Glow calls itself a women’s health and fertility company, but like nearly everything launched by its cofounder, the serial entrepreneur Max Levchin, it has much bigger ambitions.
For the past year, the startup — with offices in San Francisco and Shanghai — has been focused around an iPhone app for women who are trying to get pregnant. It helps them track their fertility cycles and find optimal days when they might conceive, in exchange for a wide assortment of data that it anonymizes. The app is free but users can also opt-in to a program to which they pay $50 a month, with those who don’t conceive after 10 months receiving their money back, plus a split of all funds contributed by those who do.
The 21-person company claims it has already helped 25,000 women become pregnant. And it more recently created a post-pregnancy app for expectant mothers to track their progress.
But Glow isn’t interested in women’s health alone, says Levchin’s cofounder, Mike Huang. Glow plans to tackle a host of other areas where similarly focusing on “prevention” can keep users from costly corrective events later (like the fertility clinic). Toward that end, the company, which raised $6 million in funding at the outset, has just added $17 million in fresh funding led by Formation 8, with help from initial backers Founders Fund and Andreessen Horowitz. Its idea, broadly: to generate even more data, which Glow sees as good for the apps, good for the broader medical community, and good for employers, too.
In fact, Glow’s chief (and possibly only) source of revenue is expected to come from enterprises that offer Glow apps as an employee benefit, paying $50 per month to help keep its workforce healthy.
Asked about obvious privacy concerns around issues like pregnancy, Huang says employers will never know which of its employees are trying to conceive or who hasn’t yet announced that she is expecting. Glow provides employers only with information about how many people have signed up for the service.
He adds that a small but growing number of companies, including the file storage company Evernote, the onine ticketing service Eventbrite, and the cloud computing company Pivotal, are already customers. The focus now, says Huang, is, “How do we get this to be bigger?”
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