Startup AVA has announced that it raised $30 million in series B funding round to pursue development of its fertility-tracking bracelet, as well as build other applications for female reproductive health.
“Our vision at Ava from the very start has been to accompany women through all stages of their reproductive life by providing data-driven, clinically proven technology that will empower her with insights to make life easier, healthier and better,” Lea von Bidder, Ava’s president and cofounder, told MobiHealthNews. “That could mean anything from trying to get pregnant, prevent pregnancy or monitor for infections during pregnancy — or even preventing pregnancy. Down the line, it might mean detecting signs of perimenopause and more. Achieving this vision requires investment in clinical trials, research and product development and testing, which is where we will spend this funding. In addition, in the short term, we plan to keep extending our reach to new markets globally so that couples around the world can expect their own ‘Ava babies’ soon.”
The funding was led by anonymous existing investors, as well as new backers btov and SVC.
Ava, the San Francisco- and Zurich-based company says it has so far enabled 10,000 pregnancies, or “Ava babies,” as they are sometimes referred to. When the company was founded in 2016, it raised $9.7 million and tracked only 7 Ava babies due in 2017.
As a point of reference, other leading fertility startups based in Europe, such as Clue and Natural Cycles, have also raised $30 million and $37.5 million respectively.
Clue and Natural Cycles focus on software, especially apps that monitor various markers that are collected by direct user input or by tapping diagnostics from other wearables (For example, Fitbit integration in Clue). What makes Ava’s selling point unique is that it has merged hardware with advanced analytical software that scans multiple diagnostics from its wearable and uses those rationales to help make a final resolution about what a woman’s body is doing.
Von Bidder said that everything his company does is artificial intelligence. “When you think about what Ava does, we are measuring your body and understanding it, and the only way we could do that is with AI,” he said.
In January Ava released an update that would indicate when, or if, the user has ovulated by identifying biphasic shifts among pulse rate, skin temperature, and other parameters linked to a surge in progesterone. Along with the update, the company also announced a new clinical trial being conducted at the University Hospital of Zurich that would examine whether the bracelet could be used to identify infection onset during pregnancy.
Ava was previously backed by $12.3 million in seed and Series A funding, and with today’s series B, it now boasts $42.3 million in total backing.