Korean-based Looncup, a real-time smart menstrual cup monitor, has almost tripled its Kickstarter goal with $141,000 USD pledged of a $50,000 goal. The modified cup lets the user know when it’s time to clean and replace it, as well as calculating flow volume and potential health problems.
“When we first launched our product, there were many users that had negative thoughts on our product, asking: should menstrual cup really need to be smart?” said Hwang Ryong said in an interview with TechNode.
Hwang got the idea from his girlfriend, who complained that it was difficult to predict when the cups should be replaced. Currently menstrual cups are more efficient than alternative means because they are replaced less often and have a minimal environmental impact.
There are existing apps that can predict flow using photo images, however Hwang believes that poor lighting among other problems makes the apps less precise.
Aside from being able to check the fullness of the menstrual cup, Looncup also checks the color and its changes, and signals the user if it believes there are unhealthy changes. Its automatic recording system records patterns over long periods of time.
“Apart from the usefulness of our product, it is safe and eco-friendly,” Hwang said. The team embedded the smart sensor within the medical-grade silicone. Compared to disposable pads, the menstrual cup can be washed with soap or boiled in water to be reused for more than six months.
Currently, the Looncup app can be downloaded on Android, iPhone, and Apple Watch, and is currently available for $40 USD as part of the Kickstarter. The team says they will use the new funds to continue developing the cup, though the crowdfunding version will be available on their website immediately after the campaign ends.
Developers of Looncup, Loon Labs Inc. is a US C-corp with its sales and marketing office based in San Francisco, and developed and manufactured in R&D office in Seoul, Korea. The team consists of five women and three men, including former Samsung staffers.
The team received a $890,000 USD angel investment and is now preparing for a series A round. This reflects the changing nature of crowdfunding, as more startups seek to run campaigns following initial funding. “The smart menstrual cup is a new concept, and we were not sure how customers will react to it. Since the menstrual cup is a product which is not certain of its market demand, we decided to raise funding first, so that we can put our best effort into product prototyping.”
“I believe it will be cost-efficient for women in third world countries, since they cannot afford disposable pads,” Hwang added. “By proving the usefulness of a smart menstrual cup, we want to contribute to extending the market size.”
Hwang believes those who use tampons are more likely to adapt to a menstrual cup. Now more than 70% of women in Europe and the U.S. are using tampons though it’s still new concept for Chinese women. However, Huang believes the cost efficiency and convenience could make it viable in the Chinese market.
Image Credit: Looncup