Startup Stories: NaturalCycles – The Smart Fertility Monitor
Tell us about your product or service.
NaturalCycles is a web-application that, upon a monthly subscription fee of 10 or 15$ per month, provides a non-hormonal, all-natural solution for both preventing and planning pregnancies. Based on daily basal body temperature recordings, optionally combined with ovulation tests, NaturalCycles' algorithm analyzes and monitors a woman’s menstrual cycle and determines and predicts her fertile days. NaturalCycles offers therefore two products: a very effective contraceptive, free of hormones, and a tool to help women get pregnant.
What inspired you to launch your business?
I started NaturalCycles together with my husband and we are both researchers with PhDs in physics. It all started with me wanting to give my body a break from hormones for a few years before having children. I searched the web, but I simply couldn’t find any hormone free method on the market that was modern and reliable. The only options out there were either unreliable apps (based on counting days or self-analyzing data) or expensive FDA-approved fertility monitors, which however failed to give accurate predictions. We thought we could do better than that, so we started to read into all the relevant literature and research on that subject and applied our math skills onto the field of medicine. We first analyzed my own temperatures, but soon more and more of our friends and colleagues asked us to also apply our algorithm to their data as well and let them know when they were fertile and not. While we started of with online spreadsheets, we now of course use the more user-friendly NaturalCycles website, also for ourselves. After several years of using NaturalCycles Prevention we will this month switch to Planning. We are hoping to with the help of our own method conceive our first baby on our wedding anniversary in August. We will see how it goes :-)
What problem does your business or organization solve?
Women of the western world are being told that we have no choice but to be on an unnatural constant hormone intake from the sexual debut until menopause. Now more and more awareness is being raised concerning the side effects of the pill and women are looking for other options. On the other hand, traditional natural family planning methods have relied heavily on women having a deeper knowledge in how to analyze their own temperature data and bodies. NaturalCycles removes the human error out of the equation and reliably analyzes the data of a woman with a simple outcome; fertile (red) or non-fertile (green). For non-fertile days, unprotected sex simply cannot lead to conception. What you get is an easy-to-use and effective natural contraception, which for the first time in history goes hand-in-hand with pregnancy planning.
What has been your biggest challenge and how are you working to overcome it?
The pharmaceutical industry has a very strong lobbying business, which makes it difficult to convince women that there are other reliable and effective alternatives to hormonal contraception. How we are trying to overcome it is to start a discussion; talking to women, sometimes just one by one, about that there are serious alternatives to the pill.
Give us one word that people might use to describe you.
Ambitious, but also a bit crazy sometimes.
How has Project Eve helped you and/or your business?
Project Eve has helped me with many useful tips on how to succeed with marketing and with a business in general. I usually read the latest Project Eve articles in bed, just before sleeping.
Give us an insider tip that relates to your industry.
I believe that hormonal contraception is becoming outdated. We have so many sophisticated tools today, to get around having to fill our bodies on a daily basis with substances that are bad for us.
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