Last week, our newest portfolio company Clue announced that it had raised a Series A round from USV and Mosaic. Co-Founder and CEO Ida Tin‘s blog post is here. My partner Albert’s post on why we invested in Clue is here.

There’s an interesting backstory here and I thought it might be useful to tell it.

A few years ago our oldest daughter told the Gotham Gal that she was using this mobile app called Clue to track her cycle and related health data and she loved it. She recommended it to her.  So the Gotham Gal took notice and ended up participating in Clue’s angel round. So our family has been a user (first) and then an investor in Clue for a few years now.

I got wind of this sometime later and asked the Gotham Gal why she picked Clue in a field with a number of strong competitors. She responded “in this market I’m backing a woman and Ida is exactly they kind of person who should be running a company like this.” That shut me up and ever since then I’ve been rooting for Clue.

Earlier this year USV did a roundup of all the interesting things we’ve seen in health care apps and Clue was on the list. I was mindful of my conflict of interest but did mention that I thought Clue would be raising a Series A this summer. Albert jumped on that and the result was our investment in Clue’s Series A.

If you believe, as I do and as USV does, that the mobile phone is the new EMR, then I can’t think of any better example of that than Clue. Women use it to track their cycle and their fertility and a whole lot more. I have not yet met a woman who uses Clue that doesn’t love it.

Ida says it best in her post:

Millions of people across all cultures are using Clue. With every single data point a user enters, we are moving the world toward an educated, informed and empowered future – for our users and their partners and families, for mothers and daughters and sisters, for doctors and patients.

I am super excited that USV and that our family are investors in (and users of) Clue. It’s a great app and a great company.

#hacking healthcare#mobile

Comments (Archived):

  1. awaldstein

    Read Albert’s piece on this the other day.With consumer products disruption and winning is not built on tech as much as it is built on brand and community.I like this company alot. Was struck that USV had chosen such a brand intensive investment as most certainly this is going to get into an expensive slugfest in the market.

  2. LE

    Ah. Memories of “I’m late and I know my body”.

    1. Lawrence Brass

      I have two of those wonderful memories, both have legs.

  3. LE

    Investments like this always make me wonder what it is that the investor knows about with regards to the future of the company that they have invested in that those of us in the peanut gallery do not. For example the app is free. And while you could argue that every women needs and can use this app, even if it wasn’t free there are obvious limits to what revenues could be.So I have to wonder what other sensors and/or tracking points will be going forward.Also noting that the company, ironically, is 1 woman and 3 men.

    1. Joe Cardillo

      Re: the gender breakdown, interestingly the guys seem intelligent about the subject, I read something a while back from their product director…

    2. Jess Bachman

      When it comes to health and health data, the limits to revenue are are larger than you might think.

      1. LE

        My point. As the peanut gallery all I know is what I can see on the surface. The investors are privy to future plan and direction. Of course health and health data has huge potential. But as it stands now all one can see for sure is a cycle tracking app (better known as “period”).

        1. Jess Bachman

          Well, the name “Clue” should give you a … clue… as to their ambitions to track more than just periods. The top competitor is named “Period Tracker”. Not much of a vision there.

    3. Susan Rubinsky

      As a woman who hires developers all the time, I always hire the best candidates for the project. The majority of the time, it is a man. This is because of an overall lack of women who are developers in the marketplace.For example, for a recent project, I had over 30 applicants, only two of which were women. Neither of the women fit the criteria for the project (nor did the majority of the men, I might add. I’m fairly exacting about hiring and will even leave positions open if I can’t find the right fit.)

      1. LE

        So would I. Best person for the job. I just think it’s ironic because there is often a push to have implied quotas in choosing women as in “we need a woman president” or “we need to hire more minorities” and so on. More assumes there are enough capable applicants to choose from.

        1. Susan Rubinsky

          Yes. I know.

      2. Lawrence Brass

        I admire women succeeding in business, politics and science, Angela Merkel and Elizabeth Holmes come to mind. Those areas are man turfs with rules of engagement written by men. There is an implicit advantage in playing a man’s game as a man, so women succeeding in these areas have double merits. I think that gender diversity as a goal (and diversity in general) is more than achieving quotas. It is a transforming process that at the end should *change the rules of the game*, for the better. Better teams, better judgement, better and more balanced products.Congratulations for Ida Tin!

