Meet the team: Elina, CTO & Cofounder

Where are you from?

Malmö, Sweden

Tell us about your work at Natural Cycles?

I am the CTO and co-founder of Natural Cycles. My work is very diverse, which I love. For instance, I get to look at a lot of data from our Cyclers and get deeper understanding on how the woman’s body works. I have also developed the algorithm behind Natural Cycles and with more and more data from you Cyclers, I sometimes get to optimize it to make it even better and more precise for each unique cycle.

 

 

Why Natural Cycles?

Well, I founded Natural Cycles together with Raoul since we personally needed a reliable natural contraceptive method and there was no such thing on the market. Later on we also decided to use Natural Cycles to carefully plan having our daughter, Alba.

Your favourite project at NC?

Well, the app is the best of course 🙂

What does it mean to be a good CTO & Cofounder

That we really care about the women using our app.

What’s one thing you’ve learned during your time at Natural Cycles?

Oh, so so much. Initially, my career started in the science world as a particle physicist, so I have learned so much during my Natural Cycles journey over the past 4 years. About women’s reproductive health, how to run a tech startup, how to develop apps and websites, and so much more.

What’s your go-to place to eat in Stockholm?

Eat? I have a company and a 2 year old daughter, I don’t get to go out and eat usually 🙂

Favourite feature in the Natural Cycles app?

I like the way the algorithm loads now, it says different things like “calculating” or “crunching the numbers” instead of just a boring loader. Then the colors emerge gradually. I love that feature.

Favourite song?

It changes with time, but right now: Héroes Del Silencio – Apuesta Por El Rock ´n´ Roll

Favourite quote?

“Shoot for the moon. Even if you miss, you’ll land among the stars.” – Les Brown

Tell us about your hobbies?

Natural Cycles is my hobby, which I get to share with my husband, so I’m very lucky.

 

Look out for more meet the team posts and here are the latest ones:

Rebecca – Customer Support 

Olle – The data scientist

Daniel – The Designer

 

Have a lovely evening!

Meet the Natural Cycles Team: Olle, the Data Scientist

Last month you got to know our Customer Support Manager Rebecca, and this month you can learn more about our data scientist – Olle!

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Where are you from? I’m from Stockholm!

Tell us about your work at Natural Cycles?

It’s my job to analyse our user’s data, which enables the company to contribute to scientific research in fertility and contraception. The science aspect is important not only for us to correctly estimate the efficiency of Natural Cycles, but also to provide our customers with as accurate information about the product as we possibly can. My work is all about squeezing as much interesting stuff out of the data, which the users have logged in the app, as I can!

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Favourite project?

Every time I have a new set of data to look at! That first process of scanning through it, trying to visualise what possible relations and correlations could be hiding within these numbers, and then going on to developing some initial hypotheses and methods to test them. This process is extremely fun and rewarding – more people should try it.

 

What does it mean to be a good data scientist?

I think the most important thing is to have a curious and open mindset – to always want to take things apart and understand how and why things are connected. It’s important to be good at combining attention to detail with an understanding of the big picture. Great data scientists really enjoy problem solving and are constantly looking for the next big question to ask!

 

What’s one thing you’ve learned during your time at Natural Cycles?

That things as simple as body temperature measurements – can hide so much more interesting science than you can ever imagine!

 

What’s your go-to place to eat in Stockholm?

Depending on my mood either B.A.R on Blasieholmen, or Peppar at St. Eriksplan.

 

Favourite feature in the Natural Cycles app? 

The graph!

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Favourite quote? 
“Your theory is crazy, but not crazy enough to be true” – Niels Bohr.

Tell us about your hobbies? I play football in the lowest Swedish tier and staying true to my nerdy profession, I also enjoy playing board games and watching a good Sci-Fi movie.

Stay tuned for more meet the team posts!

Cheers,

Dani at NC

Meet the team: Rebecca, Customer Support Manager

We’re continuing with our meet the team posts – so you get to know who’s behind the scenes. Natural Cycles is a young startup that has a diverse, international and young team working on giving women an alternative  and ensuring to deliver the best possible product we can. This week our customer support agent is up – Rebecca!

