Three years ago, PayPal cofounder Max Levchin set out to tackle the issue of rising health care costs in the United States. He started Glow with the aim of improving women’s reproductive health, and the first app Glow launched was to help facilitate conception. Since then, the company has spun out two more services to help women manage their overall health and assist with prenatal care.
There are now more than 3 million users across the Glow platform, with conceptions increasing 120 percent since April, for a total of over 200,000 so far. And the company isn’t done with its efforts to support women’s reproductive health and education. It has launched Glow Baby, its fourth app, this one designed to monitor your newborn’s growth and development, in conjunction with providing a safe community to discuss the issues every new parent faces.
Tracking your baby’s progress
Glow Baby prompts you to monitor a variety of activity and metrics, such as feeding schedules and durations, sleep cycles, the number and types of diaper changes, and other things you wouldn’t necessarily think to measure. The app then analyzes the data to offer insights that help you better understand and track of your child’s health.
The app can also track symptoms like a fever, rash, or cough to help determine if the baby needs medical attention. Jennifer Tye, Glow’s vice president of marketing and partnerships, said that these are the things pediatricians would ask about if you called them. The health data can be exported and shared electronically with your baby’s health care professional (similar to the other Glow apps: Eve, Glow, and Glow Nurture).
You can think of Glow Baby as a next-generation baby book that monitors and records developmental milestones. And while the memories are archived in the app, you’ll be able to see if your infant is developing normally. The app tracks 101 specific milestones during a baby’s first year, based on Glow’s consultation with medical advisors and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Some of the activities tracked include whether your baby makes eye contact and smiles back at you, lifts 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 with monthly time frames, and for each milestone, you can attach a photo and date. Tye explained that you can turn these events into a slideshow to share with a social network or the Glow community.
There are even charts 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 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 health care 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 after that time. This is akin to the 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. And 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, Baby 411 author and pediatrician Dr. Ari Brown has joined Glow’s medical advisory board, as has Stanford’s Dr. John Palma.
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 Nurture. Similar services will 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 — 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 to develop premium services, 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 CEO 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 still 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.