Many young people assume that getting pregnant will be a given. When they get older, many find out that it’s not only not always a given, but it can be quite tricky—or even seemingly impossible. Now women who thought they may never have children are finding hope through Conceivable, whose CEO and co-founder Kirsten Karchmer answered a few questions for DailyTekk.
What sets Conceivable apart from apps like Glow and Kindara?
Kirsten Karchmer: We are the only technology-enabled health program focused on improving the natural fertility of women who have struggled to become pregnant, and who in many cases have been diagnosed with conditions like endometriosis, PCOS, high FSH and others. There are roughly 500 period planners and ovulation tracking apps like Glow and Kindara on the market right now, which do a great job of helping women who are fertile pinpoint the most fertile times in their cycles and plan intercourse. We are unique in that while we are capturing a wide variety of menstrual health metrics and personal wellness data, we are also applying proprietary algorithms to that data to identify underlying health issues that could be contributing to fertility challenges, and to respond with personalized wellness strategies, specific health interventions, and a customized herbal program tailored to help improve the individual user’s natural fertility. Another way of putting that is that we’re the first program to move beyond the Quantified Self into using that captured data to address a real health problem in a personalized way.
When did you know you were on to something here?
Kirsten Karchmer: This past Fall, our program was in closed Beta; users could only access Conceivable through a select number of leading fertility wellness and acupuncture clinics across the US. Despite the fact that we were doing no marketing during our Beta and despite the fact that the description for our Virtual Health Advisor app in the App Store clearly said, “This app will not work if you are not part of our closed beta program,” we had nearly 4,000 downloads of the app. That’s when we really knew we had tapped into a strong pool of demand—people are looking for a solution that actually makes a difference.
What impact has Conceivable had on real people’s lives so far?
Kirsten Karchmer: We have now had several patients from our Beta program become pregnant. Remember that many of these women have been trying for a very long time to conceive, and in many cases have been told they have little chance of doing so. This was also true for thousands of couples who benefited from the program in our clinical practice during the previous 15 years. For women struggling with infertility, seeing that positive pregnancy test is a life-changing event, one that many had started to believe wasn’t ever going to happen.
What’s one unexpected benefit users have reported?
Kirsten Karchmer: Conceivable really starts connecting the dots for women when it comes to their menstrual cycle, their everyday health choices, and their ability to get pregnant. Many users tell us “no one has ever told me that before” with regard to how certain aspects of their menstrual health could be keeping them from conceiving. One recent user reported, “At 41, for the first time, I finally understand how my body works.” That’s really empowering for our users, because they then start to understand that they can take action that improves their natural fertility.
Have any important people validated your approach?
Kirsten Karchmer: We have several prominent investors and advisors, ranging from leading fertility and reproductive endocrinologists to the Group Chief Executive of Accenture North America, all of whom we feel validate both our approach and our opportunity to bring new wellness-based options for those dealing with infertility and other health issues. However, I believe the strongest endorsement I can share is that more than a third of our seed round was invested by former patients of the program. This program literally changed their lives, and even more than wanting to be part of a great investment opportunity, they wanted to be part of sharing Conceivable with millions of women struggling with the same issues they faced.
What are your future plans?
Kirsten Karchmer: We continue to work closely with our users to make the product more accessible and easier to use. That includes expanding the options for capturing the data Conceivable requires to personalize a user’s program, and ultimately we plan to integrate with numerous wearable technology solutions, as well as various data tracking apps through Apple’s HealthKit. On a more tactical level, we’re working to launch both Android and Web versions of the program in the near future. As we move forward, we’ll also be creating specialized programs to address more specific presentations of infertility, like miscarriage, PCOS, endometriosis, and even male factor infertility.