Glow, the fertility tracking iOS app co-founded by Max Levchin, is making its debut in the app store today. The app was first introduced earlier this summer by Levchin to a surprised audience at the D11 conference, where the crowd was likely not expecting to hear the co-founder of PayPal and Slide discuss PMS symptoms and cervical mucous.
But despite the awkwardness surrounding the topic, female fertility is a huge issue, and the center of a market that attracts millions of dollars each year. And there is a bigger picture at hand here. Glow, which is led by Slide exec Michael Huang as co-founder and CEO with an R&D team based in Shanghai (Levchin holds the executive chairman role), is the first app out of an umbrella company called HVF, which is dedicated to using machine learning and big data to solve the world’s big problems, particularly those concerning healthcare.
Glow is backed with $6 million from investors including Founders Fund and Andreessen Horowitz. The company’s full-time staff, which includes about 10 people, is split between Shanghai and San Francisco.
There are two components to Glow, which is designed to be used by both of the people in a relationship that’s trying to conceive a baby. First is the completely free fertility tracker, which lets women enter detailed data about their menstrual cycles and the symptoms surrounding them to help predict their exact level of fertility each day. The Glow fertility predicting app can be used worldwide.
The second is Glow First, a unique “fertility funding community” for the U.S. market. This is an optional 10 month program into which users of the Glow app invest $50 per month. The money that has been pooled together will then pay for the in-vitro fertilization treatments of any couples who do not become pregnant by the end of that 10 month time frame. Levchin has personally seeded Glow First with $1 million of his own money.
I stopped by Glow’s San Francisco headquarters this week to see the app in person, and you can watch that in the video embedded below. It is certainly a huge step up from old fashioned fertility calendars, and any modern app that I’ve seen — it’s a beautifully designed app with very thorough tracking features. While the app is available only on iPhone for now, I’m told that an Android version is under development and should be launched at some point in the coming months.
I also talked a bit with Levchin about where the concept for Glow came from and why he decided to first target the fertility space. Watch that in the video embedded below.