Three years ago, PayPal cofounder Max Levchin set out to tackle the issue around rising healthcare costs in the United States. He started Glow with the aim of improving women’s reproductive health and its first app launched to help them conceive. Since then, the company spun out two more services to help women manage their overall health and also assist when actually pregnant.
There are now more than 3 million users across the Glow platform with over 200,000 women able to conceive a child — a 120 percent increase from April. And the company isn’t done with its efforts to tackle women’s reproductive health and education. It has launched Glow Baby, its fourth app, and one designed to monitor your newborn’s growth and development while also providing a safe community to discuss issues every new parent goes through.
Tracking your baby’s progress
Glow Baby is like a Fitbit for your child in that it allows you to monitor a variety of activity and metrics, such as feeding schedules and durations, sleep cycles, the number of times and types of diaper changes that were made, and other things you wouldn’t necessarily think to measure. The data is analyzed and provides insights you’ll know how your child is doing.
The app also can track symptoms like whether they have a fever, rash, cough, or anything else to determine if the baby is sick. Jennifer Tye, Glow’s vice president of marketing and partnerships, said that these are things pediatricians would ask if you called them. The health data can be exported and shared electronically with the healthcare professional similar to Eve, Glow, and Glow Nurture.
You could also think of Glow Baby as a next-generation baby book that monitors their developmental milestones. And while the memories are archived away in the app, you’ll also be able to see if they’re progressing as normal. It tracks 101 specific milestones during a child’s first year, based on Glow’s consultation with medical advisors and the Center for Disease Control (CDC). Some of the activities tracked include whether they make eye contact and smiles back at you; lifting their head without assistance; reaches and grabs for things with both hands; babbles and imitates noises; and responds to their own name.
Milestones are broken down by monthly time frames and for each milestone, you can attach a photo and date. Tye explained that you’re able to turn these events into a slideshow and can share the moments on a social network or with the Glow community.
There’s even growth charts that you can use to track your baby’s growth (e.g. weight, length, head size, body mass index) to ensure that they’re where they need to be and are meeting nutritional goals.
Support for new parents
Beyond tracking, Glow Baby also offers a community and professional content to help new parents with any issue they encounter. Glow has partnered with Baby 411 to provide information you’ll need throughout the child’s first year. And if you have questions, the app supports discussions taking place with other parents.
“There are other baby tracking apps out there, but what ours does is be a resource that’s an extension of a new parent’s brain,” Tye told VentureBeat in an interview. “They are incredibly overwhelmed trying to figure out what information is relevant. With too much or irrelevant information out there, it can stress people out. Glow Baby is to empower users with information about their health and that of the baby. They can take that information and then make better decisions, and have better conversations with their healthcare professional.”
While the app tracks activity for the first 12 months of the baby’s life, Glow said that you’re still able to use it. This is behavior that it’s seen with women who continue to use Glow Nurture after having a child. “You can imagine the community with Glow Baby will come back after the first year,” Tye said. In fact, should there be another child, Glow Baby will continue to show its usefulness.
In order to ensure that it’s offering the best tools for women and parents, Tye revealed that Baby 411 author and pediatrician Dr. Ari Brown has joined Glow’s medical advisory board, along with Stanford’s Dr. John Palma.
Glow Baby is available for iOS and Android devices.
Monetizing the platform
Until now, Glow’s suite of apps had been offered for free. But the company is getting set to flip the switch on a monetization strategy. Tye revealed that premium services will be released in March for Glow Nature. It’ll arrive for other apps the following month.
For $3.99 per month on a subscription basis, you’ll receive comparative insights, premium content, and in-app private messaging. With comparative insights, Glow will take your data patterns and assess it against what the relevant populations of users are doing — it’s answering the question “Is this normal?” Premium subscribers will also have access to more curated content beyond what’s in the app as well as the ability to build stronger relationships with those in the community.
Glow examined the feedback it received from users and also their activity: 45 percent of users were logging data, while 50 percent consumed content, and 35 percent engaged the community. “Because these are the three areas that bubbled up, it made a lot of sense” to focus on them, Tye said.
“We’re the most comprehensive women’s health company on the market, with the best predictive models and the best data science team,” boasted Glow chief executive Mike Huang. “We’re excited to now offer women, parents, and caregivers deeper learnings and insights as an opt-in premium service to our customers.”
While premium services start out in Glow Nurture, when it arrives in all four of the company’s apps, you’re only going to pay $3.99 per month to access the information across the entire platform. None of the features that are currently free will be discontinued.