InfertilityDost is a Delhi based startup founded by Gitanjali Banerjee. Gitanjali started this venture in 2016.
“We combine technology, behavioral science, and social support to design cost-effective ecosystem that provides end to end solution with a holistic approach”, says Gitanjali.
We got an opportunity to talk with Gitanjali, the founder of InfertilityDost. And I am sure; her story will inspire you. Let’s look at the journey.
Give a brief info about your startup?
InfertilityDost, is India’s first website that facilitates couples to brave infertility with support and knowledge. We started in August 2016, with a vision to reach out to the society and people, breaking stereotypes and prejudices.
InfertilityDost offers a unique digital platform where women can meet their fertility goals.
We combine technology, behavioral science, and social support to design cost-effective ecosystem that provides end to end solution with a holistic approach. We provide digital health coaching when a patient connects with our fertility counsellor who handholds her throughout the journey. Holding the hand of every individual who comes to InfertilityDost, we have a curated expert service based on their need and empower them with information and community support. Our system is built with a holistic approach to the issue of infertility, which enables us to address and handle all types of fertility patients from early detection to beyond IVF.
What made you start your startup and what problem does it solve?
It was initially, myself battling 10 years of infertility – post 5 miscarriages, 3 molar pregnancies, 1 failed IVF, a brush with ovarian cancer; I finally succeeded on second IVF attempt. I had long and rollercoaster journey towards motherhood.
The pain and the social disdain that a woman undergoes during infertility journey is unimaginable and humiliating. Society, on the other hand has no idea about the pain of infertility and people end up hurting by passing shallow comments. It is startling that there is no neutral platform and especially no woman who comes up and says, “Yes, I have gone through it, I know it is not easy but got to keep going”. 1 in every 4 couple in India is fighting some or the other form of infertility. There was a need to come out of the infertility closet.
Thus, overcoming my personal fears, InfertilityDost came into formulation, reaching out to women who suffer in silence, bring real stories, make the society aware and acknowledge the pain, and most importantly to help patients find the right doctor. There is so many malpractices that one needs to stay aware.
With InfertilityDost we aim to disrupt the way people manage infertility and the way society looks at this issue.
Tell us about yourself, your previous jobs/ventures? What were you doing before this startup?
I am a middle-class girl from Lucknow, who got married at the age of 23 in 2004 to an army officer. With frequent travel explorations and completing education in the short stoppages, I pursued B.ed, as teaching was considered the only feasible career option for an Army wife those days. Though I taught in Kendriya Vidyalaya but soon realized that teaching isn’t my cup of tea.
I started with juggling freelance writing and my first project was through Craigslist at 10p per word. Yup! It was that low paid.
Thereafter, I self taught myself and grew from strength to strength – Airtel, Educomp (Senior writer), MakeMy Trip (Assistant Manager for Blogs), PolicyBazaar (Content Head).
Being an avid writer and traveller (due to my husband’s work), I started my blog Travel By Karma. I have been blogging for past 6 years. Curated experiences and offbeat destinations is the
niche that I mostly rite into. Have won many awards, accolades and recognition for my work.
However, the best award is the love, engagement and support that you get from your readers. That feeling is humbling.
Now, I have a 5 year old son via IVF procedure and am working towards shackling the myths and societal norms of infertility with InfertilityDost.
Where is your startup based out of? Why do you think that is the best place for you?
InfertilityDost is based out in Delhi. Hiwever, we work pan India and even with Indian patients from South Asia and NRIs. Infact, we have a lot of patients from Bangalore. Being in high stress jobs increases the incidence with infertility. Recently, InfertilityDost partnered with The Times Of India for an open talk drive on fertility awareness conducted in NIMHANS, Bangalore.
As a startup founder, what are you paranoid about? What keeps you awake at night?
To reach out to people as much I can and break the taboos in which they are wired in, due to societal norms.
Why can’t I reach out more women who are silently suffering from fertility issues and social stigma, why can’t I save a girl into falling in the trap of fertility issues and when will I able to change the societal mindset towards infertility – these are the thoughts that keep me awake and keep me driving ahead.
Who are your competitions and how are you better than them?
We are the frontrunner & exclusive in India at present. There are many doctors and clinic talking about infertility. There are big players of doctor discover platform domain like Practo, Lybrate, DocApp, which can be considered as indirect competitors. Although, there is direct competition with companies like ElaWoman. International companies working mostly in US like FertilityIQ can come to India in future.
InfertilityDost just focuses on approaching the holistic way towards infertility and not just the medical treatment like other players in the industry.
How hard is it to have a work-life balance as a startup founder and how do you manage it?
I am a passion-driven person and I prefer to be on the go. A disciplined life and time management makes everything easy for me to balance.
Have you raised funding? If yes, then we would like to know the details. If no then please tell us if you are looking to raise.
Recently, under the WEE program, InfertilityDost was conferred with a gold medal for a startup that is creating social impact and a grant by IIT Delhi and DST.
At the moment we are looking for more funding opportunity and passionate people to join our core team thereby facilitating that we scale this venture.
What’s the biggest misconception people have about you? Why do they have that? What’s the reality?
People think that we are a company that helps in IVF. No, we are not.
InfertilityDost can handle all types of patients from pre-conception to beyond IVF. We enable women to take decisions of fertility in their hands. We are a counselling platform.
What gets you excited about this company?
A cause to live for and fight for. With my personal experience and ordeals if infertility that I lived me, I want to give out and make it change for a person suffering.
Tell us how a day in your life looks like? Your schedule for a day right from the time you get up till you hit the bed at night.
My day starts at 5:30 am, getting my husband ready for his work and then my son for his school, meanwhile checking emails and calculating time frame for meetings, and replying to messages. Around 11 am I am out of the house and back be evening 4:30 -5. After 6 pm, it is complete family time, while keeping a tab on the work going on via messages and calls.
Tell us about your team and how did you meet each other?
We are a small team of 5 people with a content writer, lawyer, technical engineer, doctors and experts.
Content writer, technical engineer and communication experts were my colleagues in my short stint of corporate life. Doctors and experts were via references. The commonality of all is the passion to work for the cause.
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