Startup Wednesday: Couple Care Brings an App's Touch to Fertility
Welcome to Startup Wednesday, where Latin Post takes a look at startups looking to make an impact in the world through technology.
This week's featured startup is Couple Care, an app and service designed to help guide couples through the fertility process -- whether they want to have babies or not. We had a chance to get some questions in with the company's co-founder Sebastian Abramowicz about the company's origins, purpose and future.
Q: Can you describe the exact moment in your life where you decided that you wanted to create an app to help couples through the fertility process? Where were you, who or what inspired you, and why?
A: The story of how everything started is in my own relationship. Trying to avoid pregnancy, I was worried about knowing the most fertile days, less fertile days, and period days.
Searching for a solution, I realized there was no app to track fertility for couples. All of them were focused on the women asking for a lot of info we as men don't know. So I shared this problem with Alonso Salcído (co-founder of Couple Care and friend). I discovered he and a lot of other men have the same issue (couples talking about the menstrual cycle). When we asked women what they think about sharing this information, we learned they actually wanted to share it. So now men can stop asking and really know what's happening and prove men also care.
Here comes the funny part: we came to United States to explore the market because we where invited to Berkeley University at NSF I-Corps, and we learned that there was a really bigger issue! Couples trying to conceive. Our target market is couples between 28 to 45 struggling with pregnancy and we are trying to help them pass through that stage easier.
Q: How does Couple Care make money? Why did you decide upon this economic model?
A: Actually right now we are in a user acquisition stage. Couple Care is a free platform and we want to continue like that, so we developed some revenue models that don't affect our users, like making referrals to doctors, fertility clinics, and natural family planning entities. We are also working on segmented and not annoying publicity and making some partnerships with devices like temp-drop (a smart sensor to track temperature) so we can give more accurate information to our users.
Q: Who do you see as your competitors and why should consumers choose your experience over theirs?
A: I think there are a lot of competitors on the market, a bunch of apps and platforms that allow tracking fertility, but we also know why we are unique. We focus on the couples, but we also have a global presence so we keep in mind to be multilingual. Another thing is that we have an overall vision where couples are going to be able to track the woman's menstrual cycle through the same platform, even if they are trying to conceive or just keeping track. They can keep track of the nine months of pregnancy, and the first steps of their babies, all of this without downloading new apps for every stage. We plan to have everything on the same platform.
Q: What's been the history of your app/company's growth so far? What plans do you have to grow Couple Care in the future?
A: Actually it is a really long story. It starts in Chihuahua, Mexico, as I told you, then we came to United States, because we were invited to NSF I-Corps at Berkeley University. We were supposed to stay for one week, but we stayed for four months because we were accepted at Manos Accelerator in San Jose, California. After that we went back for one month to Chihuahua, and then with the help of friends, family and our own selves we came back in search of investors so we can keep growing and make the next steps.
Right now we are working on the new version of Couple Care, a more stable and better version that is going to be realized this year. We are building partnerships with companies in United States, Mexico and India, and at the same time we are fundraising $50,000 for a six-month runway were we want to improve the product, grow our user acquisition, and start testing different revenue models.
Q: Is Couple Care a personal app for you? How important is family and why was it important to you to merge technology with such an intimate portion of people's lives? Does your Latino heritage play a factor?
A: Couple Care was born from the idea of solving couples communication talking about the menstrual cycle; I think this needs to stop being taboo in a bunch of places all over the world. And well, when we started working with couples and knowing their personal stories, I felt we could make the difference. We learned that by improving couples communication we were reducing stress, and in that way, improving the probabilities of getting pregnant, so that's great! We get really excited about that, and I get to feel related with a lot of couples that share their stories of how they struggled 12 years to get pregnant and everything was because stress or the lack of information. And it's not just about time. They spend a lot of money trying to conceive, so if we can at least help them pass through that stage a little bit easier, well, mission accomplished.
Q: How important are institutions like Manos Accelerator to Latinos and startups in general? Can you briefly describe your experience working with them?
A: I think it's awesome to have the opportunity of realizing that the world is so small. For us (Couple Care), being in Manos was amazing, because that let us experience living in Silicon Valley. I think a lot of us, at least in my case, thought the idea of traveling to Silicon Valley and building my own company sounded impossible. It is a lot of work and it is not easy but for sure it is possible.
Any program that lets Latinos know we can realize our dreams and we have the support outside our countries is unique.
About the program of Manos Accelerator: we had invaluable mentorships, advice, networking, and friends that help us keep growing and never stop fighting, it was a three-month program where we met people everyday, in a transparent way. We got feedback for each part of the company we were working in and also we kind of became a family between the startups involved.