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TruCup: This Startup Is Fighting The Taboo Of Menstruation With Sustainable Sanitary Products

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TruCup: This Startup Is Fighting The Taboo Of Menstruation With Sustainable Sanitary Products


A country like India which is influenced by diverse cultures and religions over the ages, there are multiple belief systems which also come with their own share of taboos and stigmas.  Most of these taboos are based in deep rooted ignorance and also the lack of proper educational awareness among the Indian population.  One such taboo, is the stigma surrounding menstruation, because it is treated like a societal evil. The problem is due to the old school thinking which associates menstruation with impurity.  While the stigma is one problem, another problem is the lack of means for a large number of women to purchase the necessary sanitary products because of their high price.

This is where a startup named TruCup comes into the picture.  TruCup was founded by two women entrepreneurs Shivangi Bagri and Alakshi Tomar.  Shivangi Bagri used to have to endure excruciatingly painful periods before purchasing a menstrual cup from Singapore and realised the product made her life better by easing her periods.  Being a Yoga teacher and a dive enthusiast, Shivangi’s life changed for the better after using a menstrual cup.  It was then she realised how the current market products are misleading women by convincing them to buy products which contain synthetic fabrics, fragrances and chemicals.  This motivated Shivangi to come up with the perfect menstrual cup. 

Alakshi Tomar on the other hand used to work with schools in the slums of Mumbai and it was there she saw the neglect of menstrual hygiene.  The problems she saw while working in the slums coupled with her own sedentary lifestyle during her periods made her switch to a menstrual cup. 

The two (Shivangi and Alakshi) became friends in school, and remained so even when they moved to different cities for higher education.  A chance WhatsApp conversation between Shivangi and Alakshi led to them realising they are the only two women using cups in a group of 15 friends from school.  The two figured there was an urgent need to create the perfect cup for all menstruating women.  After months of research and constant design feedback from women who used cups, they came up with a comfortable design.  

According to TruCup, one billion pads and tampons are disposed of in India each month.  Another 64% of women use cloth for sanitary purposes in India and another 95% of women do not use menstrual products due to taboo/myths surrounding insertion, virginity and hygiene.  

ALSO READ: How One Indian Startup Is Tackling The Problem Of Floral Waste

Shivangi and Alakshi set out to create demand in a market dominated by sanitary napkins and were able to expand organically to 56 cities through online and offline sales.  Women who used their products are their best promoters as they are vocal about the quality of their products and recommend it to other women.  TruCup trained more than 1600 women on menstrual hygiene, established partnerships through governmental and non governmental agencies and impacted more than 60,000 women through different projects.  Shivangi and Alakshi however have a long term goal to destigmatize the taboo surrounding menstruation and to make the public have conversations on menstrual health and hygiene.  TruCup plans to train people of gender roles and how gender roles shape the way people think, organise and know the world.  TruCup also provides training on sexual and reproductive health as well as menstruation.  Furthermore, TruCup also aims to create awareness about the environmental impacts due to unsafe disposal practices of sanitary napkins and the importance of sustainable menstrual products.

TruCup is bringing a revolution to women’s health with their community awareness programs and their top quality TruCup!

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Emerging Startup Stories

Three Fourth Solutions- How This Digital Media Agency Grew From 3 People To Working With The Biggest Brand Names In The Country

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Three Fourth Solutions- How This Digital Media Agency Grew From 3 People To Working With The Biggest Brand Names In The Country

Digital media has forever changed how marketing works since the advent of the internet and the social media platforms that followed.  When corporations realised they were sitting on a gold mine of ‘virtual real estate’ which in simple terms is just free space on a webpage, they realised they could use the space to run advertisements.  This began a new era for marketing which grew so big that digital marketing spending is forecasted to reach $146 billion by 2023.

There are many agencies which focus on digital marketing to provide branding solutions and services and one such agency which made a name for itself is Three Fourth Solutions (TFS,) based out of Kolkata.  Three Fourth Solutions was founded by three people with an aim to create everything related to  brand planning and consultancy, digital media campaign delivery and execution, to experiential marketing campaigns and many more under one roof.  The idea was based on the principle that a business could provide multiple solutions under one roof thereby streamlining the coordination of ideas.

