Hi Tempdrop Family,
3 months have passed since our previous update, and this is will be first time people who registered on our website receive a newsletter. Pre-orders are available on our website now :-). I wish to use this opportunity to elaborate on what we’ve been doing, and also to provide clarification on everything related to Tempdrop and its availability. Please forgive the length of this update as I wanted to share my excitement with you in full, and give those who are just joining us the whole story.
I’ve been on this journey for nearly two years now, from brainstorming to research to conceptualization. When I started telling my close family and friends about it, they always had positive things to say (as expected) so I started to approach wider circles of people. Back then, fertility apps were a niche segment within Health Apps, and I often heard “it’s nice, but who needs it?” or “you just buy those ovulation sticks and that’s it!” Yeah, right. Since then fertility apps have grown from 60 million downloads to over 160 million downloads today.
In order to start developing the technology for Tempdrop, I applied for an R&D grant from Israel’s office of the Chief Scientist. Believe me, it was not easy to convince the examiner that Tempdrop is not a “wireless thermometer”. I also needed to convince them that Tempdrop would allow couples to help themselves before they are stress-driven to seek expensive and sometimes risky fertility treatments (hormone-free avoidance was not seen as “critical”) and that mobile health apps would play an important role in healthcare.
My perseverance paid off, big time! The approved grant facilitated the development, production, and testing of the first Tempdrop prototypes, and led me to launch the Indiegogo campaign. The campaign allowed me to validate the market and to connect with early adopters, some trying to conceive and some trying to naturally avoid. The excitement shown for Tempdrop has been the driving force in everything we’ve done since. The campaign also attracted enough attention for me to recruit a multidisciplinary, multilingual and really really smart ;-) team, all of them willing to forego their monthly paycheck so that we could focus our resources where they were desperately needed. They believe, like me and you, that we can build the most advanced yet consumer-focused solution for fertility tracking.
So what have we done so far? Well, it may look the same, but the new Tempdrops are the real deal! Not only did we make the device slightly thinner, but we also made design modifications so that the battery could be replaceable (based on your input). The biggest improvement, however, is what’s inside. We essentially redesigned Tempdrop from the bottom up, resulting in a more accurate, reliable and smart technology in a slightly smaller package.
A word about technology
In today’s world of constant technological innovation, it’s easy to be excited by the endless possibilities. We spend hours every day staring at screens, whether it’s for work or to communicate with friends and strangers via the internet. Sometimes we forget to take a step back and focus on what’s right in front of us, to just share a quiet moment with our loved ones.
On the other hand, sometimes technology actually enables us to do just that. When my wife and I started using a fertility app (we're using OvuView) we were nothing short of AMAZED when we could visualize the periodic occurrences of symptoms every cycle. That was the first time in a while that technology made us feel more connected to ourselves. We understood that all we needed to do was listen – to slow things down and sync to the natural rhythm of a woman’s fertility cycle. It became quite musical.
Perhaps you’ve noticed some new smartphone-enabled devices that are due next year. Kindara’s Wink and Ovatemp’s ONDO are Bluetooth-enabled thermometers that sync wirelessly with their respective apps. When these devices were announced, our initial thought was “seriously?” As many of you pointed out on our Facebook page, they are just wireless thermometers. They don’t address the real issues with temping. You still have to wake up on schedule to measure what is really just an approximation of your BBT, and you can only use the devices with their affiliated app. A writer at Gizmodo similarly concluded “as excited as I wanted to be about the idea, I'm not sure this is the fertility tracking solution we need.”
Our goal from day one has been to make Tempdrop a comprehensive solution. Thus, we looked beyond wireless syncing. We want to offer peace of mind. We want our technology to be smart enough to find your true BBT when you’re sleeping. We want to make waking up early a thing of the past – for temping at least, please don’t get fired for being late to work ;-)
Essentially, we’ve focused on using technology to improve your lives in a meaningful way, not simply to give you something shiny to play with. We know you appreciate the distinction.
Out and about
In October I was invited to the US to participate in a two-week program at the business school of UCI (University of California, Irvine) hosting about 15 Medical device and Life Sciences executives and entrepreneurs from Israel to teach effective approaches in the conduct of business with and within the United States.
The program was amazingly informative and a lot of fun, but the true highlight of my trip was meeting Dr. Talithia Williams.
If you haven’t yet seen her TED talk, watch it NOW! Her inspiring, funny and heartwarming talk expressed exactly what I think Tempdrop is all about and what kept me going. Needless to say this was a very significant moment for me, and I hope to build upon our relationship in the future.
The production and assembly of the (new) Tempdrop test batch should conclude next month, followed by a series of in-lab and real-world tests and app-integration activities. If all goes well – and we’re doing our best to make sure that it does – the first batch of Tempdrops will begin shipping spring 2015.
As mentioned in our Indiegogo campaign, even though our overall fundraising goal was not reached, we are committed to making Tempdrop a reality. It helps to have an amazing team of people, but we’re running very lean. For start-ups, fundraising is a full-time job which, if not managed effectively, can really slow down other activities. We are working hard to secure the additional capital we need to speed things up sustainably and achieve our long-term vision for the company.
What can you do to help?
First, we want to thank you again for supporting us – spiritually and financially – and for promoting Tempdrop within your communities. Without you we would be nowhere. We would like to ask for your help with one more thing, which would be to complete our anonymous survey (maximum 5 minutes) by clicking on the link below:
Your feedback will help us understand what YOU want from Tempdrop, what we’re doing well, and what we can improve on. Thanks in advance!
Finally, if you personally know someone who might be interested in investing in Tempdrop, we would love to give them our pitch. We believe that our product is great and our approach is sound. We expect to create as much value for our shareholders as we do for our customers
Stay tuned for future updates.
Michael Vardi and The Tempdrop Team