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Glow gets women pregnant

09 August 2013, 08:46

San Francisco - PayPal co-founder Max Levchin rolled out a new iPhone application on Thursday designed to help couples conceive by calculating the best time to procreate.

The internet entrepreneur and partners in his latest endeavor released the Glow software at Apple's online App Store in the United States.

Glow also announced $6m in backing from Founders Fund, Andreessen Horowitz and several investors.

"We see so many opportunities to improve the state of health and wellness through data science," said Levchin, executive chair and cofounder of San Francisco-based Glow.

"Deeper insights will result in more informed diagnostics and decisions, earlier treatments, and ultimately cheaper, more accessible healthcare."

Women keep Glow applications updated regarding what is happening with their bodies and the information is analysed to pinpoint optimum times for conceiving.

The long term vision for Glow includes riding the "wearable computing" trend to incorporate ways to automatically feed applications information through sensors in bracelets, pendants, scales or elsewhere.

"Glow helps women become more informed about their reproductive health," said Gunce Arkan, who recounted leaving a Wall Street career and undergoing six cycles of in-vitro fertilization (IVF) to have her two children.

She worked closely with Glow to develop the application.

Arkan maintained that Glow gives women "the option to focus on their careers and think about children a little later if they'd like to" and that the application is the work of a talented team focused on "overcoming obstacles".

50% success

Inspiration for the startup came from the trend of women postponing having children, often to focus on careers, while fertility treatments are treated as elective procedures in the healthcare system, according to Glow.

Approximated ten million couples annually in the United States try to have children, with fewer than half having babies, statistics cited by the startup indicated.

The infertility industry is estimated at $5bn and growing, with one in three aspiring moms between the ages of 35 and 39 unable to get pregnant after pursuing the goal for a year.

"I am thrilled to be a part of a company that is helping people solve hard problems through data," Arkan said. "In this particular case, the problem of infertility."

Glow also established a non-profit fund created to help offset the high cost of fertility treatments.

Women can opt to contribute $50 monthly into a pool for 10 months, with the resulting cash divided evenly between those that haven't gotten pregnant while using Glow applications.

Levchin donated $1m to the Glow First programme.

Levchin's internet accomplishments include being a co-founder of Slide, a social network game company bought by Google three years ago in a deal valued at $182m and later shut down.

An MRL Ventures business incubator created by the Ukraine-born entrepreneur played a role in the creation of popular consumer review-sharing service Yelp.

Levchin, who has two children, joined the board of Yahoo late last year after former Google executive Marissa Mayer became chief of the faded internet star and launched her quest to restore the company to glory.



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