In India, women widely use ovulation kits to monitor ovulation. Since these kits need to be interpreted themselves, it leads to a lot of incorrect results, confusion and anxiety. The results, at times, can go wrong as the kits measure only one hormone giving only two fertile days.
A Bangalore-based startup has come up with an alternative device, called Inito Fertility Monitor, which not only enables women to identify fertile days, but will soon allow the user to test multiple other medical conditions.
“Most women believe they can get pregnant close to the 14th day of their menstrual cycle. This assumption is wrong as ovulation varies from woman to woman, and the cycle is controlled by the individual hormone levels. In fact, 46 per cent of menstrual cycles vary by seven or more days,” says Aayush Rai, Co-founder of Samplytics Technologies, owner of Inito Fertility Monitor. “Estrogen, a key fertility hormone, starts rising three to four days before ovulation, while Luteinising Hormone (LH) rises 24 to 36 hours before ovulation. These two hormones are excellent predictor of your fertile days. So, understanding your fertile days is key to get pregnant faster.”
A smartphone-connected device, Inito helps you identify up to six fertile days of your menstrual cycle. The monitor comes with an app and test strips, making it easy and convenient to track your cycle without stepping out of your home.
“Inito not only measures estrogen and LH in urine, but also understands your cycle variations and gives accurate results unique to your cycle,” claims Rai. “This increases the chances of getting pregnant naturally by 89 per cent.”
The startup was founded in 2015 by Rai (an IIT Roorkee alum) and Varun AV (IIT Madras). The idea occurred to the duo while working at Siemens Research.
“Siemens is a giant in large lab diagnostic devices. However, we realised that as disease patterns in India are shifting to lifestyle diseases like diabetes, heart diseases, fertility etc., which need continuous monitoring, there’s a growing need for continuous monitoring of health. Hence, we started Inito as a home diagnostics company that allows people to monitor their body at home and achieve their health goals,” he shared the story.
The Inito platform is powered by the company’s patent-pending ‘Flat Lens’ technology that will allow a user to test for glucose, thyroid, cholesterol, hormones, vitamins, sexually-transmitted diseases etc. — all on a single portable device using a smartphone app.
“Flat Lens uses the science of optics to allow images to be captured from closer distances and also reduces noise allowing sharper focus. This technology helps us in making Inito a very small, portable device compared to large, expensive lab equipment that you see in diagnostic labs,” Rai explained.
Commercially launched in December 2017, the Initio device, which comes with eight fertility test strips, is priced at INR 3000 (approximately US$44) and is available on the company’s website as well as on e-commerce platform Flipkart. The duo believes that rather than going through pharma distribution network, online sales allow them to price the device very competitively, create awareness online and have tight control on our inventory.
According to Rai, Inito will work even if your cycles are irregular, as it measures your hormones accurately to determine the fertile window. The monitor understands you based on test results and adapts to changes in your cycles.
Inito will allow users to test for diabetes, cholesterol and Vitamin D in the next six months.
While Inito is primarily targeting individuals, it also works with a lot of doctors and hospitals as partners for trials and validation of its data.
Rai claims that Inito has seen over 30 per cent monthly growth since its official launch in Dec 2017.
“While India, where one in six couples has fertility issues, is our primary target market, we are also nursing global aspirations, but we don’t know which geographies to target yet. We have just started our journey in India and feel that there is plenty of room to grow before we enter other markets,” he added.
To date, the startup has raised about US$1 million from unnamed angels and high net-worth individuals in India and Singapore.
According to World Health Organisation, the prevalence of chronic diseases is expected to rise by 57 per cent by 2020. A large percentage of these conditions can be prevented or managed by regular monitoring and simple lifestyle changes. The Inito device, says Rai, helps them monitor their body at home and the app suggests them lifestyle changes that help them manage these conditions.