Venture capital firm Lightbox has made its first investment from its $200 million third fund. It has invested $4 million in Nua, a female wellness brand. Existing investor Kae Capital has also participated in this Series A funding round. Nua, operated by Lagom Labs, creates products and services revolved around women’s health and wellness.
Currently, the firm makes sanitary pads and sells them online. After listening to hundreds of women, Nua co-founders Ravi Ramachandran and Swathi Kulkarni created a solution that is configured to a woman's individual cycle, delivered directly to her home, every month.
“I think in Nua, we found a team that has thought through how to create an amazing experience for women and do it in a manner that is delivering massively amazing value,” said Prashant Mehta, partner at Lightbox, in an interview.
With international brands like Whisper and Stayfree taking up the bulk of the market share in India, Nua is a newcomer in the space. But what differentiates the company is that it works on an innovative direct-to-consumer model where women are able to customise sanitary pad boxes based on their individual needs. It delivers the products to their doorstep on a subscription basis. The firm has also built a strong community of nearly 1 lakh women. Nua said it delivers the easy-to-store and dispose sanitary pads across the country, with tier 2 and tier 3 cities accounting for 50% of sales.
“If you think about fem-care, there are already companies at the high end of the spectrum, you can always get very high-end products, but this team (Nua) really felt that it was important to bring care and wellness ideas to millions of women and not just the top echelon of women group,” said Mehta of Lightbox--which has backed ventures such as tech company InMobi, Rebel Foods (Faasos) and online travel firm Cleartrip.
There are over 355 million menstruating women and girls in India, but millions of women across the country still face significant barriers to a comfortable and dignified experience with menstrual hygiene management, according to a report by consulting firm FSG. It said, almost 88 per cent of women and girls in India use homemade alternatives, such as old cloth, rags, hay, sand, or ash. Qualitative studies and an analysis of the product market indicate that premium commercial products are unaffordable or not consistently accessible for women and girls in low-income communities.
The feminine hygiene products market in India was valued at $340 million in 2017 and it is expected to reach $522 million by 2o20, according to research firm Euromonitor.
Nua plans to expand its offerings to include other menstrual hygiene and women’s wellness products. It would be making investments in technology and data. The firm is also seeing “strong demand” from regions outside the country such as Southeast Asia and the Middle East, according to Mehta of Lightbox.