Boulder, Colorado-based fertility tracking company Kindara unveiled its first device this week, a smartphone-enabled fertility thermometer called Wink. The device is available for preorders at a $79 pricepoint, which will increase to $129 at retail.
Kindara also raised an additional $700,000 in funding in August from SOS Ventures, Drummond Road Capital, Vast Ventures and various angels. The recent funding brings the company's total funding to about $1.2 million.
"This device, [Wink,] lives on a bedside table, inside a drawer maybe, next to the bed," Kindara CEO and co-founder Will Sacks told MobiHealthNews. "The app has an alarm that wakes a woman up. When she wakes up and grabs Wink, it turns on, knows she is awake, and then sends a message to the phone: 'OK, you can turn off the alarm.' Wink then becomes the 'off' button for her alarm. Then she takes her temperature in her mouth. Wink records her temperature [and the time it was taken] on her phone, and then she's done. She doesn't even have to touch her phone in the morning. Later, when convenient, she can log onto Kindara and see how her fertility is. She can also share that data with friends or practitioners on Kindara, too."
Sacks said that since the Wink device is wireless and not directly plugged into the phone, the team wanted to make sure Wink users didn't have to touch their phone in the morning, because if they had to touch their phone to use Wink, "what's the point of having a connected device? Then, you may as well just type it in."
The Wink device also has an LED display that shows the user's basal body temperature to two decimal points directly after she takes a reading.
While some temperature-centric, fertility tracking and coaching devices are intended to be worn continuously throughout the day, Sacks said the slight increase in accuracy that such a system provides is not worth the pain of having to wear a device non-stop for months or years.
"For women who are trying to get pregnant, I can see [continuous monitoring making sense]," Sacks said. "She's going to be more motivated, so maybe she would be willing to wear something for three months, six months, or maybe even longer. For women who want to avoid pregnancy, though, that would be a lifestyle change that they would be taking on for potentially years and years. Even for women who are trying to get pregnant it might be too much. I know people have used Kindara for a year or longer before they finally got pregnant. Asking someone to wear something for a year is a lot to ask."
Sacks said Kindara's app user base mix includes about 65 percent trying to get pregnant, 25 percent trying to avoid pregnancy, and about 10 percent using Kindara to understand some kind of cycle problem, which may be because of thyroid issues, endometrioisis, or any number of conditions. Kindara has helped more than 30,000 of its users get pregnant by its count.
While Kindara has remained software-only since its launch in early 2010, the company was part of the first class of hardware-centric startup accelerator Haxlr8r, which hinted that devices would eventually be a focus.
"At Haxlr8r we were working on a thermometer that connected directly to the phone, but we tabled that and stayed focused on [our apps] and building a user base," Sacks said.
Apart from testing out a paid version of the Kindara app for a period of time, Sacks said the launch of Wink marks the first real revenue stream for the company. It also has three other devices designed for women in its pipeline.
Sacks said that while Kindara has a regulatory team in place, Wink does not have FDA clearance. The company expects the FDA to implement its plan to not require 510(k) clearances for these kinds of devices, which the agency first proposed this summer. In any case, Sacks stressed that Kindara plans to fully comply with FDA requirements for Wink.