There is also an interesting background behind the name of the organisation.  Every business realizes the need for a firm foundation in 4 key spheres – research, planning, execution and finance.  This organization executes three of the four spheres excluding the financial element and hence the name Three Fourth Solutions was found.

Three Fourth Solutions currently offer the following services:

  1. Communication Design
  2. Social Media Management
  3. Public Relations
  4. Website and App Development
  5. ATL/BTL Activations
  6. Prints

The most recent launching is a Public Relations wing which focused on bridging the communication gap and aimed at providing complete communication solutions to its clients. With over 40+ brands serviced in just over a year (in sectors such as FMCG, Hospitality, Food and Beverage and retail) – their aim is to bring change with key communication initiatives and drive a long lasting impact on the minds of the consumer. Their most recent influencer campaign for CODE had a reach of over 11M+ on social media. 

TFS has completed almost 6 years in the industry and has worked with some established brand names in the market.  Some of their clients include WildStone CODE, UBER, OYO, Novotel, DLF, Manyavar, HoiChoi, Tarun Tahiliani, Hard Rock Cafe, Pernod Ricard, Mumuso India, Simba Beer, AB InBev, Hyatt, Haldirams, Future Group, SVF Entertainment, Faabiiana, Pretty Secrets, Anmol industries.  

As TFS successfully completes 6 years in the industry, they continue to look forward for exploring more exciting opportunities and generating meaningful content and branding strategies for brands to grow in the marketplace.

 

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Emerging Startup Stories

Namhya Foods:  How This Superfood Startup Is Making Healthy Living Fun With Their Products

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Namhya Foods:  How This Superfood Startup Is Making Healthy Living Fun With Their Products

In the olden days, people used to get plenty of physical exercise on a daily basis.  There were no elevators to go up buildings, most people used to own a bicycle as owning a moped was considered a luxury  and some of the daily chores which have been replaced by mechanical devices.  In this day of technology and science, everything is at a fingertip and convenience and people are becoming devoid of exercise.  Being healthy is increasingly becoming hard because of the different varieties of foods that are available for ordering online and even then the food we are consuming might not be nutritious. 

Given that our food is being replaced from eating tasty home cooked meals, to ordering online or grabbing a ‘quick’ bite outside, the need for healthy eating is now more than ever.  This was what prompted Ridhima Arora, the founder of Namhya Foods to make healthy food that is fun to eat and incorporates Ayurveda.  Namhya Foods aims to create interesting combinations of Ayurvedic foods (Superfoods ) that can blend well with modern day living like for example their Sattu based breakfast cereal which is an instant mix but healthy or the Ayurvedic tea with herbs like Brahmi , Ashwagandha that replaces the regular chai.  Namhya Foods is making an effort to bring back the golden heritage of long forgotten basic indian foods that blend with your today’s lifestyle and this is their philosophy.

The journey of Namhya Foods began when the founder Ridhima Arora  began her journey towards a healthy lifestyle when she lost 30 kgs in 2 years in 2014 (86kgs-56kgs) in the effort to become fit.  It was then that Ridhima realised that there was a market gap for real healthy foods.  After researching the healthy foods which were available in the market, Ridhima realised that healthy oats biscuits contain maida and sugars and the dangers of ‘sugar free’ are hardly known and that brown bread is just a colored version of white bread in most cases.  But the real change began when her father was seriously ill due to liver cirrhosis.  In fact she realized the gap between the food industry and the healthcare industry and how there is no role of food in the treatment.  While her father recovered with precautions on food and going #BackTotheRoots with all her self research on food, she decided to take this up full time after quitting her corporate job which led to the birth of Namhya Foods in August 2019.

Namhya Foods position themselves as an Alternative Health Category and their product line is created based on the same.  The product line is based on the following :-

Local ingredients- Foods of our Naanis and Daadis like sattu, Tragacanth Gum(Commonly called Gond Katira), Arjun Chhal.

No preservatives: Namhya Foods does not use any vegetable oils, Hidden sugars, preservatives not even the considered the ‘safe ones’ like sodium benzoate, sulfur dioxide or any sorbates. 

