STOCKHOLM, Sweden — Popular birth control app Natural Cycles is set to become compatible with wearable tech devices such as the Oura ring, in a move that points to the growing demand for connected and streamlined wellness offerings.
The app, which is powered by an algorithm that identifies a woman’s daily fertility status based on her basal body temperature and other menstrual data, currently requires users to take their daily temperature via a standard basal thermometer before inputting that temperature manually into the app. Its latest upgrade will enable users to connect the app to third-party thermometers, including wearables that are already on the market, thus eliminating the need for manual data entry.
By adding wearable device compatibility, the company has the potential to tap into a $50bn+ market that continues to experience explosive growth. Oura ring alone claims to have 75,000 users, and with Amazon’s new health and fitness wearable Halo also featuring temperature monitoring capabilities, the door is open for Natural Cycles to synch with its device too.
“For years we’ve been looking to create a more seamless measuring experience for our users and we were thrilled with the results from using our new software with temperature data from popular wearables,” explained Natural Cycles co-founder and CEO Elina Berglund Scherwitzl.
“We know our users love having a hormone-free birth control option and we are excited to give them additional measuring options that many already have given a large number of our users own a wearable device.”
Since Natural Cycles launched in 2013, the personalized fertility tracker has attracted over 1.8 million registered users around the world — the hormonal birth control alternative, striking a chord with women looking to metricise their personal data in order to better understand their menstrual cycle and help prevent pregnancy.
In addition, investors have continued to pour capital into the company. In 2017, the business secured $30 million in a round led by EQT Ventures, which helped to facilitate the growth of its medical staff and scientists.
Despite its impressive growth, the company hasn’t been devoid of criticism. In 2018, various media outlets published stories about unwanted pregnancies resulting from the use of the fertility app. However, despite the negative coverage having quite a big impact on the growth of the company, Berglund told Business Insider. It hasn’t stunted its ambitions.
Since then Natural Cycles has become the first birth-control app to be FDA-approved as a contraceptive, and it continues to develop its software in order to elevate the user experience.
With its latest update still waiting for FDA clearance, the brand has released a private beta launch that will allow select Natural Cycles users to sync temperature data collected when wearing certain wearable devices, including the Oura Ring. During this time, measurement functionality will only be available to select users who are not using the app for birth control. Since 25% of Natural Cycles users are currently using the app outside of preventing pregnancy – including to plan pregnancy or to monitor their cycle – those in the beta will use it solely as a fertility tracker.