Glow raises $17M to develop digital health tools for women

By Aditi Pai
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Glow NurtureSan Francisco-based Glow raised $17 million in a round led by Formation 8 with participation from existing investors Founder's Fund and Andreessen Horowitz. This brings Glow's total funding to $23 million.

"If you look at the evolution of our products -- of what we’ve done -- we have gone from fertile health and started evolving and moving towards general women’s health," Glow CEO Mike Huang told MobiHealthNews. "A lot of the investment will definitely go into, not only product development, but also opportunities for research that can further help us expand in that direction. The ultimate vision is that we are able to provide the best and most engaging experience for users out there [and] hopefully through our experience they can stay engaged and improve their health."

Glow also plans to use the funds to continue expanding its data science, product, and design teams. When the company raised its first round of funding last year, Glow had 10 employees. Now it has closer to 20.

Additionally, Glow wants to hire operations staff to continue to scale one of its newer products, Glow Enterprise.

"We are in discussion with a lot of companies in terms of rolling [Glow Enterprise] out," Huang said. "The problem is it's a really progressive benefits program, if you will. For those people who truly value women’s health in a company... [well,] we saw the diversity studies."

Given that there are still comparatively few women in senior positions at companies as compared to men, Huang said this is an area Glow believes to be "truly underserved".

"The awareness is not at the level we’d like to see," he said. "We want to change that." 

Glow released the program in February 2014 for employers as an extension of its not for profit offering, called Glow First, which helps women who are having trouble conceiving. Women pay into a fund — $50 per month for 10 months and if at any point during those 10 months a woman gets pregnant, she stops contributing to the fund. And when the 10 months are over, women who did not get pregnant receive funds to pay for services at an infertility clinic.

The first cohort of users enrolled in the Glow First program finished the 10-month program this month. Huang said 50 users who were enrolled in Glow First received 4 times the amount they put in -- $2,000.

Huang also said he's interested in conducting research on new products including a pregnancy test device and a basal body thermometer. He added that if the company pursues pregnancy tests, they would have to get FDA approval, which would take a long time.

In July, Glow announced a new app for pregnant women, called Glow Nurture. The new app offers users a very similar experience to Glow. The main screen shows women a picture of a baby and the picture changes as weeks and month pass to represent the baby’s growth. Women can also run through a list of survey questions about how they feel physically and emotionally, if they’ve exercised, how much weight they’ve gained, how much water they’ve had, and if they’ve done their kegel exercises. The app is only available on iOS, but Huang said that an Android version will be out sometime this year.

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