Natural Cycles Meet the Team

First snow in Stockholm!

Tell us about your work at Natural Cycles?
I work with customer support, so I answer all of our Cycler’s questions be it by email or on social media and the occasional phone call.  It’s also a part of my job to be involved in finding things that could do with improvement within the app, reporting bugs etc. I work very close with Cyclers and have a good understanding of what they want and need.

Why Natural Cycles?
I started using it myself as I had already quit the pill about six months earlier. About a year later, I was looking for a new job and found an open position and just knew I HAD to work for Natural Cycles. I was already happy with the app, and the work the company was doing, so I really wanted to be a part of this. I was actually really nervous and excited to meet Elina for the first time too!

What does it mean to be a good support agent?
I am very compassionate and well-informed about all aspects of the menstrual cycle. I always try to put myself in the position of being the Cycler, asking for guidance and help with my menstrual cycle and sex life. It means having to be very personal with everyone, while still providing all the relevant information. I really feel and sympathise with all them and try to give the best advice possible.

What’s one thing you’ve learned during your time at Natural Cycles?
Almost everything about the menstrual cycle!

What’s your go-to place to eat in Stockholm?
A burger place South of Stockholm, Bun-Meat-Bun. I’ve always treated myself to their burgers after every big thing in my life – surgery, new apartment and this job too actually!

Favourite feature in Natural Cycles app?
The graph is my favourite. It tells me everything I need to know about my own body. It shows the entire menstrual cycle, with every up and down in temperature and cycle variation, and all data is accessible by tapping the data point. Alternatively you can see it all on the statistics page. I’m just really interested in learning more about my body and cycle.

Favourite quote?
Always treat others as you wish for them to treat you. This speaks to me on so many levels – it was my school’s motto which has stuck with me since I was 6 years old.

Read here about our Head of Design Daniel and look out for more Meet the Team posts!

Cheers,
Dani at Natural Cycles

How will summer holidays affect my measuring?

Off on your summer holidays and wondering how it might affect your measuring? Here’s a look at the top questions we get on measuring your temperature and using the Natural Cycles app from our Cyclers who are heading overseas.

Can I still measure my temperature if I’m traveling abroad to another time zone?

If you travel across several time zones and experience jet lag then we recommend skipping measuring (or tap Deviating temp.) for 1-2 days upon arrival and departure, until your body has adjusted and you have had a good nights rest. After you have adjusted to the new time schedule, you should measure as usual when you wake up in the morning, around the same time and in the new time zone.

Can warmer weather affect my basal body temperature?

 The answer is no, not significantly. Your body is very good at regulating its’ optimal temperature as humans are warm blooded animals. Also, we do recommend you to measure under your tongue, with your mouth closed. Measuring on your skin or in the ear, can be affected by the outside factors such as room temperature or your clothes etc. which is why you shouldn’t do so.

 

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What about late nights? 

Remember to always skip measuring or tap ‘Deviating temp.’ if you feel hungover or if you have slept less than usual. We know those summer nights can sometimes be endless 🙂 

Can I use the app offline? 

Unfortunately, you can’t use Natural Cycles offline at the moment. We are however working on making these improvements in the future, it’s a little more complex as the algorithm runs on our servers and you require an internet connection to get a result. More on that here.  You can take note of your temperature and add it later on when you have a connection again, just remember to check your status for the day every morning.

 

It’s also good to know that traveling can be stressful on the body, which means that it can sometimes affect your cycle causing, for instance, a delayed ovulation, shorter or longer cycles or in some cases anovulatory cycles.

Read more about how traveling can affect your cycle

 

Hope you can make great use of this info,

Your Natural Cycles team

Meet the team: Daniel, Head of Design

 

Role: Head of Design 

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Where are you from:

Born in Sundsvall, in the middle of Sweden. Resident of Stockholm since the late 90’s

Working at Natural Cycles Since: Last spring.

