Veera Health, a digital health platform for women, on Monday announced US$3 million in funding co-led by Sequoia Capital India’s Surge and Global Founders Capital.
Veera Health is one of the 23 companies chosen by Surge, a rapid scale-up program by Sequoia Capital India for startups in India and Southeast Asia. It is also backed by global tech accelerator Y Combinator. The company’s first product is a digital therapeutics platform that helps women identify and navigate PCOS, with a comprehensive offering of medical care, nutrition therapy, lifestyle coaching and doctor support, a company official here said.
Founded by sisters Shobhita and Shashwata Narain in August 2020, Veera Health’s mission is to close the gap in access to quality healthcare for women by providing scientific, progressive treatments through a seamless digital platform. The founders hope to create awareness of women’s health needs and empower all women to take control of their wellbeing.
Veera Health’s first route to expanding healthcare access is by targeting PCOS. While the common chronic condition purportedly affects 1 in 5 women in India, fewer than 30% are clinically diagnosed. The variety of symptoms adds to the complexity – from irregular periods and weight gain to mood disorders, acne and excessive body hair. If left untreated, it can lead to diabetes, infertility and even endometrial cancer. Most women with PCOS waste years and tens of thousands of rupees hopping between doctors, diet plans, gyms and unproven supplements, without seeing any change in their symptoms.
“I was extremely frustrated by how long it took me to get diagnosed with PCOS, get proper medical advice to manage my condition. Even after trying multiple doctors, I felt like I was in the dark about how to actually treat my symptoms. There’s definitely a lot of judgement in the Indian context as well. We hear story after story from our customers about how they were body-shamed or told to get married instead of treating PCOS,” said Shobhita Narain, COO and Co-Founder.
“Indian women are ready for a modern, high-quality healthcare experience. PCOS is a massive need – it’s a lifelong condition that seriously impacts quality of life for millions of women around the world. Our vision is to start with PCOS and continue to expand to additional women’s health conditions. Being part of the target market ourselves, we understand the issues better than anyone else and are excited to build something that we can ourselves use in our lifetime,” said Shashwata Narain, CEO and Co-Founder.
“The prevalence of PCOS in India is unfortunately enormous, making PCOS a natural initial condition for Veera. Within a matter of days Veera can diagnose, treat and bring peace of mind to those women suffering from PCOS who otherwise would still be seeking help or wondering where to even begin”, said Sean Doolan, Partner at Global Founders Capital co-leading the investment.
He continued, “Shashwata and Shobhita bring the requisite product pedigree, operational expertise, and lived experience to help Indian women suffering from PCOS now. However, we believe Veera has the potential to eventually scale beyond PCOS and ultimately address a breadth of diverse health conditions that affect all women.”
“Women’s health is a large intuitive space and this unique focused approach from team Veera has the ability to make a deep meaningful impact through early access, information , support and planning for not just detection but overcoming such health markers,” said Rohit M.A., cofounder of CloudNine group of maternity, childcare, and fertility hospitals.
The company’s subscription-based programme is designed to address the most frustrating issues with PCOS. Patients of Veera Health are provided with a holistic treatment plan, administered by a team of doctors specialising in PCOS including gynaecologists, nutritionists, dermatologists and mental health experts.
Each plan is customised based on the patient’s medical history, past interventions and lifestyle preferences. A dedicated care manager also supports and tailors the experience for the patient through their journey. Unlike today, where most women struggle with the condition after a one-off visit with a doctor, Veera’s online platform is able to provide daily guidance and progress tracking over several months, increasing their chances of success.
85% of Veera’s PCOS members report feeling in control of their physical and mental health within a month of treatment.
“When I reached out to Veera about PCOS, I was not in a good space at all and nothing was working for me. Ever since my first call with Veera, the journey has been smooth sailing. I’ve lost weight and my PCOS symptoms have improved. Joining Veera was the best decision I took in 2020!” shared Aiman, one of Veera’s customers.
Said Rutuja, another customer, “With Veera, I got my periods after exactly one month, my mood was better. I was feeling light and active, and my sugar cravings had reduced. It’s an amazing feeling to see results towards better health!”
Prior to founding Veera Health, Shashwata helped grow consumer and health companies at McKinsey & Company. She has an MBA from Wharton and studied data science at Yale University. Shobhita spent several years working with leading healthcare companies such as GlaxoSmithKline, Accenture Life Sciences and UnitedHealth, and studied Biology and Psychology at Tufts University.
Veera Health’s funding is co-led by Sequoia Capital India’s Surge and Global Founders Capital, with participation from Y Combinator, CloudNine Hospitals’ co-founder Rohit M.A., and Tinder India Head Taru Kapoor. Angel investors include Benjamin Bryant, Ethan Perlstein, Holly Liu, Utsav Somani and Walter Chen.
Veera Health is part of Surge’s fifth cohort of 23 companies that have developed new digital solutions to help companies and individuals work, live and learn better in a rapidly evolving Southeast Asian landscape.