono Health have developed a compact ultrasound device and app that allows women to regularly self-monitor their breast health at home. Users carry out a scan and the software processes the results. The doctor receives the images and sends patients feedback via the app.

iSono Health was founded by two engineers Dr. Maryam Ziaei and Dr. Shadi Saberi, who both had close family and friends who battled breast cancer. This motivated the pair to build an affordable solution to help detect breast cancer early. The startup raised a $120,000 seed in 2015 and will launch out of Y Combinator’s Winter 2016 class.

  • Founded: 2015
  • Funding raised: $120,000
  • USP: empowering women with early breast cancer detection


4) Maya by Plackal – period tracking app

Maya period tracking app

Maya by Plackal is an app that helps women track their menstrual and physiological health. Founded by John Paul, Plackal’s health app Maya (formerly LoveCycles) has achieved over 6 million downloads with the US, Mexico, Brazil, Italy, and South Korea seeing the highest numbers.

Based in Bangalore, Plackal aims to increase the app’s presence in India where menstrual health is still a taboo topic in many parts of the country. Maya currently supports 13 languages, including Hindi. This year, Plackal raised $700,000 from seed-stage investor Prime Venture Partners (its first investment in the healthcare sector). With this funding, the team plans to introduce regional language support for the Maya app to expand its accessibility across India.

  • Founded: 2011
  • Funding raised: US$700,000
  • USP: managing menstrual health using a smartphone


5) Maven Clinic – telemedicine for women’s health


Maven is a digital clinic that allows women to video chat with healthcare providers including doctors, nutritionists, gynaecologists, midwives, psychologists and more. The app’s forum is also an educational tool and a way to connect with the community to share experiences.

Katherine Ryder founded Maven to make health practitioners more accessible to women. And, the New York-based startup quickly caught the eye of investors. In 2015, it raised $2.2 million in seed funding including investment from Great Oaks Venture Capital, Female Founders Fund, Grand Central Tech, and Matt Mullenweg co-founder of WordPress.

  • Founded: 2014
  • Funding raised: $2.2 million
  • USP: On-demand medical appointments for busy women


6) Kindara – helps women track their ovulation cycle

Kindara is an app that enables women to track their menstrual cycle and basal body temperature to help them get pregnant, or prevent pregnancy. Founded by husband and wife team William Sacks and Katherine Bicknell, the app startup claims to have helped more than 100,000 women get pregnant.

Last year, Kindara closed a $5.3 million seed round, led by Boston Seed Capital. The company announced they’ll use the money to launch Wink, their Bluetooth-enabled basal thermometer, and expand their women’s reproductive health products.

  • Founded: 2010
  • Funding raised: $6.93 million
  • USP: bringing big data to women’s health


The future of women’s health

The app stores are filled with apps aimed at helping women manage their health, and the sector shows no signs of slowing. Even pregnancy tests are going digital – First Response recently created the first ever Bluetooth-enabled pregnancy test and app.

Developments in women’s health products have also led to the emergence of more female-led tech firms. Female entrepreneurs and investors are now taking the opportunity to focus on solutions for health issues that they care about. Want to find out how startups are innovating in other sectors? Check out our app startups features.

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