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Interview with Conceivable founder and CEO – Kirsten Karchmer

Interview with Conceivable founder and CEO – Kirsten Karchmer

The other day, we talked about new fertility program, Conceivable, and today we bring you the interview with the company’s founder and CEO – Kirsten Karchmer.

Kirsten has a 15-year-long clinical career, during which she ran one of the largest and most influential fertility wellness clinics in North America. Using her experience and by integrating the best research-backed strategies from conventional reproductive medicine, TCM, nutrition and behavior science, and mind body medicine – she created a systematic method for identifying the underlying factors that affect fertility. The Conceivable program was born, after being tested in over 7,000 clinical cases; the idea now is to bring it to many more women struggling to get and stay pregnant. Here’s what Kirsten had to say…

How do you pitch your company? What’s your elevator pitch?

Conceivable is the first technology-enabled, modern fertility program that radically increases a woman’s natural ability to get and stay pregnant. Our program — which combines proven fertility science developed over 15 years of clinical practice, proprietary herbal formulas, and a Virtual Health Advisor mobile application — helps women identify, understand, and address specific underlying health factors that may be limiting their natural fertility.

What sets you apart from competitors?

We are the first technology-enabled program that is specifically developed to address the underlying factors that contribute to diagnoses of infertility like endometriosis, PCOS, high FSH, or as is often the case, infertility that cannot be explained by medical specialists.

Our program combines proven fertility science from 15 years of clinical practice with 7,000+ clients, proprietary herbal formulas tailored to address specific conditions, and adaptive mobile application technology to help identify and address the often hidden health and menstrual cycle issues that can inhibit fertility. There are a number of menstrual factors like cycle length that can significantly impact a woman’s fertility. No matter how much you track these factors, they will not change on their own. Conceivable not only identifies these factors but creates customized programming to correct them.

For women facing these issues, there are very few viable options beyond in vitro fertilization (IVF), which is prohibitively expensive for most. Our program is meant to complement IVF for those who can afford it, and for those who can’t afford it, to be a viable standalone option for increasing one’s natural ability to get pregnant.

Some ask if we are competitors to fertility tracker applications like Glow or Kindara, and we are definitely not. Those applications are really designed to help fertile women identify the most fertile times in their cycle, so they can plan or avoid intercourse. We are focused on solving an entirely different problem for an entirely different segment of the market – women who have struggled to get pregnant, often over long periods of time.

What’s your business model?

We have a paid subscription-based model. The integrated Conceivable program, including a personalized monthly regimen of herbal formulas and unlimited access to our Virtual Health Advisor mobile application, costs $199 per month. In our clinical experience, while users will start to make progress in the first few weeks of using the program, they can expect to participate for approximately 6 months to see the full effects. Users can choose to subscribe on a month-to-month basis, or sign up for three-month packages at a discounted price.

Conceivable app

Can you share some numbers? How many users do you have?

The “offline” version of the program was developed and applied in clinical practice over the past 15+ years. We’ve implemented the program with over 7,000 couples in our clinic during that time. With Conceivable, we are simply enabling this proven clinical program with technology, so that its benefits can reach millions of women struggling with this issue.

We’ve been in private Beta for the past four months with a select group of fertility wellness clinics around the U.S. During that time, we had roughly 100 beta users who helped us optimize the program, and we’ve already seen three pregnancies, which is fantastic for that short period of time. We just launched the public direct-to-consumer version on April 2nd, and we anticipate our user numbers to grow dramatically with the public availability.

Where do you see the company going from here?

The initial program we’ve launched — focused on female infertility challenges — is just the beginning for us. We believe the approach we’ve implemented for the initial program can be successfully extended to address a wide number of health issues. For example, in terms of women’s health, we anticipate building tailored programs specifically for healthy pregnancy, miscarriage, PCOS, endometriosis, menopause and others. We believe our approach can make a dramatic impact on male infertility challenges as well, and I believe you’ll see us offering programs in this area next year. Farther down the road, we believe that our algorithms and integrative approach can be evolved and extended to create programs for diabetes and heart disease.

Where do you see the mHealth industry going?

Much of the mHealth industry to date has been focused on the Quantified Self, allowing individuals to efficiently capture and track an immense amount of data about their personal health. It’s become common for individuals to record and monitor information about their exercise, diet, body measurements, vital signs, and ovulation. We believe that the second major wave of mHealth will be focused on doing things in response to that data. What I mean is that the next generation of mHealth applications will interpret that data and provide highly efficacious and actionable interventions that improve the end user’s condition.

The fertility industry is a great example. There are roughly 500 period planners and ovulation tracking apps like Glow and Kindara in the market right now. These apps do a great job of helping women who are fertile to track their BBT and cervical discharge, to pinpoint the most fertile times in their cycle and plan the best time for intercourse.

We believe Conceivable is the first Wave 2 mHealth program in our space, because we are focused on improving the natural fertility of women who have struggled to become pregnant – and in many cases have been diagnosed with conditions like endometriosis, PCOS, high FSH and so on. With technology, we allow them to capture a wide variety of menstrual and fertility health data, but we’re taking that data and responding with personalized wellness tips, specific health interventions, and a customized herbal program tailored to address the underlying issues we’re observing. That’s the future.

How long are we from seeing modern mHealth technologies going mainstream?

I would argue that many of the Wave 1 mHealth technologies are mainstream. It seems as if everyone I know is tracking something. I think the key question is “When will we see modern mHealth technologies actually impacting health outcomes?” The answer to that lies in the effectiveness of Wave 2 programs. Are they making a tangible difference? Once they do, then insurance companies will begin to subsidize them, because they realize that there is huge cost savings in delivering health interventions this way. This is particularly true for integrative wellness approaches, which may initially be focused on a specific health issue like infertility, end up making the end user much healthier overall. Once that shift happens, both the insurance payors and consumers will demand more integrated interventions that only technology can affordably provide.

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NEW: DHbriefs offers series of research briefs covering specific digital health market niches. Click here for more information.