Halle Tecco started working on healthcare apps at Apple a year after the technology giant launched its app store.
The then business school student soon realized that applications popping up in the lifestyle and gaming categories were highly advanced and reliable. Healthcare apps, in comparison, lacked legitimacy and accuracy.
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That discovery led Tecco to co-found an investment fund for digital health startups, and most recently, to form a company to make fertility products more evidence-based.
Natalist, a startup that offers products such as fertility tests and prenatal vitamins to help women get pregnant, just raised $5 million in a seed round, with a number of investors such as Christine Lemke of Evidation Health, Katrina Lake, the CEO of Stitch Fix, and Julia Cheek, the CEO of Everylwell, a digital health startup working on at-home medical testing.
Additionally, Tecco’s digital health fund, RockHealth invested in the fund, as well as Cowboy Ventures, Collaborative Fund, Fuel Capital, and xFund.
Natalist offers individual items regarding fertility, as well as a package titled the “Get Pregnant Bundle” for $90 which includes 7 ovulation tests, 3 pregnancy tests, and two separate one-month supply of vitamins.
“There’s a ton of young science out there,” said Tecco. “There’s a ton of products that have no medical evidence whatsoever, or they have evidence that they do the opposite of work. And people are still purchasing those products.”
The founder doesn’t view her competition as Modern Fertility, a San Francisco fertility hormone startup that has raised $22 million in funding, or Clue, a Berlin ovulation tracking app that has raised $29.7 million to date.
Instead, Tecco said, the two main competitors for Natalist are First Response, which sells at-home pregnancy test kits, and ClearBlue, which sells tests for ovulation and pregnancy. And unlike both, she says, her product “optimizes usability” and has instructions in “plain english, no jargon.”
Tecco said that since launching Natalist a few weeks ago, five customers have sent in pictures with positive birth tests. (Note: two of those customers bought a full package, including vitamins, from Natalist; the other three just bought birth tests.)
Additionally, Benefitfocus, a 1,500-person publicly traded company based in South Carolina, has signed a deal with Natalist that will offer its products at half-off for employees.
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