Kindly thinks it has the right product for a market that is in desperate need of help. Its home-testing kits enable men and women to get diagnoses of sexual and reproductive problems – and then treatments – that they often feel uncomfortable talking about with a medical professional (assuming one is even available). The health technology start-up, founded in 2020, today announced it has raised more than $3 million of seed funding, suggesting that investors share its vision.
Based in India, Kindly helps men and women with a range of different problems. For men, it addresses difficulties such as erectile dysfunction, premature ejaculation and loss of libido, while with women, it provides support with problems including menstrual issues, vaginismus and vaginal dryness. The common theme is that while these are problems causing large numbers of people significant distress, seeking help is often very difficult. Using technology to help people in their own homes, the company thinks, is hugely valuable.
Kindly’s first product is a home testing kit that allows men to provide a semen sample, which is then returned to Kindly’s laboratory to test for a range of diagnoses. It’s a significant technical achievement: semen typically degrades in 20 minutes or so, but Kindly has developed a kit which preserves the sample for long enough for effective testing. “We’re the first company in Asia to develop this sort of technology, and it is enabling us to tap into a huge market,” says Nilay Mehrotra, the company’s founder and CEO.
Demand appears to be strong. Since Kindly began selling the home semen tests four months ago, it has successfully processed more than 3,000 samples from customers; a trial launched in Bangalore has expanded to 11 cities across India, and the company has now begun rolling out a series of other tests for men and women.
“The whole team is passionate about empowering people to explore their sexual wellness safely and confidently,” explains Mehrotra. “We’re breaking new ground with an all-inclusive approach to lifestyle and sexual disorders, something which hasn’t been done before.”
Once the samples are taken and tested, Kindly provides its users access to medical professionals who can advise on the results. Specific treatments may be recommended, or the customer may be advised to make lifestyle changes to tackle their problems.
Such services are tapping into a potentially huge market. Kindly thinks the reproductive health market is worth around $8 billion annually – but the figure rises to $20 billion if you look at sexual health and lifestyle more broadly, Mehrotra adds. He also sees a big opportunity to expand into other areas of the health and wellness market, with Kindly already exploring the possibilities in helping people with eczema, psoriasis and other skin conditions.
Moreover, these are global problems that healthcare technology businesses in other markets have only just begun to address. Mehrotra expects to launch Kindly across other parts of Asia – and, eventually, more broadly. “We think we can become a $100m company within the next five years,” he says.
Today’s fundraising announcement will help with that ambition. The company has attracted significant attention since its early days, including acceptance into the 2022 cohort of businesses supported by YCombinator. Now, it is unveiling a $3.25 million seed funding round from a group of global investors including YCombinator, as well as DG Daiwa Ventures, Olive Tree, Soma, Goodwater and Gaingels.
Takeshi Kanamori, managing director of DG Daiwa Ventures, shares Mehrotra’s excitement about the business’s potential. “The wellness market has changed dramatically over the last year, and we believe the demand for at-home diagnostics will only continue to increase,” he says. “Kindly’s diagnostics-first model is well positioned for success, and we believe it has the potential to grow.”
The company intends to invest its new-found financial firepower in expanding its team, with plans for strengthening its leadership now coming together. Mehrotra is also keen to build brand awareness. Search engines such as Google are one important part of the company’s customer acquisition strategy, but Kindly is also exploring the possibilities of influencer marketing.
With so many opportunities, Mehrotra is conscious of the need to prioritize. “We don’t want to spread ourselves too thin,” he says. Kindly’s initial focus will be on regional expansion, with development of other verticals coming later.