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Saral Designs, a product driven start-up, making 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 the cost of Rs 10 lakhs, making scaling to different geographies easy. The company has launched ‘Aisha Ultra XL’ sanitary napkins that are ultra-thin pads with wings. The product is being made available to school/ college girls via vending machines, providing the girls with easy access and privacy. Ambi Parameswaran, Advisor, Former CEO, FCB Ulka Advertising, said, "Girl hygiene is a very important health issue in India. Saral Designs addresses a key socio-health issue through a cost effective solution." Saral Designs was founded by IITians, Suhani Mohan and Kartik Mehta mid-last year.
Suhani is an Acumen Fellow and has worked with Deustche Bank previously while Kartik is an Engineering Design graduate from IIT Madras (2012) and has worked on machine design and development for 3 years with General Motors and Neubauplan Design Studio. The team consists of 9 young engineers from IITs, NITs and BITS Pilani and has 15 people working on production and local sales. “Hygienic menstrual protection is a basic need for every woman, absence of which has led to 70% 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," said Suhani Mohan, Co-founder, Saral Designs Talking about new plans for the company and the product, Kartik Mehta, Co-founder, Saral Designs said, “In the coming months the company will increase production and sales, add more peripheral features to the product and make the pads easier to use and dispose, especially for the low income segment where access to toilet is limited.” Currently, only 12% 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, increase of women in the workforce and increasing awareness about sanitation, the sanitary pads market is expected to grow 5 times to $3 billion in India by 2025.