Thinking behind Natural Cycles’ new look:

Our Cyclers are independent, modern and vibrant women, which is what we wanted our new visual identity to represent.  We are therefore moving away from our old white and purple look towards a more colourful, warm and bold identity.

New apps features and design:

We are changing everything and nothing. While our cyclers will recognize and feel right at home with most features this will be a major update of our app. Expect a better user experience in total. More intuitive, more beautiful and more focused. Every cycler, seasoned and novice, will hopefully find, not only the app, but the entire process easier to understand and use.

Release date:

We are rolling out our new visual identity this autumn and at the end of the year we finish of with the release of the redesigned application.

Favourite new icon:

From the new app? The calendar icon for sure. A very very clean and simple shape yet unique.

The new calendar icon

The new calendar icon

Favourite song on Spotify:

Today*: Ben Macklin — The First (Original Mix)

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*Not my favourite of all time because that really is a difficult question!

 

Reducing Unmet Need with #LifeChangingOptions

A couple of weeks a go Natural Cycles’ launched the campaign #LifeChangingOptions in support of every woman’s right to her own body. Did you take part by retweeting or sharing our message? If not, you still can help as this is the final week where for every share of #LifeChangingOptions, we will donate funds to Kvinna till Kvinna to drive access and ‘choice’ to women in the developing world.

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If you participate you can also be in the chance of winning one of our event goody bags! Simply post one of our campaign’s social media posts with #LifeChangingOptions and your choice.

Goodie bag give-away!

Goodie bag give-away!

During the initiative, we partnered with global advocacy organisation Women Deliver  that brings together voices from around the world to improve the health and well-being of girls and women – a mission similar to our own!

Women Deliver recently announced their WCD Ambassadors Project, that aims to equip young people with the skills they need to tell stories about the state of sexual and reproductive health in their home countries.

One of WCD’s Ambassadors, Gvantsa Khizanishvil, is from Georgia, a country that is generally quite underrepresented when we talk about these issues. She is in the process of creating an interactive digital map where the audience can zoom in and read individual stories about reproductive health and contraception. Gvantsa hopes her innovative approach will reach policymakers and show them how we can create a better quality of life for young adults living in Georgia. Check out her project here!

Gvantsa Khizanishvil, WCD Ambassador

To complete the week, Natural Cycles‘ had an event to celebrate WCD and communicate the importance behind the #LifeChangingOptions campaign – reducing unmet need by supporting women with a met need. 

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At the event, we discussed what information is missing. A survey sponsored by Natural Cycles’ revealed that birth control choices in the western world tend to be based on a poor understanding of how our bodies and contraception works.

For instance, in Sweden, the home of Natural Cycles, we found that even though people know ‘more about sex’ than Americans and Brits, there is still a lot of room for improvement (see some of the results below)!

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Answer: Women can become pregnant during their 6 day fertile window ( 5 day sperm survival + 1 day ovulation day = 6 days)

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Fewer Swedes knew the answer to this question than Americans (68%) and Brits (64%)

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We should learn to appreciate our bodies, how it works and the options available to us. A woman should use her reproductive rights by finding a method that meets her needs entirely. Birth control is a privilege that western women frequently take for granted – while millions of women in the developing world don’t have that option.

In order to fulfil this goal, we think education should be better from an earlier age. By doing this we can expand choice to help young women make decisions in line with their needs instead of following social norms.

The survey found that 16-24 yr olds, which is the age we start using contraception and pill usage is most prevalent, have:

  • The least knowledge about their bodies and contraception overall with only 50% questions answered correctly
  • The least knowledge for how the pill works – 53% did not know how the pill works

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So help us spread the word by helping women all around the world better understand their #LifeChangingOptions.

If you think Natural Cycles’ is the method for you, we are offering $10 (100 SEK) off the app’s 1 year subscription with code LIFE2NC (offer ends 30th September, 2015).