Ayurveda Based foods: Namhya Foods use traditional herbs like saffron, arjun chhal, cardamom, star anise etc., in their products which have natural healing properties and help revive the prana (yogic breath) in the body and helps rejuvenate.

Namhya Foods also established an online presence in the leading e-commerce platforms like Amazon, Flipkart, Ebay, Etsy(international.)  Following the success of their pilot retail store based in Jammu and Kashmir, Namhya Foods is currently available in 186+ countries worldwide through ebay and etsy and in UAE through Amazon.  Namhya Foods is also able to sell 40% of their inventory through their website. (www. Namhyafoods.com)

Namhya Foods aims to clock sales of 1 crore rupees in the next one year and are already in talks with Urbanplatter, Qtrove, Milkbasket and Grofers to expand their online presence.  Namhya Foods also gives free nutritional coaching via personal chats, online events and regular updates through their social media channels on Instagram and Facebook.

About the founder:

Ridhima Arora has a B.Tech in electronics and communication and has a MBA(Marketing) from Great lakes institute of management, Chennai (2015.)  Ridhima began her career as a young leader with Lava international and after working in the industry for about 4.5 years in branding and marketing, she decided to quit her corporate job and start Namhya Foods.

Ridhima is also a certified and practicing nutritionist from ISSA (International sports science association) and a Yoga trainer (Certified from Yoga Alliance.)

 

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Emerging Startup Stories

How KhataBook Grew From Simple SMS App To Leading FinTech App In India

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How KhataBook Grew From Simple SMS App To Leading FinTech App In India

If you are an Indian citizen living in any of the urban cities of the Country, you might not have heard of this application until recently when the Indian Cricket Team Captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni, invested in a startup called KhataBook.  The question that was on many minds when Dhoni invested in this startup was what is KhataBook doing that has made Dhoni, one of the most popular celebrities in India, invest in this finance technology.  However in order to answer this question, we need to understand how KhataBook came into being and what it is today.

Beginnings

KhataBook was founded by Ravish Naresh, Dhanesh Kumar, Vaibhav Kalpe and Ashish Sonone in 2018.  The idea for KhataBook however has been on the minds of the founders for a long time before 2018.  It all began when Ravish Naresh along with his friends began a digital spending manager app called Kyte.ai in 2016.  The app lets a user understand their spending patterns by making use of the transactional SMS alerts.  The initial traction for Kyte was good but the growth was not reaching the scale the founders had in mind.  After researching the user data they realized that most of their users are based out of metro cities.  Upon digging deeper the data revealed that first time online users did not deal in digital transactions. They were still relying on traditional ‘khata,’ or ledger books. That is when the idea for KhataBook materialised for the Kyte team in 2018.  ‘Khata’ simply stands for account in Hindi.  

Growth

In 2018, the Kyte team decided to work on a simple cash management application called KhataBook on the premise that a real life ‘Khata’ can be replaced by a digital ‘Khata.’  The idea was to shift the focus of small time traders and businesses to move their accounts to digital platforms.  The team also included Kyte’s SMS checking mechanism to track data and provide free SMS updates on a user’s customer transactions.  This feature has ensured a three times faster return on credits for their users. The app has recorded $ 5 billion+ cash transactions by November 2018.  What makes this app attractive is that it employs artificial intelligence to track SMS alerts for transactions and use that to keep a track of accounts and spending.  With the internet penetration Reliance Jio offered, it was easier for KhataBook founders to target users in smaller cities and towns.  KhataBook is unique in the finance technology sector and has no major competitors.  However, OkCredit and Vyapaar app are the closest competition KhataBook has in the market currently.

ALSO READ: How One Indian Startup Is Tackling The Problem Of Floral Waste

Kyte is still an ongoing process for the founders of KhataBook, but KhataBook has managed to record 100x of Kyte’s users.  KhataBook currently has 5.5 million active users per month and the startup aims to reach 20 million active users by the end of 2020.

Upon reaching a quick growth KhataBook got its first big publicity push when Dhoni invested an undisclosed amount in the startup and also became its brand ambassador.  KhataBook is now being used in more than 5000 cities and the users range from kirana shops, merchants, recharge shops.  The app currently supports eleven languages and even has users in Nepal, Pakistan and Bangladesh.

 

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