Since I founded Clue over four years ago, I’ve heard the same question.
“How do you plan to make money?”
For most of that time, I’ve replied by saying that we are focused on growth, not making money. Our goal has been—and remains—to get Clue into the hands of everyone who needs it. We want to be the number one resource for female health worldwide.
That’s why we have taken on venture capital from funds and people we trust, like Nokia Growth Partners, Union Square Ventures, Mosaic Ventures and many more. We chose to take investment—$30 million to date—from people who share our vision of a world where menstruation and reproductive health aren’t taboo topics, but an accepted and essential part of life.
These investments helped us hire a strong team of software developers, designers, marketers, and other talented people to make the Clue app better, more insightful, and more valuable to our users. We’ve expanded to 15 languages, and we’ve added many useful features to help you understand how your menstrual cycle is connected to your overall health.
Of course, many times in the last few years, my co-founders and I have talked about how we will make Clue profitable. In fact, I’ve been thinking about it since we founded the company! We’ve had many ideas. We always knew that we wanted to be a for-profit company, because we believe we will have a bigger global impact than as a nonprofit. But our advisors—and our instincts—told us to wait for the right moment.
Now, that time is here.
Transparency is something we value highly at Clue. It’s why I have written so openly about what we do with our user data. This is why I want to explain fully what I mean when I talk about monetization.
It’s very important to note that we are in an experimental phase. We are testing lots of things—remember how I said we have lots of ideas?—because we don’t know yet what will make the most sense for us and our users. I’d like to ask your patience while we try some things out.
If something doesn’t sit well with you, or if you particularly like the way we’re approaching this, let us know—your feedback will be a critical part of the process. Just in the way we have always tested and built new parts of the Clue app, we want to listen to you, our users, to know what works for you.
I promise you all our experiments will be thoughtful and practical. We’ll make every effort to always keep the user at the center.
Some things you might see as we experiment:
- Certain Clue features will be part of a “pro version” or “Clue membership”, where you pay a monthly fee to receive access to new features while also supporting our company and vision. Existing features in the app will remain free.
- Sponsored content in our newsletter or app (for example, a guest post or advertisement from a brand like Nurx, which provides online access to birth control prescriptions.)
- Partnerships with companies who share our values of contributing to the future of health research (for example, we are testing an integration with the OURA ring to improve our data collection, and offering Clue users a discount on purchasing a ring.)
- Non-intrusive advertisements within the Clue app that you have the option to remove with a paid subscription. An ad network like Facebook or Google might be used to display these ads. These networks track your browsing history to show you ads based on your interests. You can learn about opting out of these networks here.
- The launch of an online store where you can buy Clue merchandise.
We will never sell our users’ personal information. That means your name, your email address, or other identifying information. We value your trust and we know that your personal health information is extremely private. You can read more about that here.
We are also introducing a new Terms of Service agreement that allows us to move safely towards this new phase of development. But don’t worry, our values won’t change. We won’t partner with a company that goes against our values of making our users’ lives better and providing them with insights into their health.
Our goal is to find the sweet spot where we can continue to grow and bring Clue to everyone in the world, while still running a self-sustaining business that isn’t reliant on outside investment. I believe that’s possible, and I’m looking forward to seeing what we’ll learn in the coming months.
If you have any feedback, I would love to hear it. You can reach me on Twitter @idatin.