San Francisco-based Bloomlife has raised $4 million for its smartphone-connected pregnancy-tracking wearable, bringing the startup’s total funding to $6 million. The round was led by Marc Benioff and Efficient Capacity, with additional contributions from LanzaTech Ventures, The Chernin Group, Kapor Capital, and Act One Ventures.
Bloomlife’s first product is a direct-to-consumer offering for women in the third trimester of a pregnancy. The sensor, worn on a woman’s belly and affixed via an adhesive patch, detects contractions and displays statistics on a companion app about their duration and frequency. But future generations of the device will include much more information, including some functionality that will require FDA clearance, CEO Eric Dy told MobiHealthNews.
“We have a [clinically validated] wearable sensor that tracks various physiological parameters of the mom and the baby throughout pregnancy, the first feature of which we’re commercializing around contractions,” he said. “But the sensor tracks a lot more than that. We can monitor fetal movement, fetal heart rate, various aspects of maternal health, all through the same sensors, essentially upgrading software and algorithms.”
Bloomlife doesn’t use ultrasound; instead, it measures the electrical activity in the uterus. The eventual goal, after collecting crowdsourced data and securing the appropriate clearances, is a device that can predict complications of pregnancy.
“[Our plan is] launching a single clinical product, collecting data that we believe will drive new insights into what is normal and abnormal in pregnancy, take those insights, validate them, and then submit to the FDA,” Dy said. “So this becomes FDA-cleared and hopefully reimbursed, so this is a product that all women can access and not just ones that can afford it.”
The tracker and app, called Belli, is currently available for rent — not purchase — from the company’s website for $29 per month. As they roll out their launch, the company will pursue a marketing strategy that mixes online marketing with on-the-ground recommendations from doulas and midwives. And, of course, word of mouth.
“The mom community is highly networked,” Dy said. “Women share with each other what they do, what they use, what products they like, and so we think there’s a really strong opportunity to build in referability.”