Elina Berglund Scherwitzl
Co-founder and CTO of Natural Cycles, Sweden

Q: What inspires you?

A: All the powerful and wonderful women in the world. It is a great privilege to work with something every day that affects women’s lives.

From particles to pregnancy planning

I am originally a particle physicist, and maybe still am at heart. After discovering the Higgs boson, I quit my job and switched fields to women’s reproductive health to develop the smart algorithm behind Natural Cycles – a company I co-founded together with my husband.

We started the company due to our own needs. We were looking for a safe and user friendly natural birth control, and there wasn’t one on the market. By analyzing women’s body temperatures, the Natural Cycles mobile app identifies fertile days for the purposes of both preventing and planning pregnancy. In the beginning, I was excited and terrified at the same time. I think there is almost nothing more incredible and fun than creating your own business and product from scratch and revealing it to the world. A big challenge for me as a founder was to accept that at some point you have to delegate responsibility to others and give up some control. To grow a business means that you will not be able to do everything yourself; you have to allow other people to work for you, even if they approach things differently.

Elina Berglund Scherwitzl, 32, is a particle physicist who worked for six years at the CERN laboratory in Switzerland. She was one of the leading researchers who discovered the Higgs boson, which led to a Nobel Prize in physics in 2013. Today she is the co-founder of Natural Cycles, a natural birth control app. She won multiple awards for her work, including Woman in Tech 2015. In February 2016, Elina was named one of the most powerful businesswomen in Sweden.

naturalcycles.com

This article was published in ‘the Hundert Vol. 8 – Female Startup Founders Europe’, May 2016.