Swedish contraceptive app Natural Cycles has secured $30 million in Series B funding. EQT Ventures led the round with participation from return backers Sunstone, E-ventures and Bonnier Growth Media.
Natural Cycles, the first app to be certified as a contraceptive in the EU, has raised a $30M Series B round to help establish itself as the global leader in digital contraception and reproductive health. Lead investor in the round was the EQT Ventures fund (“EQT Ventures”), with participations from existing investors Sunstone, E-ventures and Bonnier Growth Media. The investment will aid clinical research, product development, recruitment from the world of medicine and science, and international expansion.
Launched in 2014 and headquartered in Stockholm, Sweden, Natural Cycles helps to prevent pregnancies by empowering women with a deeper insight into their body. The app was co-founded by husband and wife Dr Raoul Scherwitzl and Dr Elina Berglund, the top physicist at CERN who was part of the Higgs boson discovery, which led to the Nobel Prize in Physics in 2013. In 2016, the company raised $6M Series A funding from Bonnier Growth Media and existing investors Sunstone and E-ventures.
The new capital will expand the team which currently consists of 40 people. Dr Simon P Rowland, Member of the Royal College of Surgeons of England, and Medical Advisor to Bayer Plc, UK, and Anita Kraker von Schwarzenfeld, VP of Medical Communications, with an extensive career at Bayer working in women’s health and contraception, join the team together with artificial intelligence experts and former CERN particle physicists Olle Lundberg, Vincenzo Lavorini and Eleonora Benhar to aid new clinical studies in the field of contraception and fertility, and support product development.
Commenting on the new appointments, Dr Elina Berglund says: “It’s great to be reunited with colleagues from CERN and ATLAS, the particle physics experiment at the Large Hadron Collider. We have hired some of the world’s leading experts in physics and maths, and their invaluable insight will further the development of the algorithm and science behind Natural Cycles.”
Over 500,000 women from over 161 countries currently use Natural Cycles. Unlike other Fertility Awareness based (FAB) methods (also called natural family planning or rhythm method) Natural Cycles uses an advanced and scientific algorithm to accurately predict when a woman is fertile. In the largest clinical study* of its kind, the app was recently shown to be 93% effective with typical use.
Commenting on the latest investment, Dr Elina Berglund says: “Over the last three years we have expanded women’s contraceptive choices and demonstrated that there is a universal, unmet need for products like Natural Cycles, which is the first contraceptive app with proven efficacy. We have created something truly unique, and are just beginning to see the possibilities for how Natural Cycles can revolutionize the way women take full control over their bodies, and reproductive health at large. This new investment will support our ambition for further clinical research into women’s preventive health care and digital contraception by combining the best from the worlds of science, medicine, pharmaceutical and tech. We are very excited to have EQT Ventures and existing investors
Sunstone, E-ventures and Bonnier Growth Media on board who are well-known for their long-term thinking and consumer focus.
Lars Jörnow, Partner and investment advisor to EQT Ventures, says: “Natural Cycles has a fantastic product, exceptional high-ambition founders and a best-in-class team. With the combination of scientific, medicine and technology competencies, EQT Ventures believes the team at Natural Cycles has what it takes to become the global leader in digital contraception and reproductive healthcare. Backing ambitious founders like Elina and Raoul on their mission to become global winners is exactly what EQT Ventures was set up to do. We look forward to helping Natural Cycles scale its business further using learnings from the EQT Ventures team’s operational experiences.”
Natural Cycles works by detecting a woman’s ovulation and calculating her fertile days by taking many factors, such as her temperature, period, cycle irregularities and sperm survival, into account. Women are required to take their temperature with a basal thermometer under the tongue in the morning and enter it into the app. The app tells a woman whether it is a “green” day or a “red” day – the former meaning she can have unprotected sex without the risk of a pregnancy, the latter indicating that she cannot and that her partner needs to use a condom. The more data is entered, the more days turn “green” as the app becomes better able to accurately predict when the woman is not fertile, with the algorithm taking into account a host of factors including irregularities in a woman’s cycle. The app also learns and adjusts to women who forget to enter their daily temperature by offering more “red” days. Natural Cycles does not protect against STIs and is recommended for women over 18 years old.
Natural Cycles is available to download on Android, iOS or can be accessed on the webapp. Price plans can be found on the Natural Cycles website.
*Results of the clinical study have been published in Contraception Journal: http://www.contraceptionjournal.org/article/S0010-7824(17)30429-8/pdf
About Natural Cycles www.naturalcycles.com
Natural Cycles is the world’s first app to be certified as a contraceptive in Europe which can help women to prevent pregnancies. Natural Cycles has been shown in clinical studies to improve the use of natural family planning and be comparable to other forms of birth control. Natural Cycles was founded by husband and wife Dr Raoul Scherwitzl and Dr Elina Berglund, the top physicist at CERN who was part of the Higgs boson discovery, which led to the Nobel Prize in Physics in 2013. With PhDs in physics, they applied their mathematical techniques to create a unique algorithm which allows Natural Cycles to adapt to each woman’s body individually. Natural Cycles app has over 500,000 users in 161 countries.
About EQT Ventures
EQT Ventures is a European VC fund with commitments of just over €566 million. The fund is based in Luxembourg and have investment advisors stationed in Stockholm, Amsterdam and London. Fuelled by some of Europe’s most experienced company builders, EQT Ventures help the next generation of entrepreneurs with capital and hands on support. EQT Ventures is part of EQT, a global leading alternative investments firm, with more than 170 investments and 80 exits. EQT has raised approximately EUR 37 billion, and its companies employ c. 110,000 people and have revenues of approximately EUR 19 billion.