  4. sigmaalgebra

    So, what are the data (A) inputs, (B) manipulations, and (C) outputs?

  5. andyswan

    Mrs. Swan joined her first social network yesterday: FitBit.Utility beyond vanity/promotion is starting to win. I dig.

    1. LE

      I was in the bank the other day and the woman at the next teller (how antiquated, huh?) was talking up her fitbit to her teller. The entire calorie tracking as motivation that everyone gets into with these devices always amazes me, because in the end it just boils down to typically a few major things and many minor things if you want to stay in shape and be fit:1) Never stuff yourself (and in general eat less). 2) Don’t eat for pleasure (slippery slope)3) Exercise (and never overdo it so you get injured and have to deviate from the pattern)4) Get plenty of sleep <– Super important5) 1-4 religiously. Make no excuses. It’s a priority over everything else. Even your kids.

      1. andyswan

        You’re missing the point. Everything you said works… of course… but you have to do it.It’s not about tracking. It’s about motivation, competition, accountability and community.Attached is this week’s contest with friends we know (Mon-Fri) so far.I’m about to take a walk instead of going out to eat because I want 5k more steps on the leaderboard. I exercise a lot… this makes me do MORE.I don’t know a single person who connects to network on FItBit that doesn’t1) Recruit others to buy the device and join2) Increase their daily movement significantly

        1. LE

          Look I know that there are people that get into the community aspect of exercise in order to keep up with doing it or to meet goals. I totally get that. My dad, when I was younger, used to exercise every night with a buddy of his by walking in the neighborhood. He would also go to the health spa religiously which was very social for him. He was there so long they wanted him to miss a payment so they cold jack up his rate to the current rate (never happened).For myself I don’t want and don’t need that. At all. I don’t run with anyone else and have no desire to. I’d rather exercise in my basement than in a gym. I don’t enter any races or contests (my core principle is “don’t get injured”) That is just me. I don’t need any pushing and I don’t need any competitions. This works for me (for 20 years iim I’ve been doing the same thing so I don’t mess with the system.).That said the one thing I did do is this. When I switched to making pdf’s instead of laser printing everything I wanted to see how much I walked around my office so I bought a fitbit because I wanted to make sure that I got up the same rough amount of times that I did before (I located the laser printer in the outer office on purpose so I would have to get up to get what I had printed, ditto for the fax machine). And so for that it was helpful. In the end I found that with all of the exercise and walking I did I was at roughly 10k steps per day. I exercise a lot… this makes me do MORE.How much do you exercise?

          1. andyswan

            15k steps every day. 2 days sprint workout. 3 days lift heavy weights (squat/DL/etc)3 days hilly 4 mile run3 days bball or football27 holes golf (summer) or 1 hr swim (winter)Now this is just the last couple years since my ACL surgery… where I was 299 lbs and decided to make a change while in recovery.So still nowhere close to the athlete I once was, but progress in late 30’s isn’t what it used to be. Plus I don’t adhere to your points 1 or 2, so this is my compensation plan 🙂

          2. LE

            Plus I don’t adhere to your points 1 or 2, so this is my compensation plan :)Well then. YOU’RE WEAK! Get ‘yer shit together.

          3. Jess Bachman

            Thats a pretty awesome routine. I wear my fitbit all the time, but its just a reminder of how little I excercise. It does make an excellent alarm clock though, so I can leave the phone and any other buzzing contraption out of the bedroom.

          4. LE

            Thats a pretty awesome routine.Except for one thing that I learned when I was younger. You need a routine that you can keep up long term. Something that is doable and stands the test of time. Having to much exercise also means your metabolism will adjust to that with compensating food. And if you get injured you won’t be able (as Andy pointed out) keep that up. So you will most likely gain weight or see saw.Better to do less but to do it consistently. Core principle. Don’t overdue it. Go for the long term and no injury.

          5. Jess Bachman

            “Better to do less” .. “Don’t overdue it” … “Go for the long term”…Will you be my trainer? I like your philosophy.

