Why calendar-based neural networks Flo does not use viral mechanisms to promote and refuses to integrate with ad networks. Service for womens health Flo, which uses a neural network for predictions of the menstrual cycle, in early August, raised $5 million investment in the second round.
The lead investor is a venture capital Fund Flint Capital. An application running in October 2015, has surpassed 10 million users in a month. The company is preparing to open in the Silicon valley office, whose staff will be responsible for business development.
The development office will remain in Minsk due to “a favorable business climate and tax privileges of high technologies Park,” said vc.ru representatives of Flo. About a third of users the application users are from North America. Also active audience from Western Europe, South America, Australia and India. The startup does not consider Russia a priority market.
President of the project Yury Gursky — co-founder Sport.com and Viaden Media, former Vice-President Mail.Ru Group, the investor MSQRD and mentor Prisma — told vc.ru plans Flo, the social mission of the company and the likely monetization of the app. Flo is a calendar of the female cycle, which uses a neural network to construct the forecasts and takes into account the mood swings and physical changes in the body of the user.
The app was developed by entrepreneurs from Belarus — Yuri and Dmitry Gurskii, max Stromovym and Andrei Kovalam. According to Yuri Gursky, the application covers the needs of girls at each stage of the reproductive cycle, from puberty to menopause. The app tells Teens about the menstruation, and pregnant women Flo can tell when to consult a doctor.
According to the company, the service is monthly use of 100 thousand pregnant women. In may 2017 the app got an anonymous discussion. According to Flo, 120 questions users wrote 120 thousand comments. Topics for discussion are set by the project team — the questions are prepared on the basis of the information collected on womens forums, the top queries in search engines and medical sites.
In the future the authors of the application will allow you to create a discussion by users. The forecast irregular cycle managed to bring the error to Flo one day, while competitors, this rate is equal to the average six days, says Gursky. When developing an application the authors have drawn employees from the field of medicine.
The company collaborates with other health professionals, and to prepare content that is displayed in the ribbon Flo. But the high accuracy of predictions is the result of the neural network, says Gursky. Due to the variety of settings that processes the neural network, the startup was able to increase the efficiency and accuracy of the predictions.
Founder Flo believes that the main problem of medical predictions is the human factor inherent to the doctors. Founder Flo expects that in the next 10-15 years health workers will not engage in diagnosis — they will only confirm the diagnosis. Doctors act according to the algorithms in the head and can simultaneously compare hundreds of factors, and in such cases the machine is much more efficient and objective.
For forecasts, the company uses the black data — a large amount of information, the analysis of which it is unclear exactly what factor influences, says Gursky. The benefits of the application, according to Gursky, noticeable after one or two months. Flo begins to adapt to the user after the first cycle.
With each new month, the forecast accuracy increases. The service, in addition to the duration of the cycle and the age of the user to specify various symptoms that accompany menstruation, physical activity, sleep duration, sexual activity, pain, mood, and more. The most intimate category of data, sex and symptoms during menstruation, says Gursky.
Among the most often noted parameters, sexual activity, sleep, mood swings, weight and “pulling pain in the abdomen”. Despite the collection of intimate data, Flo promises its users complete security and safety of all received information. For the registration only requires an email address, there is also the possibility to use the service anonymously. Gursky does not exclude that the users for additional privacy you can use a disposable mailbox specifically for connecting Flo.
We did the app is very secure. Now we will not be able to gather information about a particular person. Distributed database — email address and receive data is stored independently and separately from each other. Safety is one of the most important priorities for the developers of Flo, says Gursky.
In particular, the company abandoned the application integration with any ad networks, as they can collect too intimate information. To promote Flo company uses the purchase of traffic to Facebook and Google. While most of the traffic, according to the founder of the service organic. We do not use any viral mechanisms to promote Flo, because the theme itself is very delicate.
No one will write in his Facebook that this is a cool app. We want to let the user perceive the Flo as a personal space that does not seek to ensure that the data left in the outside world. According to Gursky, unlike other trackers for women Flo gives the user a sense of privacy — at the expense of removed names and icons, which depicts the pen.
The team has plans to tackle social problems associated with public taboo topic of menstruation. In September of 2017 will start the campaign “Lets talk about it. Period”, organized in conjunction with supermodel Natalia Vodianova, who joined the Board of Directors Flo.
In addition, the company is negotiating with educational institutions to popularize the theme of womens health. This startup is going to attract influential people for Teens. “We orientirueshsya on personalities that are known all over the world, and then we will consider the local heroes. This is the only way to massively reach out to the appropriate audience,” said Gursky.
The names of potential partners in the social campaign Flo will reveal only when they confirm their participation. In addition to fame, the company is interested in “life priorities” heroes. “Its important to was and notoriety, and the life of the person reflect the values of life, about which we care,” says Gursky.
Entrepreneur Flo calls the most sensitive issue with which he was confronted in the work, and acknowledges that at startup the service neither he nor his team thought about how complex the situation with the subject of womens health. The company took the decision to completely abandon ad monetization due to the risk of transmission of sensitive data and the deterioration of the user experience. The developers promise that Flo also does not appear a paid subscription.
Gursky believes that the app could potentially earn, giving users additional services — for example, DNA tests. The startup held a series of talks on the American market and is now preparing for integration solutions in Flo. Gursky is considering monetization by connecting to the “complimentary” services of segment of e-Commerce. For example, the delivery of high-quality hygiene.
The main parameter is the user satisfaction and the ability to create an app where all you need around womens health are gathered in one window. Monetization is not a priority for Flo. Gursky wants to improve the technology of artificial intelligence and create a comprehensive information system. The global objective of Flo is to become a leader among platforms in womens health with 100 million active users.
My long life experience has shown. When administered monetization, the team begins to think only about money. We first want to solve the problems that face the product. While Flo does not reach 20-40 million monthly users and were absolutely happy regarding the product, then the monetization will not enter.
Co-founder of the project hopes that the $5 million the project team will last for a year. The monthly cost to obtain investment in the series A round, Gursky did not disclose, but said that the company is “cost-effective”. Ideally, I would like to see this round was the last. If for some reason we will see that we have to spend additional funds, then well take the next round, but in Silicon valley. But I dont want to dilute the Board of the company, because we have developed a comfortable relationship with investors and a closed group of friends who understand our strategy.
At the launch of Flo, according to Gursky, he spent about $300 million of its own funds. In December 2016, it was reported that his own venture Fund Venture Haxus and Flint Capital have invested in the startup to $1 million. The company, according to its representatives remains the property of the co-founders.