An App Tapping into a Global Need
Tackling a global issue is monumental task. It also opens up a global market and presents opportunities for really rewarding results. For Ida Tin, founder and CEO of Clue, working to change the way the world manages family planning, the launch of the fertility tracking app into the Danish market was another step towards realising that change. Chatting with Ida last week, we got some feedback on the launch, and her insights into how achieve success in entrepreneurship.
The launch itself went very well for the team, and the results speak for themselves. Clue reached #1 in the free health apps category, is now sitting steady at #2, and ranked #4 overall. The Danish launch was in part, a test of how to launch in a new market. Interestingly, Ida noted that there wasn’t any particular advantage to launching in her home country market, although it was a more straightforward process to translate the app and the website.
“We did a blueprint on how we would go into a new market, Denmark was our first test-run and it went very well. It’s nice to know that we can do that, and do it again” – says Ida Tin
The Clue app is a technological solution to family planning – a universal issue that hasn’t been addressed on any significant level for 50 years when the Pill came along.
“It’s such a big theme, for women, for 40 years of their lives, and their men. For everyone on this planet. It’s a very fundamental thing to be in charge of your reproductive health. Surprisingly little innovation has been made in this space, and I think the time is ripe for a high tech solution, and data-centred solution.”
At the heart of this issue is education, and using data in a way that is useful to every woman to have a better understanding of her health, and options. Finding this gap – and meeting it seems to be driving the success.
“Many women, in all parts of the world, don’t have that fundamental understanding of what’s going on with their bodies….It’s nice to know what’s going on. It makes you able to take better care for your health, and make life decisions around your reproductive health. I think there is a fantastic possibility now for women across the planet to have access to family planning through phones … we want to ‘data-fy’ the field of fertility.”
Family planning is a very personal issue, but also a social one.
“It says something about of course, how many kids you have, if you can support the kids, if they can have an education, if you can work, your own health, your own ability to do something else in life, because you don’t have 10 kids. For others it’s such a dream to have that one child that they want.”
From what Ida and her team have picked up on very quickly, is that the app works. Even before making local adaptations, it reaches markets across the globe. It’s something that people appreciate,
“We are so lucky to be working on something where people say is such a meaningful problem to solve.”
Having recently raised an additional €500,000 Clue is set to continue working on hardware, expand the team, and take the app into more new markets. There is a question of how to expand – a global solution, or local adaptation?
“One thing that has been surprising is how well the app translates culturally. We designed it for a western market but it seems to be kind of accepted, also in Saudi Arabia, and Kenya, all kinds of places. I’m sure that we could localise and make it even better say, for the Chinese market, but we can see there is a real need. We have users from over 180 countries in the world. We are just scratching the surface of the need to fulfil, the knowledge needed.”
Women in Entrepreneurship
For anyone who has been to a startup or tech event in the region, or even read about who’s who and doing what, it’s impossible not to notice a gender issue. On the topic of why we see so few female entrepreneurs in this area, Ida explains,
“There isn’t one simple answer. It’s harder for women to raise capital – statistically speaking – and get going with funds. It’s partly cultural. Is it considered something more male to start this kind of company? Women run hairdressers and restaurants, it’s just different types of companies. The culture is slow to change. And we need a lot of role models to change that.”
So why does this happen, and what do we do about it?
“It starts early in school, where we predict boys are better at maths and the STEM subjects, and that has to change, because we need more female software engineers to start these types of companies. I think this is a huge untapped potential.”
On being a role model, it’s something to take seriously. Ida spoke about being visible in society, as a step towards changing perceptions and culture.
“I almost feel that that’s also a responsibility to be a role model. I take that seriously, it’s important, it’s not just about me as a person, but somebody has to fill out that function in society. And if I can do that now, for a while, then I think that’s my responsibility to do that”
The theme of untapped potential is strong, the value of different views, giving dimension to ideas.
“Women, they can see different market needs. There are lots of things to do in the world, ideas to come up with, products to develop which are targeting women, or targeting men too, in a different way.”
But the simple solution:
I think women need to just do it.
There you go.
“You can ask for more subsidies, programs, but at the end of the day you just have to have the courage, you just have to do it, and that’s you know, there is really no excuse for not doing it. I think women just need to start doing it.”
“I like Sheryl Sandberg for saying that it is important that you have a partner that supports what you are doing, because I think that’s so true. I think that having a partner that supports you – and your career choices, is really important. I don’t think I could do this without a partner who can be there, to make it possible – take the calls at strange hours, go on trips for a few weeks at a time. Traditionally, men have had that support, for women it’s a bit more tricky.”
The takeaway here is to DO what you believe in. Get support. Stand firm. Entrepreneurship is not the end in itself. Making a change in the world is.
“I do feel very strongly about working on this particular problem which is very deeply meaningful to me. And trying to solve that problem for me is more important than being an entrepreneur. I mean, I am an entrepreneur in my heart, I’ve never done anything else, I’ve never had a regular job, I don’t think I can do anything else, but right now, the purpose seems more important than being an entrepreneur.”
Women can, and should, just do it, but still entrepreneurship is not something for everyone.
“Being a start up entrepreneur in a high growth company is not for everybody…. It is tough sometimes…..It’s not that it takes superpowers, but it does take a particular set of skills.”
Not superpowers, just the right skills.
“Firstly, you have to live well with risk, – and women do that. It’s not a barrier. We assess it differently, and deal with it differently than men, but manage perfectly fine with risk. And you have to WANT something. You have to have ambition. An idea of where are we trying to get to, to care about something.”
Some final advice:
“I think one of the biggest challenges we have is manifesting that live energy into something precise, decide – I’m gonna go for this. I’m going to put all my passions and energy into something, and then you can really accomplish something.”
“That’s one thing you need as an entrepreneur. You have to put your foot down and say ‘this is what I’m going to do’. Put all your energy into that.”
With a clear focus on the problem, and knowing what needs to change, talking to Ida about making a difference in the world, it sounds pretty straightforward.
“It’s very rewarding because you get very happy when something is working out, and you’re emotionally engaged, which I think is a privilege. It’s how it should be in your job.”
The project becomes about searching, finding, trying different applications, and alternative solutions. Helping people get what they need. With technological solutions, people with the right skills and, most importantly the drive to stand firm – we can make anything possible.
“This project can grow almost infinitely. There is so much more that we want to do.” says Ida
According to mobile health news, Clue is working with hardware, new markets, and exploring possibilities with pharma, and bringing the whole field to a new playing level. Judging by the motivation and determination of the founder, we should all stay tuned and watch it happen.