Why this IIT grad and Harvard dropout decided to start up in the femtech space
Proactive For Her is a full-stack service approach focusing on women’s out patient concerns across life stages. The solutions are clinically backed, and the team provides customers a choice of multiple plans that suit their needs.
In her previous stints working with Fortune 500 healthcare companies and healthcare startups, Achitha Jacob noticed one thing- even with gender-neutral issues such as kidney diseases and dialysis, women tend to de-prioritise their health to save for their family instead.
“This type of behaviour exists across the board, and that is something I observed even while I was studying at Harvard Business School. The stigma attached with women’s menstrual, sexual and reproductive health issues, coupled with inaccessibility to non-judgemental support, have long prevented many women from addressing their healthcare needs,” says Achitha.
Achitha is an IIT Bombay graduate who joined Harvard Business School only to dropout later to launch a femtech startup.
She believes there is hyper focus towards PCOS in the market currently, which led her to start, a digital health platform that recognises the pressing need for a full-stack and holistic approach when it comes to women’s healthcare.
Women across India hesitate to seek medical help due to a multitude of reasons. For some, it is the absence of a trusted care provider, but for many, it is the uneasy and judgmental questions on marital status and pre-marital sex. From puberty to menopause, women are exposed to any number of health risks during their lifetime.
“We are a Bengaluru-based startup that offers judgment-free, confidential, and personalised healthcare solutions for women's sexual and reproductive health. We are backed by a team of medical experts who undergo stringent auditing and training processes,” says Achitha.
What does the platform do?
Proactive For Her follows a full-stack service approach focusing on women’s out-patient concerns across life stages. The solutions are clinically backed, and the team provides customers a choice of multiple plans that suit their needs.
Achitha says their efforts have been directed towards promoting a lifestyle which encourages women to prioritise their own health and take active steps towards their overall wellbeing in the longer run, as opposed to finding quick solutions when faced with a feminine medical problem.
Proactive for Her has three key products - teleconsultations, diagnostics, and long-term programmes. The team adds they charge competitive rates offering the best-in-class consultations for as low as Rs.500, which helps set them apart from other market offerings.
The platform offers digital health clinics, health coaching by handpicked experts, curated diagnostic panels and long-term support programmes.
“Through digital health clinics, we offer ‘solution-specific’ support wherein women can consult an array of specialists pertaining to their area(s) of concern such as sexual health, hair and skincare concerns, PCOS, weight management and menstrual health,” adds Achitha.
For example, a woman with PCOS can speak with a gynaecologist, endocrinologist, dermatologist, mental health expert and a nutritionist to be able to effectively address different facets of her health.
Lastly, Proactive For Her offers diagnostic panels through National Accreditation Board for Testing and Calibration Laboratories (NABL) accredited laboratories, where patients can opt for any test prescribed by a doctor. Additionally, the startup also provides pre and post testing support through identifying and curating panels, report reading and analysis, and charting next steps and treatment plans.
Proactive For Her has an in-house team of over 10 doctors and clinicians across specialisations such as gynaecology, endocrinology, dermatology, pathology, psychiatry, psychotherapy, nutrition, and fitness.
“Our specialists commit hours of their time, lead product development and help build awareness through patient education activities such as social media outreach and webinars. They have a cumulative experience of over 150 years, with 16 years of global healthcare experience. Unlike some of the physician discovery platforms in the market, we commit to and ensure quality care and a positive customer experience. All of our medical practitioners embody broad-minded values such as being queer-affirmative, sex-positive, and have a patient-centric approach towards medical consultation,” adds Achitha.
According to her, the biggest roadblock has been lack of awareness and sex education in our country.
To resolve this, the team directed a lot of efforts towards patient education from running social media activations such as campaigns with community leaders, expert-authored content pieces, and online workshops that can enable informed decision-making.
“We bridge this gap through our solution-specific digital health clinics, health coaching by handpicked experts, curated diagnostic panels and long-term support programmes across various areas of concerns,” says Achitha.
Building the network
In order to help women get over initial hesitancy, each of these clinics also has a doctor and expert-led communities on chat platform Telegram, with over 4000 members, where women can have all their basic queries addressed and find emotional support by interacting with other women facing similar problems.
The business model currently is an aggregation of D2C offerings and B2B partnerships. Proactive For Her’s exclusive network of medical specialists and clinicians can be accessed directly by registering on their website.
"We have also partnered with over 25 of India’s biggest companies including many Fortune 500 companies. We organise webinars for the female employees of these companies to educate them about pressing feminine health concerns. We also offer Health Coaching in the form of 1:1 coaching programmes to help employees improve their wellness and achieve their target health goals like improving sleep, better nutrition, stress management, and more,” says Achitha.
Healthcare as a sector is growing rapidly. Some of the healthcare companies doing well include Pharmeasy, 1MG, and Practo, to name a few, and there is also Veera Health, that is focussed on women’s wellness. Startups like Oziva make plant-based supplements. There is also Hyderabad-based Hera in the space.
Proactive for Her has raised $1.2 million in seed funding led by Nexus Venture Partners with participation from Enzia Ventures.
“We are working towards building a culture around feminine healthcare by raising awareness about the subject and by offering easily accessible quality services. Our long-term goal is to encourage women across the nation to ‘proactively’ invest in their health and their overall wellbeing by prioritising their health-specific needs. We aim to be the preferred brand for all women’s health concerns. We are focusing on increasing our digital presence and piloting an offline setup. We are also planning to launch home-testing kits for UTI self-assessment very soon,” says Achitha.
Edited by Anju Narayanan