Life In Berlin: The Clue App
The city is home to many tech startups, but Clue is a bit more personal than most. Clue has developed a smart phone application that tracks a woman’s menstrual cycle. It allows a woman to observe the patterns relative to different points in her own cycle.
Mike Lavigne found his way to the Berlin-based startup after a successful career at a global consulting company.
“I really wanted to work on something that I could put my heart into,” Lavigne says. “I wanted to take all the skill that I had accumulated over many, many years and when I met my co-founders, I got really interested in the project and decided this was something I wanted to devote a lot of energy to. So that’s why I am here. And that is why most of the other people are here too.”
Clue began as a response to the CEO’s own concerns about her menstruation, Lavigne explains.
“Clue came to be by the inspiration of our CEO, Ida Tin, and she was looking for a different way to manage her fertility and was surprised when she did her research that there hadn’t been any innovations for decades in female health related to female planning and all of that.”
The Clue app collects relevant data from the users to track the nuances of their cycle. It can notify a woman of the elevated risk of migraines around her menstrual cycle or alert someone as to when chances of pregnancy are heightened.
When it comes to collecting information, Germany is protective of an individual’s right to privacy which extends to data collection. Clue has made an effort to ensure their users’ information is safe.
“I think there’s a lot of pushback on privacy,” explains Lavigne, “which I think is great. I’m on that side as well. One thing about Clue users is that they actually have the option to just keep all of their data on their phone. We also have a second layer of protection, which is a pin code that people can turn on for the app itself.”
This attention to the user’s safety and wellbeing is an extension of the company’s philosophy.
“I think companies have, I maybe take a radical position, but I think that companies are obligated to do good. I think they should do good. I think that too many companies are based around exploitation and so I think that anything a company does should have some positive impact, not just to their bottom line. I think data is a very powerful tool for the common good,” Says Lavigne.
Clue’s intimate team interacts with their users. They try to tailor the app to their customers’ needs.
Lavigne recalls the concerns of a woman with Post-traumatic stress disorder.
“One woman asked for a special feature so that she could do a better job of warning her partners in her community around her about when PTSD might be triggered, which is much more easily triggered during the time before a period starts, so it’s things like that. It’s really about all the work that we are doing here is really just about providing as much value as we can.”
Listed alongside other applications, such as Glow and My Days, Clue allows users to not just track their cycle, but observe and learn from their body. Perhaps this is a glimpse into a new area within the startup community data collection used as a common good to improve a user’s quality of health and life.