We are entering the age of the “quantified self”. Low-cost sensors and smartphones mean we can sense, track and interpret aspects of our lives which would once have required teams of doctors. It’s now easy to input data, and share that data with physicians and family members with the peace of mind that the data is secure and private. All this means we can build a health profile that provides greater control, allowing us to find the right medical advice and services when we need them.
One important area being revolutionized by this technology is reproductive health, which is where Clue comes in — a mobile app that allows women to input and analyze personal health information.
We first met Ida Tin, Clue’s co-founder and CEO, a year ago on a memorable walk in Kreuzberg along a canal adjoining the Spree River. We were all struck by her conviction that Clue could help half the planet live much better, healthier lives — a hugely impactful and worthy goal.
A Dane based in Berlin, Ida is a classic Silicon Valley style, mission-driven, serial founder: ambitiously swinging for the fences, and committed to Clue for all the right reasons. She explained her vision to empower women to take control of their reproductive health, a vital area where major innovations have been few and far between. The team at Clue has developed a way for women to easily and accurately track their cycles and their effects via multiple data sources. User-friendly software designed simply puts that information into their hands, and with it the ability to better know their bodies and manage their choices.
Clue isn’t the first app of its kind targeting female health. There is tremendous demand for tracking this kind of information, and over the past few years there have been approx 500m downloads of women’s menstrual cycle/fertility management apps. Yet outside China, no clear leader has emerged in this space.
Ida and her partner — COO Hans Raffauf — have, however, struck a chord with women all over the world. With modest funding (including from angel investors we know and like), they have built Clue into what we believe is the fastest growing app in the category. With over 2 million active users across 180 countries and 5-star ratings on iOS & Android, we are thrilled the team has chosen Mosaic as their business partner.
At Mosaic, we like progressive movements and technology that puts power in the hands of users. We’re early adopters of apps for running, fitness, and diet monitoring — categories each with hundreds of millions of users — and track ourselves with Fitbits and other such devices. That said, investing in “digital health” can be challenging for Series A VCs. Many of the progressive startups we see begin as hardware businesses, which can sometimes become capital-intensive. Others have business models that sell into traditional healthcare providers like governmental organisations, hospitals and insurance groups — customers that have a mixed track record for rapid innovation.
So as we have explored this space, we have naturally gravitated to applications with lower friction to adoption. These include models where medical professionals in a personal capacity can adopt/make a purchase decision directly — Toby’s investment in ‘Doctor on Demand’ with Virgin/Richard Branson is a great example of this. A second type of model is where consumers themselves are the users — MyFitnessPal being one example of a blueprint for success — and now where we see huge potential in Clue.
We were introduced to Ida and Hans by Albert Wenger at Union Square Ventures, with whom we go back many years as co-investors, including at Etsy and Shapeways. We are delighted to be working with them again, co-leading Clue’s Series A together.