Bloom: Making wearables for mothers’ peace of mind

Ronny Kerr · May 7, 2016 · Short URL: https://vator.tv/n/4539

Bloom Technologies won the Honorable Mention award at Vator Splash Health in February

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At Vator's Splash Health event in February, we crowned three winners: our Judges Winner, our Honorable Mention winner, and the People's Choice.

The Honorable Mention winner was Bloom Technologies, which is designing the future of prenatal care through technology designed to improve the health of moms and babies. Here's how the company describes itself:

Bloom combines wearable devices with data analytics to reassure moms and provide doctors with better information to improve birth outcomes. Bloom's first product, Belli, measures the most important health parameters of mom and baby from conception to birth. This includes pregnancy specific information no other wearable can measure today (contractions, fetal movement, fetal heart rate). Moms receive personalized feedback on her baby and her body to take the guesswork out of pregnancy and provide much needed peace of mind.

I spoke to Eric Dy, founder and CEO of Bloom, about his work at Bloom and the state of the company’s ongoing public beta. First, a bit about his background:

“I have a background in biomedical engineering and came to Bloom through a European company called IMEC. When I first joined, they were building semiconductor-enabled digital health and life science products and solutions.

“While at IMEC, I got a chance to work more closely with my co-founder Julien, who was leading IMEC’s efforts in mobile health and developing their advanced wearables for consumer medical markets. So that’s how we got started."

Julien Penders, COO at Bloom, is Eric’s co-founder. Though both of the company’s founders are men, I set myself at ease by confirming that the company does have female team members helping to build and bring to market such a female-focused product. Besides, Eric says it was a pregnancy that sparked the idea:

“We were seeing larger changes in the healthcare system and knew there were larger opportunities for wearables beyond activity trackers. Around the same time, Julien’s wife got pregnant with her first child and the lightbulb went on: here is a market where people have questions and concerns and there are very few solutions available to provide feedback to expecting couples. When you look at the state of technology in the hospital, it largely hasn’t changed in over 40 years. We saw this as a unique opportunity to develop solutions that answer questions of expecting parents through better information and better tools.”

Interestingly, Bloom’s “Belli,” as the smart device is called, doesn’t just innovate beyond typical activity trackers by focusing on a specific use case, but it is also innovating a new kind of buying:

“Right now it’s designed as a subscription,” explained Eric. “Women aren’t pregnant their entire life, we had a limited supply, and we wanted to do a paid beta to get feedback from paying customers. So we were trying to figure out how to do this. We decided to rent the device and figured we’d switch to a paid version at some point when we had more units. But in talking to moms we found they really liked the renting model. A mother could either return the unit to us or pass it onto another mom who can then activate her subscription.”

“We still have some testing to do around the pricing model. Providing a low-risk way to try the product that isn’t going to cost you $300 is something that’s compelling, in addition to the idea that you can use it for whatever period of time you find most valuable for your needs.

While the sensor today tracks contractions, fetal movement, and fetal heart rate, Bloom hopes to expand the functionality to also track many aspects of maternal health, including physical activity, stress, sleep, and cardio-respiratory fitness.

As of today, Belli has been used by more than 100 beta users. Eric tells me there’s a “long wait list” for the beta, so the company is slowly ramping up supply.

“We want to make sure we’re making incremental releases so we can measure the impact of the changes,” he said.

As for what’s coming down the road, Eric says Bloom plans to take the product out of beta with a full launch later this year. The company has developed a partnership with the University of California San Francisco (UCSF) and another large organization (yet to be announced) on clinical research. Additionally, Bloom is building out the team with people passionate about women’s health and prenatal care.

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Ronny Kerr

I am a professional writer with a decade of experience in the technology industry. At VatorNews, I cover the zero-waste economy, venture capital, and cannabis. I'm also available for freelance hire.

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Bloom Technologies

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Bloom is designing the future of prenatal care with technology designed to improve the health of moms and babies.  We combine wearable devices with data analytics to reassure moms and provide doctors with better information to improve birth outcomes.

Our first product, Belli, measures the most important health parameters of mom and baby from conception to birth.  This includes pregnancy specific information no other wearable can measure today (contractions, fetal movement, fetal heart rate). Moms receive personalized feedback on her baby and her body to take the guesswork out of pregnancy and provide much needed peace of mind.

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Eric Dy

Joined Vator on

I'm passionate about building mission driven companies with profit and purpose. Currently focused on solving the challenges of preterm birth and pioneering the future of medical innovation with consumer generated data at Bloom Technologies.
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Julien Penders

Joined Vator on

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Julien Penders

Joined Vator on

Passionate entrepreneur changing maternal health and prenatal care thru wearable technologies and data analytics. 10 years experience in prod dev and R&D at the intersection of digital health and med tech. International team leadership.