Social networks come in a wide variety of shapes and sizes in today’s world. It is this notion that PregBuddy, an Indian startup founded by entrepreneur Sivareena Sarika, took on to create a network dedicated to pregnancy. The platform, which is now about three years old, caters to the very specific and crucial needs of women as they navigate through the trysts of pregnancy. True to a social medium’s nature, PregBuddy offers a host of articles that Sarika states is doctor-verified, aimed at relieving the stress and concerns that women undergo during pregnancy. That, though, is not all – PregBuddy also takes the old-school community approach, and fuses it with new technologies to create a platform that can be deemed unique.
Speaking to News18, Sarika says that two particular aspects of her platform are important in shaping its identity – Live Chat and Health Feed. Live Chat, she says, helps women to connect with each other in the same trimester, location, vernacular languages and medical conditions, which helps create a deeper connect than what general social media interaction might enable. HealthFeed, as she states, is also used extensively by PregBuddy’s members in order to get answers to frequently asked questions, which creates a Quora/Reddit-like platform, but customised to pregnancy.
“We also organise live classes with doctors from top hospitals like Apollo, Motherhood etc, so that expecting women can get their clinical or symptomatic queries in real-time from these health experts,” says Sarika, describing the key offerings of her platform. Direct doctor consultations are also a key part of what PregBuddy offers. “Whenever she has any doubts or a report to share she can easily reach out to her doctor via our platform. We also make sure that a gynaecologist can also reach out to her, whenever she has tracked any abnormal symptoms or vitals on our platform, enabling proactive care for women which she deserves especially during this phase of their journey,” she adds.
To keep their doors open, Sarika's PregBuddy has a direct consumer revenue model where users pay for services availed. Alongside, the platform also offers doctors a mobile customer relationship management platform for doctors, which helps them keep in touch with their patients even while on the move. Describing this part of PregBuddy’s revenue model, Sarika says, “This helps hospitals stay connected, and educate and monitor their expecting patients throughout the entire journey of their pregnancy. Most of the top hospital chains and hundreds of doctors have been using it, and we charge it on a monthly usage basis.”
Sarika also underlines that being part of Apple’s App Accelerator ecosystem has significantly benefitted her startup. “We've got constant feedback and support from Apple’s experts in technology and design, to improve our UI/UX or technical scalability for our users. They have always been easily approachable and they go the extra mile to help us at the time of need,” she adds. PregBuddy also offers an Apple Watch app that helps its users keep track of their pregnancy, making for an intuitive experience. While PregBuddy's iOS app remains live, its website and Android app have been taken down, as of publishing the story.
While Sarika did not furbish details about her monthly active user base, she revealed that her platform has raised initial seed funding rounds from Rajan Anandan, Jayant Kadambi, Rekha Menon and a “few other HNIs”. As for the company’s employees, she says that about 40 percent of her total employees are women. This, she believes, is encouraging, and also has space to grow.
“The community of women entrepreneurs and networks that I've been part of so far have always been helpful in overcoming any hurdles I've come across so far. I would encourage any women in the technology space to connect with fellow women and help each other out,” she adds.