TechStars Grad Ovuline Gets $1.4M for Pregnancy-Tracking Software

Alex Baron is a pretty hard-core technical guy: Advanced degrees in computer science and statistics, expertise in machine learning, experience in the finance world and high-tech industry.

So when he was confronted with a sometimes-elusive piece of human biology—how to get two people together at just the right time to conceive a baby—it was pretty clear that an algorithm wouldn’t be far behind.

That work led to a new startup, Ovuline, that graduated from the Boston class of TechStars this fall. And, not coincidentally, two babies—both Baron and another Ovuline founder, Vasile Tofan, have welcomed children since starting to build the fledgling company.

Today, there’s a little more evidence that their idea could have promise. Ovuline says Lightbank, LionBird, Launch Capital, and TechStars CEO David Cohen have seeded it with $1.4 million in cash to continue building its pregnancy-tracking software.

The investment is targeted at helping Ovuline build the next phase of its service, branching out from the getting-pregnant part of parenthood (ovulation and period tracking) into pregnancy health monitoring.

The hope is that Ovuline can connect its online software with wearable, connected health monitors—products like the Jawbone Up or Nike Fuelband, which keep track of a user’s vital signs, sleep patterns, and activity to help people see how their health is affected by simple lifestyle changes.

Along the way, CEO Paris Wallace says, Ovuline hopes to push online health tools into their next generation of usefulness.

In the first wave of the Web, sites like WebMD took volumes of health information out of reference books and put it online, where people could more easily access it. In the social media-focused second wave, the emphasis shifted to building communities, where patients could talk to each other about their experiences and compare notes on various health problems.

“The next stage of the Web is actually using people’s information and telling them what to do—actually doing the work for people,” Wallace says. “Part of that is just, ‘Have sex today.’ But it also can be, ‘Take an ovulation test today, and give us the result.’”

That’s where co-founder and CTO Baron’s machine learning expertise comes into play. When an Ovuline user signs up and starts putting information about their cycle into the system, it’s doing more than just spitting back the likely days of high fertility. … Next Page »

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