These women-led startups and platforms are ensuring Indian women stay on top of their health goals
A lot of women’s health issues and needs are now being met through entrepreneurship. Besides the need to attend to a section of the population’s well-being, addressing numerous health issues of women can lead to economic gain for the country, according to the National Health Portal of India.
Conditions like PCOS and PCOD can be controlled and reversed by changing lifestyles have only recently received mainstream attention. According to the PCOS Awareness Association, about 10 million women are affected by PCOS, and half are not aware of it.
Several startups are innovating in the field of women’s health, lifestyle, and wellness. Here are four women-led startups and resources that are helping women take care of themselves.
Shashwatha and Shobhitha
Shobhita Narain saw the challenges and confusion most women with PCOS face when she was diagnosed with PCOS a few years ago. In 2020, she teamed up with her sister Shashwatha to start Veera Health. This wellness startup provides evidence-based treatment and lifestyle coaching from gynecologists, nutritionists, and mental health therapists specialised in PCOS.
With more than 10,000 women benefiting from the startup’s education and services, it aims to impact 110 million women in India living with PCOS.
In July this year, the startup raised $3 million in a funding round co-led by Sequoia Capital India’s Surge and Global Founders Capital, with Y Combinator, Cloudnine Hospital’s co-founder Rohit MA, Tinder India Head Taru Kapoor and other angels.
Mumbai-based Aara Health is a women-centric healthtech company focused on building, creating, and providing scientifically backed healthcare products and services to women. Founders Ahilya Mehta, Mallika Sahney, Pragya Saboo, and Navya Nanda believe that there is opportunity in women-focused healthcare space in India as women continue to put their health on the backburner.
Their shared experiences of stigma and taboo surrounding feminine health despite hailing from privileged backgrounds set the four on a journey to simplify health for women.
As a digital-first platform, Aara Health works closely with doctors and healthcare experts to develop medically verified content for women between 15 and 65. The startup works with over 140 experts and institutions, including the Cleveland Clinic, Imperial College, London, and doctors from Ohio and Abu Dhabi. Their other focus is building community, and meetups are organised via WhatsApp, Telegram, or Zoom. It has also set up an ecommerce platform for nutraceuticals and general supplements.
An established venture capitalist with Beyond Capital, Mehak Malik, took to entrepreneurship when she saw Indian women having a hard time finding the right gynaecologist.
Based in Bengaluru, her startupseeks to change the trust, accountability, and consistent experience in reproductive health services. In November 2020, it launched a science-backed approach to help manage Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS), a condition that affects one in five women in India.
The online platform works with a team of gynaecologists, nutritionists, and fitness experts to build a customised treatment pathway targeting women between ages 18 and 35. They can avail of three-month and six-month subscription plans for PCOS wellness priced between Rs 1,700 and Rs 2,000 per month.
Having reached over 3000 women in four months, the entrepreneur is now focused on building a solid community of women.
Two broke girls with PCOS
Teresa Babon and Namrata George were diagnosed with PCOS after three months of missed periods and persistent lower abdominal pain. Noting that PCOS symptoms and experiences vary from person to person, the duo began documenting their journey by running an Instagram account, ‘Two Broke Girls with PCOS.’ It features ‘light, funny, and relatable content that can also help others with PCOS lead healthier lifestyles.
This includes tried and tested lifestyle changes, workout routines, home remedies for symptoms like acne, nutrition, healthy food recipes, and information about how to manage different symptoms of PCOS.