Saral Designs, a product driven start-up that aims to make affordable and high quality menstrual hygiene products, has raised angel funding from prominent investors in the Powai Valley including Farooq Adam (Founder, Fynd) and Ambi Parameswaran (Advisor, Former CEO of FCB Ulka Advertising).
Saral has developed a low-cost process (machine designed and developed in-house) for manufacturing high quality sanitary napkins at a decentralized level. Decentralization cuts down several middle-men in the process of distribution.
Additionally, these units are replicable and can be set-up at costs of Rs 10 lakhs, making scaling to different geographies easy.
Saral Designs has launched ‘Aisha Ultra XL’ sanitary napkins that are ultra-thin pads with wings with quality as good as some big brands, according to a company press release.
Apart from regular channels of distribution, Aisha Ultra XL pads are being made available to school and college students via vending machines. While vending machines in school washrooms is a common thing in western countries, it has started gaining acceptance in Indian schools with the growing emphasis on Swacch Bharat mission.
Saral Designs was founded by IITians Suhani Mohan and Kartik Mehta mid-last year. Mohan is an Acumen Fellow while Mehta is an engineering design graduate from IIT Madras. The team consists of nine young engineers from IITs, NITs and BITS Pilani and has 15 people working on production and local sales.
Ambi Parameswaran, Advisor, Former CEO, FCB Ulka Advertising, says, "Girl’s hygiene is a very important health issue in India. Saral Designs addresses a key socio-health issue through a cost effective solution.”
Suhani Mohan, Co Founder, Saral Designs, says, “Hygienic menstrual protection is a basic need for every woman, absence of which has led to 70 percent of women in India contracting reproductive tract infections. There is a huge potential for good quality products at the right price coupled with an innovative distribution strategy to reach out to the 312 million under-served women of India."
“We have several interesting plans in our pipeline in the coming months ranging from increasing our production and sales, to adding more peripheral features to the product which makes the pads easier to use and dispose, especially for the low income segment where access to toilets is limited,” adds Kartik Mehta, Co Founder.
Currently, only 12 percent of India's 355 million women use sanitary napkins due to lack of affordability and poor access to good quality products. Due to growing prosperity of the middle class, increasing numbers of women in the workforce and rising awareness about sanitation, the sanitary pads market is expected to grow five times to $ 3 billion in India by 2025.