FemTech Founder: An Interview with Clue CEO, Ida Tin

Ida Tin, CEO of Clue, coined the phrase FemTech in 2016 as a way to legitimise the female health technology market and drive investment and innovation in the space. In the first of our FemTech Founder series, FemTech.Live interviewed Ida Tin, who shared her predictions for the FemTech space in 2021.
Ida Tin Menstrual Health Female Founder
So Ida, tell us a bit about yourself.

“I am the co-founder and CEO of the science-backed female health app, Clue, which launched in 2013. From here, in 2016, I went on to coin the term ‘FemTech’ (the category in which Clue resides) as a way of helping to legitimise the female health tech market, thus driving forward innovation, attracting investment, and helping to normalise conversations about female health.

“I went on to coin the term ‘FemTech’ (the category in which Clue resides) as a way of helping to legitimise the female health tech market, thus driving forward innovation, attracting investment, and helping to normalise conversations about female health.”

Ida Tin, CEO and Founder of Clue
As a brand what is Clue passionate about?

“For everyone working at Clue it’s a goal to ensure that our users feel included, empowered and knowledgeable when it comes to their bodies, and the Clue app is a key tool for sharing knowledge, advancing science and furthering understanding of female health.

FemTech period tracking app
“The app is integral to this shift: by making cycle tracking a routine part of the day for someone who has periods.”

“At Clue, our goal is to change the way we think and talk, about reproductive health. The app is integral to this shift: by making cycle tracking a routine part of the day for someone who has periods, and by encouraging people with periods to tune in to their cycle and really understand what each stage means for both their mind and body, we are creating more space in our culture for the experiences that people with cycles have.

It is also important to us at Clue to create digital communities where people can discuss periods, pregnancy, and all elements of their reproductive health. We have an active and engaged Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook community, and we pride ourselves on the accessible, informative, and science-backed information that we make available via our website and through our podcast, Hormonal.”

What else is important to you as a company?

“When women track their period through Clue, they contribute an unprecedented data set that is essential for continuing our understanding of female health. Clue is known for working with top research institutions and clinicians, including Columbia University, Stanford University, University of Oxford and Kinsey Institute, to name a few.”

“At Clue, we’re excited to be using anonymised user data to further scientific research. When women track their period through Clue, they contribute an unprecedented data set that is essential for continuing our understanding of female health.”

Ida Tin, CEO and Founder of Clue

“We are also working to advance academic understanding on menstrual health. Our scientific collaborations are exploring questions like: what pain patterns are considered ‘normal’ in which populations? What mood patterns do we see around ovulation? How might our menstrual and symptoms patterns help us spot disease and illness earlier? It is also worth noting that the data we share with these institutions is always stripped of identifying factors, and only aims to answer research questions of a non-commercial nature.

What motivated you to setup Clue?
FemTech period tracking app
“I couldn’t understand how human beings had managed to walk on the moon but had not managed to support women in finding out which days they can or can’t get pregnant”

“I founded Clue because I was puzzled that there had been very little innovative work in the area of family planning since the contraceptive pill came out.

I couldn’t understand how human beings had managed to walk on the moon but had not managed to support women in finding out which days they can or can’t get pregnant.

I personally wanted – and needed – a tool to manage that very important part of my life, and was convinced that, like me, many other women worldwide would also find that both useful and empowering.”

“This, combined with my life-long curiosity about women’s health and equality is what inspired me to launch Clue. I wanted technology to work for women.”

“This is how Clue was born: as an app that could clue people in on their cycles with personalised health data, and shine a light on the unique patterns of their bodies.”

What would you tell people who say FemTech raises issues that are private matters or worries only feminists have?

“Women and people with cycles have unique biology. That gives us the incredible gift of being able to create life, and with that comes an advanced biological – and social – system. It is an eventful journey. We hope that Clue will become a companion for all of these individuals. We want to create a tool that will assist them with every stage of their reproductive journey.

Cycle health affects 100% of the population! Even if you don’t experience a menstrual cycle yourself, you are almost certainly close to someone who does. This too applies to almost all FemTech products – no matter the core audience. The reality is that the impact of products that betters women’s lives will benefit society as a whole. Clue is designed to be used by people with cycles; however, our informational content is accessible to all, and educates men and women alike.”

What are you predictions for FemTech in 2021?
FemTech Forecast
Read other 2021 predictions in our latest piece.

“Femtech is one of the fastest-growing sectors in the industry, and female-focused tech built by diverse teams has huge benefits to progress and equality. It also makes business sense to develop these products, because they appeal to roughly half of the world’s population.

I am excited about the potential for data to drive discovery and push innovation forward. I’m really curious to see what the new data streams from some of the latest diagnostic tools will do for users. I love that companies are developing new tools for women to tackle some of the areas where technology potentially can play a big role, like diagnostics.”

“I still have some question marks around the long term ease of use, and I am curious to see these products evolve. Regardless – they will teach us so much about the power of the data.”

“More broadly, my hope is that FemTech will keep being a driver for improving wellness, health, and women’s lives in general and that we will see big commercial successes in the category too, fulfilling the huge economic potential that exists in FemTech. We are finally moving away from the idea that reproductive health is ‘niche’ and something to only be spoken about in whispers. This is a fantastic driver for a more equal and healthy society, not only for women but for all.”

What’s the most important lesson you have learned since starting your company?

“The meaning of my work will always be my biggest driver and I have learned to trust that it is true for many other people too. My values are the foundation I stand on and it gives me steady navigation as I build the company.

Ida Tin Menstrual Health Female Founder
Ida Tin, CEO and Founder of Clue

“I feel proud every single day. One of my favourite moments is getting to see the team’s satisfaction and pride when they hear back from a user about the positive impact we’ve had on their life – perhaps we’ve given them more understanding, or through tracking their doctor has been able to detect an underlying issue and offer them a treatment plan – these are the moments that mean so much.

I am also proud of the fact that Clue is a place for employees to grow and become more self expressed. It is their growth that becomes the fuel that drives the company – that is the most magical thing.”

Read more interviews with FemTech Founders in our exclusive FemTech.Live series which gets exclusive in-depth insights with key players in the FemTech space.

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