Kindly Health secures funding to target home sexual health market

Kindly Health believes it has the right product for a market that desperately needs help. Its home testing kits allow men and women to get diagnoses of sexual and reproductive issues — and then treatments — that they often feel uncomfortable talking about with a medical professional, even assuming that there is one. The health-tech startup, founded in 2020, today announces that it has raised more than $3 million in seed funding, suggesting investors share its vision.

Based in India, Kindly helps men and women with a range of different issues. For men, it treats difficulties such as erectile dysfunction, premature ejaculation and loss of libido, while for women it provides support for issues such as menstrual problems, vaginusm and vaginal dryness. The common theme is that although these are issues causing significant distress to a large number of people, it is often very difficult to ask for help. Using technology to help people at home is therefore extremely valuable.

In this regard, the company’s first product is a home testing kit that allows men to provide a semen sample, which is then sent back to Kindly’s lab to be tested for a range of diagnoses. It’s a significant technical achievement: sperm usually degrades in about 20 minutes, but Kindly has developed a kit that keeps the sample long enough for an effective test. “We are the first company in Asia to develop this type of technology, and it allows us to tap into a huge market,” says Nilay Mehrotra, founder and CEO of the company.

Demand seems strong. Since Kindly began selling these home semen tests four months ago, it has successfully processed over 3,000 customer samples; a trial launched in Bangalore has expanded to 11 cities across India, and the company has now started rolling out a series of other tests for men and women.

“The whole team is passionate about empowering people to explore their sexual wellbeing safely and confidently,” says Mehrotra. “We are innovating with a comprehensive approach to lifestyle and sexual disorders, something that has never been done before.”

After Kindly customers provide samples and have been tested, the company provides access to healthcare professionals who can advise on the results. Specific treatments may be recommended, or the client may be asked to make lifestyle changes to resolve their issues.

These services tap into a potentially huge market. Kindly thinks the reproductive health market is worth around $8 billion a year — but that figure jumps to $20 billion if you look at sexual health and lifestyle more broadly, Mehrotra adds. It also sees great opportunity to expand into other areas of the health and wellness market, with Kindly already exploring opportunities to help people with eczema, psoriasis and other skin conditions.

Moreover, these are global issues that health technology companies in other markets are only just beginning to address. Mehrotra plans to launch Kindly in other parts of Asia – and possibly more widely. “We believe we can become a $100 million company in the next five years,” he says.

Today’s fundraising announcement will contribute to this ambition. The company has garnered considerable attention since its inception, including acceptance into the 2022 cohort of YCombinator-backed companies. Now it’s 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 enthusiasm for the company’s potential. “The wellness market has changed dramatically over the past year, and we believe the demand for home diagnostics will only continue to increase,” he said. “Kindly’s diagnostic-first model is well positioned for success, and we believe it has the potential to grow.”

The company intends to invest its newfound financial muscle in expanding its team, with plans to strengthen its leadership now coming to fruition. Mehrotra is also keen to boost brand awareness. Search engines such as Google are an important part of the company’s customer acquisition strategy, but Kindly Health is also exploring the possibilities of influencer marketing.

With so many opportunities, Mehrotra is aware of the need to prioritize. “We don’t want to spread ourselves too thinly,” he says. Kindly Health will initially focus on regional expansion, with development of other verticals coming later.