OvaPal is a gadget that will offer women the chance to take control of their family planning in a natural way — a technological advantage that the company’s founder, Giovanna Scheidler, would have appreciated before she accidentally became pregnant with her second child.
“We used [natural family planning] successfully when we wanted to get pregnant with our first child. I knew what my body was doing, and it was an easy time,” she said. “After having my daughter … I couldn’t wake up and take my basal body temperature every morning — it was too hard with a newborn.”
The discovery of her second pregnancy — a pivotal moment for any mom — also became the jumping off point for the development of OvaPal, a wearable device that takes the basal body temperature of the user then analyzes the data before relaying it to the owner’s smartphone.
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Scheidler, along with co-founders Joshua Stephens (who is also OvaPal’s CTO) and David Podolsky (the company’s COO), initially resorted to bootstrapping the funding needed to get OvaPal off the ground. She also used $20,000 that she won at the San Diego Tech Coast Angels 2013 Quick Pitch competition.
Then, she began to forge a partnership with a San Diego-based wearable medical device company with an established portfolio in hardware development. (Scheidler declined to disclose the company’s name, as the partnership is still being formalized.) It was, as they say, a match made in Heaven.
“I lead the more qualitative side of things – branding, industrial design, marketing, business development – and they have the technology,” she explains.
With the device maker’s help, Scheidler is now pursuing two pathways for the OvaPal. One is a direct-to-consumer lifestyle product that can be bought off store shelves, which she is ready to test now. The other is a more clinical product that could help a woman optimize the odds of pregnancy, which would require more stringent monitoring by the Food and Drug Administration.
Partnering with a company that has the capability and means to make the physical product has opened doors for Scheidler, who experienced some difficulty dealing with investors in the early stages of OvaPal’s existence.
As her dream takes shape, Scheidler can take stock of what makes OvaPal — and her personal achievements — remarkable.
“What’s special about this is that it’s a woman’s product, and the company is run and driven by a woman,” she said. “It shows that you can be young, you can have children and a full-time job all at the same time, and it can still be done — it’s hard, but it’s possible.”
Why do you deserve to be on our Young Women to Watch list?
“If I can be a role model for my children, showing them how to work hard, being a loving mother and wife, and taking an idea from conception to production, then I can be a role model for many other young girls and women to follow their dreams and know that they can do it all.”