          6. LE

            I’ve been told by 2 doctors that I should write a book. But there wouldn’t be enough material to fill a book, the concepts are simple.Part of the philosophy came when I was in a doctors waiting room and saw the wife of a friend who was also a runner. I was in my 30’s at the time. I told her how far I was running. She said “yeah but that’s going to be hard to keep up long term”. So the next day I cut my routine to 30 minutes per day (plus walking, warm up and all of that) and it’s stuck for the longest time. No races, nothing that can cause injury. Even deviation of running path can cause injury.Also when on treadmill, always wear the safety strap. You know what happen to Dave of SurveyMonkey? Happened to me as well. I tripped, my foot caught the moving tread, and I got a gash in my shin in a freak accident that took months to heal. Hence always use the safety strap on the machine. Big lesson. Didn’t work out the same way unfortunately for Dave.

          7. Cam MacRae

            Interesting philosophy. I vary where I run, alternate shoes, type of hydration pack, etc. to avoid injury. I do events (just paid the fee for an ultra today, actually), but racing is for the Kenyans up the front. I just like the carrot. One thing I never do is increase mileage quickly. I have a very long ramp and a very fast taper.

          8. LE

            alternate shoesInteresting. Once I find a shoe that works I buy multiple pairs of it for fear it will be discontinued. I find that I would get all sorts of abrasions when I changed shoes so it’s something that I try to avoid.To be clear it’s not that I think I wouldn’t enjoy a race (or do well at least when I was younger) but the fear of injury keeps me away from doing that. It’s good you are able to enjoy this though.One of the fun things I used to do was run during weather extremes. I would run even in heavy pouring ran, when there was snow on the ground, (seems to contradict the principle … I know but I couldn’t resist that one) and when it was super hot. I found I enjoyed it more at the weather extremes. I used to tape plastic bags around my ankles and had Nike Goat sneakers (which they don’t make anymore) which allowed me to splash in puddles w/o soaking my socks. That was part of my “never miss a day” routine. I now run indoors (more time efficient and better on knees) so weather doesn’t matter. Also get to catch up on news while running.

          9. Cam MacRae

            I buy multiple pairs too. I paid an exorbitant amount in shipping fees to hoover up as much as possible of the worldwide dead stock of a certain Brooks model that I loved.I don’t have trouble with abrasion. I rotate shoes because varying the footbed and drop changes my action slightly and seems to prevent overuse type niggles.I think you’re more likely to get injured following one of the one size fits all event targeted training plans found on the net, than the actual event itself. I often run events relatively slowly simply because all the middle of the pack bodies in the way make running faster both dangerous and antisocial.I love running in the rain. The heat not so much, but since 6 months of the year is stinking hot I can’t opt out. And what is this snow you speak of?!

          10. Richard

            Replace your treadmill with a woodway curve

          11. awaldstein

            bravo.a big fan of exercise and nutrition.more solitary but changing. heading out to do a big loop on the bike with friends no often.liking doing intervals as a group as well.more community than anything else.more fun.

          12. Richard

            If this is your workout and you are even 5 lbs overweight, you have a diet that needs work

        2. Aaron Klein

          I hate to tell you this, but I’m quite confident Mrs. Swan will be kicking your butt very soon. I’ve met her, after all.

          1. andyswan

            She put 20k up on day one. She’s on a mission. Love it.

          2. pointsnfigures

            I agree with @aaronklein. I have met Mrs. Swan in Andy’s native environment (Ruby’s Steak House in Louisiville, not a Waffle House or McDonald’s)

      2. Richard

        If you have to worry about pirtion size, chanced are you have poor food choices. Great food choices are almost self regulating. Poor food (pizza et al.) choices tend to override the hypothalmus.

  6. William Mougayar

    Congrats. Our body is a continuous data emitting machine, and the more we capture that data, store it, analyze it, etc. the more we can expect to learn and improve outcomes and wealthness.

  7. Joe Cardillo

    Definitely a fan of giving people access to information like this, and removing the stigma around women’s reproductive health. There’s a lot there that men can learn too. Post from the Clue team on medium the other day is worth reading, too:

  8. LIAD

    i like how despite the passage of time, new technologies, yadda yadda yadda, this investment still stays true to USV’s overarching theme of large networks of engaged users.whilst not interacting with each other, individual’s data does serve to improve AI etc and thus everyone else’s outcomes.Can imagine crazy high DAU/MAU and retention rates

  9. mikenolan99

    So many cool things happening in Minnesota around “Hacking Healthcare” – here is an innovation MadLib by the Entrepreneurs in Residence at United Health Care…”What if we used {insert technology} and added {insert core asset} and gave it to {insert market} so that they could {insert something cool}?How awesome is that?From the deck:

    1. pointsnfigures

      Minneapolis is a great place for healthcare. A lot going on there, especially devices.

