A Femtech That's Busting Myths By Supporting Women At All Stages

Sirona Hygiene provides services, including period tracker, fertility tracking and solutions, menstruation products, prenatal and postnatal care, reproduction healthcare products, and more

learn more about Prabhjeet Bhatla

By Prabhjeet Bhatla

Sirona Hygiene

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Femtech—which first came to light in 2016—refers to technological software and applications that focus on providing services and products pertaining to women's health.

Femtech gigs such as Sirona Hygiene (originally known as First Step Digital) are answerable for a genuine blast in inventive solutions for medical issues related to women. This company provides services, including period tracker, fertility tracking and solutions, menstruation products, prenatal and postnatal care, reproduction healthcare products, and more.

This femtech company has faced an intimidating challenge while busting the age-old beliefs and customs related to menstruation, fertility, and women's diseases and emerged victorious in its venture.

It has grown to become one of the hottest startups out there in India.

Until very recently, discussions around women health's issues (both mental and physical) have been surrounded by social stigma and misinformation. However, with the rise of this startup focused on both solving and normalizing female health issues, it seems that the tables have finally turned. Interest in the topic has, in fact, spiked among the public, and venture capitalists and marketing strategies have consequently become bolder.

Five years ago the word femtech didn't even exist. And today this femtech—a female-focused technology startup designed to support women's health—is a major investment category, the establishment said.

According to a Frost & Sullivan report, global venture capital funding and investments across femtech amounted to $1.69 billion in the first half of 2019. This number is estimated to reach $9 billion by 2024.

It has recently branched out into other areas of health as research shows how clinical trials and diagnosis for most diseases have focused on men and have tended to ignore how women's bodies are different and may react differently.

As Caroline Criado Perez wrote in her award-winning book Invisible Women: "Researchers have found sex differences in every tissue and organ system in the human body."

Issues related to feminine health are the most underrated topics in India.

Initially, it seemed impossible to bring women's health issues to the table due to the patriarchal standards of society. However, the new age of femtech has made it possible.

The sector not only brings a change in the societal mindset but also brings revenue. Feminine hygiene in India was once a shame to talk about. But more millennial women have sprung into action and have started throwing light on feminine health concerns.

Sirona Hygiene chief executive officer and co-founder Deep Bajaj told Entrepreneur India that the best of their ideas come from identifying problems women face in their daily lives. A problem as basic as the restriction to pee in public toilets for the fear of infections drove the company to work on what is today its star product PeeBuddy funnel, India's first female urination device. It has sold over 2 million units of PeeBuddy. All of its products aim to unshackle women from their intimate, menstrual, and toilet problems and help them focus on their growth.

Bajaj is trying to tap into the "tabooed space by dealing with menstrual hygiene issues comes with a lot of challenges. The problem almost always starts with misinformation about the female body and myths around menstruation. Most women are surrounded by a set of taboos passed over from generations, which can make it difficult for them to openly talk about any intimate and menstrual issues they face or readily adopt a better period solution.

Myths, paired with silence, affect women's health critically, he shared.

Bajaj believes that the platform is trying to change the status quo by breaking the taboo with dialogue, awareness campaigns, and community building along with introducing innovative products. The more the platform is verbose and outspoken talk, the better it is for the ecosystem as it helps more people even in the underprivileged communities join the conversation and empower women.

"The pandemic has brought "hygiene' to the forefront and made e-commerce a part of daily life – both these worked in our favor. We have adapted to the challenges around logistics, manpower, warehousing etc. that we faced initially and focused on expanding our hygiene and wellness range- BodyGuard to meet the needs of our customers. Now things are coming back to normal and we are in a better position than we were pre-COVID however, we pray each day for this to pass. It's devastating so see so many lives and businesses wither away," he said.

The company is being built on customer revenues. While the platform has raised two angel rounds and recently raised Series A ($3 million), the focus is on building a customer-funding dependent business, and to ensure they walk the talk, they claim to pay a lot of attention to unit economics. Due to this philosophy – introduced by Mohit Bajaj (co-founder), the startup has been PAT-positive for the past 3 years while growing in a healthy manner.

Sirona has witnessed a growth of 100 per cent CAGR over the last 3 years. Since its inception, they have converted over 5 lakh Indian women to menstrual cups and ship over 50,000 orders every month.

"In line with our vision to break the stigma around menstrual hygiene and redefining femininity for modern times, we are adding thoughtful products to our period and intimate hygiene portfolio. We are also looking at penetrating tier-II and tier-III cities via e-commerce platforms and social media, as here, people's purchasing capacity has been increasing rapidly. Cementing our presence here will go a long way in furthering our mission of impacting customer lives positively by solving unaddressed Intimate and Menstrual Hygiene issues with our Innovative and Sustainable products," Bajaj Further noted.

The feminine hygiene market stands at INR 5,000 crore and is growing with the entry of new-age brands that are innovatively meeting the requirements of the modern woman.

The evolving consumer consciousness and increasing awareness around feminine hygiene needs are significantly contributing to the market's growth.

"In line with our mission to solve unaddressed feminine intimate hygiene issues, we are looking at identifying unique problems women face over different stages they go through from puberty to menopause. Devising special solutions for these problems, we will continue on our journey to making these accessible to women in our country," he stated while commented on his next trigger of growth for the company.

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