Swiss startup Ava raises $2.6M for fertility tracking device, app

By Aditi Pai
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Ava appSwitzerland-based Ava, which is developing a fertility tracking system, raised $2.6 million from ZKB and Swisscom as well as angel investors.

The company, which has offices in Zurich and San Francisco, is working on creating a wearable device, worn only at night, that it claims can measure nine physiological parameters. The company lists seven such parameters on its website: neurological, behavioral, social, thermal, dermatological, respiratory, and cardiovascular parameters. The company explained that while a woman can track some changes during her menstrual cycle, like mood swings and skin breakouts, others are too small to be seen or felt.

Using this data, which is sent to a companion app, Ava aims to help a woman predict her fertile window -- the day before and the day of ovulation. The company will launch the device for preorders in 2016 and expects it to retail for $249 when it launches in mid-2016 with an additional $5 per month subscription fee. Ava is currently conducting a clinical trial with the bracelet at the University Hospital of Zurich and expects to submit a publication in December 2015.

The company plans to first focus on the fertility tracking and conception market, but will eventually expand the technology to detect pathologies during pregnancy and help women with non-hormonal contraception. 

A number of companies focused on mobile-enabled fertility tracking have made news in the last few months.

Three companies, Conceivable, Kindara, and Clue raised money. In April, Austin, Texas-based Conceivable raised $800,000 from angel investors for its fertility app, which is designed to help women who are having trouble conceiving a child and staying pregnant. The Conceivable program, which costs $199 per month, includes a monthly shipment of three herbal “formulas” aimed at helping women get pregnant.

A few months later, Boulder, Colorado-based Kindara raised $5.3 million in a round led by Boston Seed Capital. Kindara offers a fertility tracking app which collects a number of health metrics including temperature, cervical fluid, menstruation, and sex.

Then, last month, Germany-based Clue raised $7 million from Union Square Ventures and Mosaic Ventures. Clue uses an algorithm to calculate and predict a woman’s next period. Users can add other information to the app, including updates on mood, sexual activity, level of flow, and personal notes. Users can also enter their basal body temperature, set reminders, and keep track of birth control pill usage.

Two other fertility tracking startups, Welltwigs and Prima-Temp unveiled devices this year. Welltwigs has developed a device that monitors the woman’s basal body temperature (BBT), called Thermotwig, and a device that measures hormone levels, called Labtwig. And Prima-Temp is developing a wireless sensor that continuously and passively tracks a woman’s core body temperature, called Priya, to help a woman understand when she is most fertile.