This startup is using AI to help women in their journey to motherhood

Mind and Mom is helping mothers who seek guidance throughout their journey of pregnancy. It provides a baby growth tracker, wellness studio, customised diet plan, access to fertility centres, and more, and has helped over two lakh women till now.

This startup is using AI to help women in their journey to motherhood

Thursday December 07, 2023,

8 min Read

As a product manager at Change Healthcare, a Nashville-based healthcare company, Padmini Janaki was working on a project where she had to talk to pregnant teens in the US. This was to learn more about the kind of products they required in their motherhood journey. While talking to them, she realised a significant lack of awareness among girls about pregnancy and the needs of their own during this crucial time.

“I talked to girls in their teens who were pregnant and wanted to raise the child by themselves. But my question was–are they aware of what they are agreeing to or what could be the consequences of this on their mental and physical health?” she recalls.

After arriving in India in 2020, the idea that women in a developed country like the US might not be fully aware of their bodies lingered in Janaki’s thoughts. This made her curious about women’s awareness about their health in India.

During the same year, while interviewing Indian women for her book ‘Myths and Millennials’, she found a common problem–the decision to get pregnant is not a choice for most women in India.

“Though times are changing now, the decision of having a child is not solely a woman’s choice,” she says.

“Women should have complete awareness of their emotional and physical readiness for the journey into motherhood. Moreover, I believe women deserve access to authentic information, sparing them the same challenges I faced,” she adds.

To help women make well-informed decision about venturing onto their motherhood journey and supporting them from start to end of their pregnancy, she started Mind and Mom in 2021.

The Chennai-based startup provides mothers with the necessary guidance throughout their journey of pregnancy. It offers features like a fertility tracker, baby growth tracker, wellness studio, customised diet plans, and more. It provides access to fertility centres for couples as well.

“Mind and Mom helps women to make well-informed decisions before and after their pregnancies, and own their fertility journey,” she tells HerStory.

Venturing into healthcare

M and M

Padmini Janaki (on the left)

Born in Madras, Janaki always thought that her mother’s health problems were a consequence of poverty. Growing up, she observed many other women who looked malnourished and were not taking care of their health.

“I figured that women’s health is under-served worldwide. Rich or poor, Indian or American, every woman is going through a different health issue, and not many are worried about it. They have normalised being unhealthy and not taking enough care of their health,” she says.

Right from childhood, Janaki wanted to bring about a change and support women’s health in some way. But she did not know the way through.

After completing BSc in Visual Communication from Ethiraj College, she did a certificate course in User Experience from Human Factor International and UX Mint. She also worked as a senior product manager at PayPal.

“Deep down I always wanted to work in the healthcare sector. After working for PayPal for some time, I got the opportunity to work in a healthcare company and I grabbed it,” she says.

Supporting motherhood journey

Mind and Mom offers health plans for women who want to be mothers and for pregnant women as well. It has a 30, 60, and 90-day plan, which includes physical activities and lifestyle changes curated by AI. There are sessions on mindfulness, nutrition, and more available on the app.

The startup also has an AI-powered chatbot Mimo, which can help in tracking the ovulation phase or period cycle and more. This chatbot is available in Tamil and English over WhatsApp.

“The chatbot can be used by people who might not want to use the app as it is also available in regional language,” she adds.

The startup's basic health plans are being provided by AI. Janaki explains that by providing essential information to the app, it can offer suggestions for suitable exercises and recommend appropriate nutritional needs according to the individual.

The app also has a fertility calculator where women can track their fertility based on which they can decide if they should try for a baby naturally or go to a fertility centre. Additionally, the startup provides pregnant women with a labour pain calculator which can help identify when they are in labour pain and need to see an expert. Through the app, one can also get information about the tests they need to undertake at different stages of their pregnancy.

All these AI-generated plans and calculators are free to use. However, one need to pay to get a customised plan made by an expert. The team also connects women to gynecologists for further advice, if needed.

“AI is being used to suggest basic exercise and nutrition plans. It is not replacing the need for an expert, but it is acting as an enabler,” she adds.

If needed, the startup also connects women to IVF clinics near their location. These clinics are selected based on their success rate and workflow. The startup connects women to a reproductive health specialist, and after the tests and scans, a treatment plan is formulated by the specialist.

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“There has been a tremendous increase in the number of fertility clinics as a lot of people are going for IVF treatment. Our understanding is that not everyone has to go to an IVF clinic to get pregnant. Simple lifestyle changes can also be helpful in some cases,” she explains.

However, she adds, “At Mind and Mom, our focus is to guide women from the moment they decide to start a family, whether it is through IVF or natural means.”

The startup has a network of 10 doctors and 22 clinics across Tamil Nadu, Bengaluru, and Hyderabad, and the app has over two lakh users till date.

“So far, the success rate for IVF cases has been 1 in 3,” she shares.

Business model

The startup, with a team of fourteen employees, offers its service to IVF centers and clinics as well. This B2B channel was initiated in January 2023. In this model, clinics and doctors join the platform where they can utilise the app to treat patients. The startup also helps these clinics to scale by building their brand and promoting them within Mind and Mom and outside as well. For this, the clinics and doctors pay a monthly subscription fee ranging from Rs 10,000 to one lakh, depending on the services availed.

Additionally, the company generates income via its B2C channel, offering paid plans priced between Rs 6,000 to Rs 8,000 for the patients. For 90 days, they get one doctor visit per week. In case they want a nutritionist or a therapist, then the price increases to Rs 8,000.

Mind and Mom

Padmini Janaki (on the extreme right) with the doctors using Mind and Mom

So far, the startup has raised a pre-seed round of Rs 3.5 crore from a group of hospitals, and is expecting to raise another round in January next year.

“Since 2022, the company’s revenue has grown by 55%,” says Janaki.

It also won a Rs 10 lakh grant as part of StartupTN’s second edition of their flagship initiative ‘TANSEED 2021’.

It currently competes with companies like Indira IVF in the fertility segment.

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Challenges

Janaki says she has not faced many challenges being a woman entrepreneur. However, she recalls that while venturing into the fertility segment, she did face certain roadblocks initially.

“Most situations that women are going through are the same as men are experiencing. As entrepreneurs, life is quite difficult; however, this is what we signed up for,” she says.

She recalls, “While I was pitching the idea, a lot of people were skeptical if it was this big an issue. However, as the problem of infertility is rising, people are understanding the concept and the need to give fertility specific attention.”

The startup, which started with 10,000 customers in the first year, has now having over two lakh customers.

Janaki says that her mother has been her source of strength in her entrepreneurial journey. “She worked all day to afford my education. As a kid, I felt bad for not having a ‘proper family’ as divorce wasn’t a common word in South India, especially during those times. However, as I grew up, I could see and value her efforts more,” she says.

Janaki believes that ups and downs are inevitable in the business world but one needs to hold their ground throughout their journey.

Talking about the future, Janaki says her focus has always been on the number of women she is impacting and she wishes to reach out to more in the future.

“We took baby steps and started in Chennai, but now we are catering to South India. So, the next thing is to go national and impact more women through our startup,” she adds.