By @SimonCocking

This is a great story we heard of as part of the recent #accidentalspambuddies episode. It’s great to see something come out of last year’s DCU / PCH Hardware Hackathons and continue to grow and develop beyond just an idea. More here: @aydahealth.

Your background?

I turned 24 on the 9th of March. From Enniscrone, Co. Sligo. Graduated Electrical Engineering in UCC in Cork with first class honors in 2013. Began a masters in Biomedical Engineering research in UCC in September 2013. Started my first business, Smudge Hardware at the same time as the masters (but unrelated).

Smudge was a hardware product development and rapid prototyping business. We were in operation for 14 months in Cork city before I met my co-founder Aoife Crowley 5 months ago at the PCH hardware hackathon. We ended up merging Aoife’s design company, Wishbone Studios, with Smudge to from our current venture Ayda.

Why did you move to Silicon Valley’?  Did you move to scale it, or was it for choice / lifestyle also?

The five of us (James Foody (CEO), Ian Kerins (Operations), Aoife Crowley (Head of design), Josef Tugwell (Product Architect) and Kilian O’Donoghue (Lead Engineer) moved to Silicon Valley 4 weeks ago. We moved because we were accepted to the PCH Highway1 hardware start-up accelerator program here. We received 75k investment from PCH (25k in services, 50k in cash) for a small equity % of our business.

The focus of the Highway1 program is design for manufacture and assembly, so the program is perfect for us as it will help us bring our product to a state ready for mass production.

How are you finding it? As you expected or different?

As a young aspiring entrepreneur, Silicon Valley is a dream world (bar the price of rent). We absolutely love it here, weather is perfect and there is so much opportunity for guys like us.

Why Ayda?

Ayda (eh-dah) is named after Ada Lovelace, the first ever author of a computer algorithm.

Are you part of any Enterprise Ireland initiative / what stage is the product at?

We are really keen to engage with Enterprise Ireland. So far we have benefited massively from their innovation voucher program, all the Irish start ups we have met here sing their praises.

We have the third revision of our prototype and are currently preparing for a field trial with 20 women in both Ireland and the US.

Tell us briefly why the product is awesome, and why it will work?

Ayda is a wearable fertility tracker for women. Worn only at night, Ayda enables women to identify their most fertile days over the course of the month so they can effortlessly maximize their chances of conceiving.

Ayda is going to work because it is based on the 85+ year old fertility technique of basal body temperature tracking. Women in developed countries all over the world are choosing to have children later in life, and with an increase in age comes a drop in fertility. There is where Ayda adds value, empowering women and couples struggling to conceive by providing their unique menstrual cycle data.

How was 2015? Anything you’d do differently?

2015 was pretty insane for us. We moved our entire lives to the other side of the world to begin building this company, passed through two accelerator programs and raised $700,000. We still have not achieved anything, but it was great progress for us.

I wouldn’t do anything differently. We made a lot of mistakes, but we are all just animals at the end of the. I believe that vulnerability towards making mistake is required to grow.

Plans for 2016?

Continue to refine our technology and begin some larger scale testing.

How do you trial something like this?

We have done a small private beta trial already. It’s quite simple, we get participants to wear our device each night for a month and reference our data against existing techniques.

We love the idea, it could be a real winner. What sort of disclaimer of accuracy will you have to cover user error?

We can’t give a disclaimer of accuracy re pregnancy rates. Every woman is completely different and sometimes the fertility issue might be with her partner or something structural that intercourse timing can not help.

What else should have asked you?>

Our team! they are phenomenally talented and dedicated enough to leave their entire lives behind in Ireland to come over here and make this happen ?


If you would like to have your company featured in the Irish Tech News Business Showcase, get in contact with us at [email protected] or on Twitter: @SimonCocking

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