TechStars Grad Ovuline Gets $1.4M for Pregnancy-Tracking Software

1/7/13Follow @curtwoodward

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Ovuline also is comparing that data to other information about women trying to get pregnant, creating a database that has the potential of finding patterns about what tends to work for people in similar situations.

Compare that to the standard crowded Web forums, with endless threads of users discussing their own health and pregnancy particulars. Even a very popular consumer Web brand like The Bump, an offshoot of the wedding-planning site The Knot, offers a pretty simple ovulation calculator and a downloadable PDF of a standard cycle-tracking calendar.

Ovuline says its fertility software already has shown success and attracted enthusiastic users. The early version began about a year ago, and some 25,000 users have signed up, with more than 1,500 reporting pregnancies. Wallace says the users who are reporting pregnancies have been getting pregnant even faster than the national average—in about two months, versus four to six months.

Ovuline’s service runs on a pretty standard model for software services, with a free tier and prices for different levels of high features. The company actually offers a six-month money-back guarantee that women will get pregnant, provided they stick to some rules like entering all of their data and following Ovuline’s recommendations.

The next phase, Ovuline’s pregnancy health-tracking service, is still being tested. That’s much more complex than the relatively simple matter of tracking a woman’s fertility cycle. But Ovuline says the current state of online services is still not serving expectant parents very well—recall those crowded online forums, where a flood of anecdotes and worried patients can lead even the most self-assured person down the road of questioning whether every bump and blemish is the first sign of something serious.

“What’s currently being asked is for people to become pregnancy experts,” Wallace says. “We can figure that out using technology and explain that to them. They can just worry about getting that data in and being as healthy as possible.”

One of my immediate thoughts was whether a service like Ovuline starts walking a legally risky line once it starts getting into the business of giving out health tips to pregnant women. With a constellation of things that could possibly go wrong, is the startup just one heartbroken couple away from a crushing legal case?

While you can’t rule out the ability of almost anyone to file a lawsuit, Wallace says Ovuline is careful to not play doctor. “We don’t give people medical advice. We allow them to monitor their key health indicators,” he says.

So, if a pregnant user’s blood pressure were to show a steady rise that was outside the range of what’s considered safe by standard medical guidelines, Ovuline could alert the user to make an appointment.

“Our answer is, ‘Ask your doctor,’” he says. “We’re not trying to replace doctors. We’re just trying to give people better information so they can better understand their health.”

Curt Woodward is a senior editor for Xconomy based in Boston. Email: cwoodward@xconomy.com Follow @curtwoodward

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