The next round of wearables is good for more than tracking your steps.
Ava, a fertility wearable that helps couples conceive, raised $9.7 million in a Series A round this week. The round was led by Polytech Ventures, a European VC firm.
The FDA-approved medical device tracks measurements like pulse rate, breathing rate, skin temperature, movement and heat loss to identify the days of each month when a woman is most likely to get pregnant.
Women wear the device while sleeping. The technology detects at least five fertile days each month, far more than women are usually able to identify by taking their temperatures or taking ovulation tests. It costs $199.
“It’s a much more convenient way to track your cycle,” Ava co-founder Lea von Bidder told Mashable. “It’s not peeing on a stick and running out of meetings, it’s not getting up every morning at 6 a.m., even on weekends, to take your temperature.”
The device represents a step for wearables toward more fundamental uses than going swimming with a waterproof Apple Watch.
Right now, Ava is used for tracking the signifiers that help with conception. But von Bidder envisions it as a device that women could use during any stage of life to understand their body’s changes during menopause, track hormonal changes during pregnancy or even eventually use as a form of non-hormonal birth control (like a high-tech rhythm method).
Ava’s team comes more from medical than tech side of things. The company, founded in Zurich, ran a clinical trial to get its device approved and is focused on medical applications. Its new round of funding will go toward a second clinical trial, as Ava scales to reach a wider market and researches other potential uses for the bracelet.
The use of wearables for fertility is something that could eventually be incorporated into the FitBit or Apple Watch. But even as Apple moves further into the health space, fertility hasn’t seemed to be an area of focus for its all-encompassing wearable.
Ava says that the number of body measurements the product tracks makes it prohibitive to incorporate other uses for reasons as simple as battery life. Other wearables that measure fertility generally focus on the traditional measurement of temperature.
After Ava’s official market launch in July, the first couples to get pregnant using the bracelet are now in their first trimester.