A Cork start-up is aiming to be a global leader with its innovative wearable fertility tracker, writes Trish Dromey.
Boosted by an overall win at the 2015 Ireland’s Best Young Entrepreneur awards, Cork start-up Ayda is now making plans for a midsummer launch of an innovative new wearable fertility tracker.
“We have been the first to develop both an app and a wearable device which work together to accurately determine ovulation and make it easier for women to conceive faster, “says company chief executive and co-founder, James Foody.
Although there are a number of products in this space, Mr Foody says that Ayda’s technology is unique because it is “more user friendly and accurate than anything else on the market”. Set to cost less than €150, he believes it will also be less expensive.
The company has been in existence for just 10 months. Since then it has participated in both an accelerator and an incubator programme in the US, been identified by Enterprise Ireland as a High Potential Start Up and has raised over €500,000 in seed funding.
Now in Beta testing, Ayda plans to launch its app in June and to release the wearable device shortly afterwards. By this time Mr Foody expects to have initiated a €2m investment round to fund the launch and further development.
The founding of the company was sparked by an idea for a wearable fertility device idea that Mr Foody and another of the company’s founders had last year at a hardware hackathon event.
At the time he was involved in a hardware development company in Cork called Smudge Hardware which he and and four other electrical engineering graduates from UCC had established.
“We felt there was a need for a wearable device with an easy-to-use accompanying app that didn’t feel clinical or require a doctor to use.”
In February 2015, assisted by a €10,000 feasibility grant from the Local Enterprise Board in Cork City, they set up a new company and started working on the technology.
They subsequently identified the PCH International Highway accelerator programme in San Francisco as the best place to take their prototype.
During the programme, Ayda got Silicon Valley design company Ammunition to help finalise the product and app design.
Graduating from Highway in June, Ayda joined an incubator programme with French telecom giant Orange in September in San Francisco. This provided help with developing partnerships in distribution and getting the company primed to be market ready.
Mr Foody is now finalising discussions with a US company which is going to mass manufacture Ayda’s products under contract in China.
Winning the Ireland’s Best Young Entrepreneur title in December, Ayda collected a total of €70,000 in prize money and is now benefiting from the publicity.
“We have had a huge number of inquiries from people interested in buying the product, from clinicians interested in distributing it and from retail companies interested in selling it,’’ says Mr Foody.
The plan at present is to provide the app for free via the app store and to sell the wearable device on the Ayda website.
At present the company operates from both Cork and San Francisco.
Three engineers work at Ayda’s base in Glanmire while the other four, including Mr Foody, are based in San Francisco.
Although still an early start-up company, Ayda has ambitious plans to become the global leader in the fertility tracking market.
Location: Glanmire and San Francisco
Set up: February 2015
CEO: James Foody
Products: Fertility tracking app and wearable device
© Irish Examiner Ltd. All rights reserved