  10. LE

    I see they are using the Apple Watch as part of this.Apple Watch is great. One of my “killer app” with it the other day (I have many) was when my Mom called. I was in the outer office just moving some boxes and looking at papers. I was able to have a conversation with mom and continue the activity I was doing. That was great. Like being in the car when Mom calls.Sure I could do that if I had a bluetooth headpiece (but I don’t use one and I’d have to wear it all of the time which I would never do) and sure I could have done that from my iphone on speaker but that was in the other room. [1] And the iphone I’d have to keep moving as I walked around or hold it which would mean I couldn’t use two hands. Just one of the many things I didn’t know I needed before I bought the Apple Watch.So the question for clue is this: Can you notify me on my Apple watch of my wife’s “cycle”.[1] One of the reason I bought the Apple Watch was so that I could move around the office and not have to run back to see what texts or calls I was getting. All of that comes in on the watch. Also very helpful when driving (for texts, calls already come in over bluetooth in the car already on the screen).

  11. mikenolan99

    Just asked my 20 year old daughter to check it out… her reply “That’s the app I use! Big Fan” – even got a heart emoji… not sure if it was for the app or for dad….

  12. Susan Rubinsky

    I downloaded Clue several months ago to check it out but haven’t been engaged with it (I am still not sure I want to give them my data). To access more advanced features you need an account, but if you create an account then you are agreeing to give Clue your data. They have the best privacy statement I have ever read. It clearly delineates for laypeople what you are giving them when you create an account and how you can use the app without giving them your data. The privacy statement is here –…I can see why younger women would be excited about this app. Since I am older and already have my own private tracking system, I am leery of giving it to a company that has not indicated how they will monetize in the future. However, I suspect I am more conservative about this than many other women. I can see how getting older women like me to engage would be really beneficial as it would provide massive amounts of data on peri-menopause and menopause.

  13. jason wright

    revenue stream. a guy can pay $1 to have the app anonymously pushed to his partner’s phone. the politics of interpersonal relationships. forget Series B.

  14. pointsnfigures

    Not the first for a phone, not the last. Agree with Gotham Gal that it’s all about execution. In an obtuse way, it might lead to less abortions because if a woman knows her cycle better she should be able to make more informed decisions. I like their mission statement. As a solo man in a 3/4 woman household, I could have used this to track PMS and known when to hide. (That last sentence is a joke!)

  15. 0tiger1

    I love period apps too, and used one to grow our family. But what makes Clue different than the many other period trackers (which have roughly the same feature set as far as I can tell)? I was surprised they have such a big staff (looks like 19?) There may be something in the data play and partnerships with research firms – and if so, then its a good example of how thinking bigger and redoing something that exists today can work.

  16. Brandon Burns

    If you’re reading this, congrats to you, too, Hans. 🙂

  17. Ana Milicevic

    Love it and use it. So happy they’re in the USV portfolio.Most of my doctors are very tech-friendly but even they struggle w/ interpreting info from apps and anything outside of the usual ‘come into the office so we can take your blood pressure’ (spoiler alert: it’s always higher than normal because I will seemingly always freak out in the vicinity of doctors). I dream of a day when I can send them my basic stats ahead of time and then we can spend the majority of the appointment talking about stuff to focus on (and this doesn’t event take into consideration diagnostic assistance systems and other ‘advanced’ solutions for which we actually have the data now, but not necessarily the systems that would enable health professionals to take this valuable data into account). I’m looking forward to the day when my doctor will be able to glance at output from Clue and not waste time during out appointment on things that could easily be covered via email or better yet, a rudimentary dashboard.

  18. panterosa,

    I agree the mobile phone should be the new EMR, and that mobile + cloud should be my method as patient to keep track of MY data. I worked on this as a side thing with a doctor. That clue help women, young women especially, know their bodies better is just awesome. Passing it on.