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Help us Drive #LifeChangingOptions to the Developing World

World Contraception Day, 26th September, is a day that aims to improve awareness of contraception around a vision where every pregnancy is a planned one. To get closer to this goal, NaturalCycles’ has launched the #LifeChangingOptions campaign as the company believes that every women should have the right to decide whether or not she wishes to get pregnant.

Statistics show that 225 million* young women who want to prevent pregnancies has no access to contraception, which is a barrier they face that affects their lives and future. When girls have the choice they have children later, which means they can finish their education, become financially independent and contribute to society. It also means they can space their births further apart, which means healthier lives for them and their babies.**

At NaturalCycles, we believe that given the opportunity women in developing countries could change the world. Half of the world’s population today – over 3.5 million – is under 30, mostly living in developing countries. Their choices and opportunity defines the present and future of our world.  

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Source: Women Deliver

 

We want to make it work for every girl by giving them the opportunity to make a choice and decide freely for themselves whether or not they wish to become pregnant. Let’s transform their world and give them the opportunity to change ours!

This is where you can help, for every share of the hashtag #LifeChangingOptions, NaturalCycles’ will donate a condom to girls in the developing world. 

Please help us start this conversation and let’s see how many condoms we can donate!

Thanks

Yours naturally,

The NaturalCycles Team

xx

Sources:

  1. Westerners Don’t Appreciate how amazing contraception is – Available at: http://www.theguardian.com/global-development-professionals-network/2015/mar/23/westerners-dont-appreciate-how-amazing-contraception-is [Last accessed on 27 Aug, 2015]
  2. Westerners Don’t Appreciate how amazing contraception is – Available at: http://mariestopes.org/news/comment-westerners-dont-appreciate-how-amazing-contraception [Last accessed on 27 Aug, 2015]

Discover your Life Changing Day To Change Someone Else’s

To alleviate the barriers the developing world face to access contraception, Natural Cycles donates #LifeChangingOptions for every share of your ‘Life Changing Day’.

 

On the lead up to World Contraception Day on September 26th, a day that aims to improve awareness of contraception around a vision where every pregnancy is a planned one, Natural Cycles has released a unique test that allows participants to discover the happy day that changed their parent’s lives.

 

The fertility app, Natural Cycles, that finds a woman’s fertile and non-fertile days with 99.9% accuracy, shows that this ‘Life Changing Day’ is on average 15 days after conception, around the time a woman’s next period is due. To calculate yours and to find out how many other Swedes share the same day as you visit lifechangingday.se.

 

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The company ask participants to share their Life Changing Day to celebrate the special moment that united their parents all those years ago, that also represents choice. With every share alongside the hashtag #LifeChangingOptions each participant will be giving a girl in the developing world the opportunity to take control over her life and future.

 

“With a shelf full of options, women in our modern society have the chance to decide whether or not they wish to get pregnant” says Elina Berglund, Co-Founder & CTO, Natural Cycles, “However, 225 million young women in the developing world face barriers to fully realising their own reproductive rights. We want to change this.”

 

The #LifeChangingOptions campaign also aims to lift some of the barriers found here in Sweden by highlighting the importance of using our own reproductive rights.

 

A survey conducted by Natural Cycles asked 1000 Swedish men and women basic questions about reproduction and contraception that the company considers necessary to prevent pregnancies effectively. The survey results show Sweden’s understanding was better than the UK and USA but overall lacking, with only 54 percent of all questions answered correctly.

 

Furthermore, 42 percent of Swedish women on the pill do not know how the method works and 84 percent of these women say they would prefer to use a natural method of contraception.

“These statistics are a clear sign that even as a developed country we still have a lot of work to do.” says Elina, “NaturalCycles #LifeChangingOptions campaign wants to raise awareness around taking contraception and helping women to carefully consider their options so they find a method most suited to them.”  

 

NaturalCycles – The Women’s Choice

NaturalCycles is an app made for women by women. The core reason for founding the app was to satisfy women’s unmet needs and giving them the power of choice again, where hormonal contraception no longer has to be the default.

