Posy cofounder Emily Ellis on the 'labor of love' that led to a new fertility app - Technical.ly DC

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Jan. 15, 2021 6:24 pm

Posy cofounder Emily Ellis on the ‘labor of love’ that led to a new fertility app

Ellis shares insights on building the tech product amid a full-time job and parenting. It's a look at startup as side hustle.
Posy Fertility cofounders Emily Ellis and Caitlin Nelson.

Posy Fertility cofounders Emily Ellis and Caitlin Nelson.

(Courtesy photo)

“Labor of love” means something more to the founders of a newly launched fertility app.

Posy Fertility has a mission to connect people to resources to guide their pregnancy efforts, including a forum for discussion, an appointment tracker, a health and medical history log and a resource library. Users can access the app for $4.99 per month or $49.99 per year.

“There are countless apps available for women trying to conceive naturally, and many more once you are pregnant. Unfortunately, a growing number of women are stuck in limbo between these stages,” cofounder Emily Ellis told Technical.ly. “Posy fills this gray space with a one-stop-shop to remove the isolation, stress and confusion wherever possible.”

Ellis and cofounder Caitlin Nelson, former colleagues at D.C.-based digital media company SocialCode (now Code3), have experience with that gray space: They came up with the idea and began building the startup while each were undergoing their own fertility treatments about two years ago.

Posy’s discussion forum. (Courtesy image)

They’ve brought Posy from idea to app while retaining their full-time jobs for other companies. Ellis, for instance, is also the local market operations leader for Lyft — a role she plans to keep while growing Posy, which she calls her side hustle.

“I am a major morning person, and our developer is based in Turkey so work on the app would take place on weekends, in early hours or over lunch and coffee dates,” Ellis said. A social media and design director supports, too. “I am also extremely lucky to have a supportive spouse and colleagues.”

So far, the app has been completely bootstrapped. But plenty of folks in the cofounders’ network have contributed along the way.

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“We felt it was important to maintain control where we could, for as long as possible,” Ellis said. “But that also means we called in a LOT of favors to friends and industry experts who have been very generous with their time along the way.”

What can her startup journey teach other founders?

Of course, “passion and personal connection to an idea” are essential for motivation, she said — “especially true when you add a job and a toddler to the mix.”

They’ve also found uplift in the work of building a product: seeking out customers, getting their feedback and incorporating it.

“Caitlin and I get so excited every time we tell someone about Posy — and when they ‘get it’ — that is what fuels us,” she said. “While we’ve been lucky to have gotten such positive feedback and encouragement along the way, we found that the product resonated so much more with women, or men who had personally been impacted by fertility challenges. It taught us a lot about how to identify the ideal audience for a product or pitch.”

This process and its learnings have propelled the app to launch. Entrepreneurship books might outline ideal timelines, but so often new companies are the result not just of checked boxes, but a drive to get to the right product.

“This app has truly been a labor of love for two-plus years,” Ellis said, “but we were determined to channel our frustrations into the creation of something great.”

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