Women’s Health Apps Leading mHealth VC Funding for 2014

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While most digital health startups are fairing well in the hunt for venture funding lately, it seems that women’s health apps are doing the best. A recent TechCrunch article analyzing recent funding within the mHealth market reports that startups building women’s health apps are leading the pack in 2014, both  in terms of funding, and in terms of user engagement.

In the last three months, investors have committed $65 million in funding to women’s health app developers Meet You and Dayima, both building data-driven ovulation and menstrual cycle trackers for the Chinese market.

In the US, that same space is already crowded, shared by hundreds of tracker apps that have seen varying levels of success. Leading the market is Ovuline, a 2012 Techstars graduate that is designing apps that help women trying to conceive understand when they are and are not ovulating. The app has drawn a following of 130 million users, and boasts unprecedented daily and monthly user engagement rates that rival Candy Crush Saga. Ovuline also boasts impressive data collection metrics, with 20 percent of its user base answering more than 800 questions focused on their individual health tracking. Ovuline is generating so much data about its user base, it is able to curate the user experience to a high degree of detail based on its data warehouse of user information. Techstars CEO David Cohen is a personal investor in the company, which has raised $2.75 million since its launch.

Women’s health developers are also drawing VC interests in the pregnancy tracker space. Pregnancy apps generally deliver a daily or weekly update on the unborn child’s physical development while in utero. The apps are designed to deliver education to new parents and compete with a long line of highly successful print books like, What To Expect When You’re Expecting. The pregnancy app space is growing as women’s health organizations embrace the platform as a means of educating new parents. Bellabeat, a Mountain View, Calif-based mobile health app developer building a pregnancy app just announced a $4.5 million round in May. LGTmedical followed that news with a $2 million announcement of their own. LGTmedical is building a pregnancy app that tethers to a small pulse oximetry sensor that will be used to monitor pregnant women with the goal of improving early preeclampsia detection in rural areas.  Rock Health 2012 graduate Wildflower Health announced a $1.7 million round in December 2013, and in February followed that news by announcing a state-wide partnership with Wyoming Medicaid to offer the app to all the states female residents.

Bill Pescatello, an Ovuline investor from Lightbank, explains that the women’s health market may start with fertility and pregnancy tracking, but the market potential extends well beyond this, “whether it’s storing stem cells or who you’re buying diapers from, there are so many additional consumer purchases.” Ovuline already operates both in the fertility tracker space and then also in the pregnancy tracker space, and Pescatello hopes to see further expansions, using its data-driven engagement strategies to build the “future of user health,” where a menstrual cycle tracker could go on to serve as a pregnancy tracker or multitude of other roles throughout a women’s life.


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