Everyday we get thanks from Cycler’s for helping them in one way or another which makes us even more committed to providing the best service possible to transform women’s lives. In this blog post, we share some quotes from Cyclers who have appreciated our services and put a smile on our faces.

NaturalCycles prides itself on being the most scientific and accurate app available. With a clinical study under our belts and another first-of-it’s kind study on it’s way we can ensure that every woman receives a statistically accurate representation of her cycle based on the data she enters so she can track her fertility and plan pregnancies effectively.

Katie, 30 “This is literally the only fertility awareness program I’m willing to use because it’s based on statistics and not “eh, you’re probably alright!”

A focus on improving female body awareness. Since the arrival of the pill in the 1960s women have become accustomed to not having to do anything themselves, which has left a huge gap in their basic knowledge about fertility and their menstrual cycles.  Our 24/7 support service offers women the information they need to feel empowered and control their fertility naturally. And let’s not forget Ask Tibi, our recently launched virtual assistant which offers women the ability to search for a large range of guidance.

Jenny, 31 “Thank you very much for your good answers, it makes me understand everything a little better. It is always nice to be in contact with you and get your really informative answers. I wish all health providers were so easily accessible and helpful!”

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Offer important insights into your reproductive health.

 

Your menstrual cycle characteristics can help you understand your fertile potential, help you diagnose conditions that may be affecting it and start more relevant discussions with your doctor.

For instance, if you’re not getting a rise in basal body temperature you are likely experiencing an anovulatory cycle (not ovulating). This could be an indication of a hormone imbalance that could be rooted to an endocrine disorder, such as Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), which is a common cause of infertility.

Sara, 27 “I am very grateful that I started using NaturalCycles. If I had not taken the chance to start using it and stopped the pill, I probably would not have tracked my periods and realised how far apart they were and my hormonal irregularities would not have been caught by my doctor who diagnosed me with PCOS. I could have gone years without knowing of this diagnosis!”

NaturalCycles can be used over your whole reproductive lifetime. From tracking your period and getting to know your cycles, to tracking your fertility or achieve pregnancy and even monitoring the health and development of your unborn child – the app can do it all!

Elina herself is perhaps the app’s biggest success story, having used it to track her fertility for 18 months before deciding to try for a baby, she got pregnancy on her first ovulation.

Elina, 31 “When you want to get pregnant, the data accumulated during the time spent on using the app for tracking your fertility can be used to pinpoint your most fertile days.”

We are constantly building and improving the app to reflect women’s needs so please get in touch if there is anything you want to see more of.

Yours naturally,

The NaturalCycles Team

xx

Get Pregnant the Swedish Way!

Rumour has it that Swedes are friskier than ever during Midsummer and so we decided to put it to the test.

More Swedes are born on March 22nd than on any other one day, and as it turns out, our one million days of data matches up.

Swedish users had less intercourse in June on average than they did in May – but the weekend of Midsummer was a clear exception, with a clear rise in sex and a 25 percent increase in the number of pregnancies that weekend.

The Viking celebratory spirit lives on!
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NaturalCycles is an app which you can use helps women to plan and monitor their pregnancies.

There are 2-3 days per cycle when a woman has the highest chances of conceiving, which land just before ovulation day. By analysing a woman’s basal body temperature (BBT) readings and Luteinizing Hormone (LH) levels (optional) the NaturalCycles algorithm can find ovulation day and the days she is most likely to get pregnant to increase her chances of conception.

However, the app is more than a fertility tracker as it can also detect when a user has become pregnant as well as monitor the health of a fetus in the first trimester.

NaturalCycles automated features can detect early signs of miscarriage. The app recently saved a pregnancy by notifying a woman to seek medical advice after detecting insufficient progesterone levels (indicated by low temperatures) that weren’t enough to support pregnancy in her first trimester.

The app has now helped 2000 Swedish women get pregnant, taking on average just three months to get pregnant compared to the average six months when you try without (Ref: 1).

 

Reference:

1. Hum. Reprod. (2003) 18 (9):1959-1966