I’ve been working on Tulalens, a startup social enterprise, on my own, but have realized that the problem I’m trying to solve is too massive for one person to go at alone. Does our vision and the problem we’re trying to solve (outlined below) excite you? Are you very comfortable translating ideas into testable solutions? Are you willing to experiment and adapt quickly? Amazing at getting things done? Super self-motivated? Have you started/worked at a startup or social venture before? If your answer to some or all of these questions is yes, I’d love to hear from you at priya@tulalens.org. Perhaps we can work on a project together, and explore the possibility of working together as co-founders. Our current work is in Chennai, but you don’t have to be living there. The solution and business model outlined below still require a lot of tweaking, so there’s still a lot of opportunity to shape the trajectory of our work.

 

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Why do we exist?: Investments in women’s health outside of the critical period they’re pregnant are unfortunately too limited.  We aim to develop a suite of services for 1 million women living in urban slums to address this over the next 10 years.

 

Problem: Women, 18 – 40, living in India’s urban slums are overburdened with responsibilities. They work in physically demanding jobs to bring in critical income, they spend hours a day managing their households without modern conveniences, and they care for their elder relatives and children. Yet, their families and the society they live in rarely encourage them to care for their own health.

 

One of the many ways this problem has manifested is in the form of iron-deficiency anemia. After extensive human-centered design, we discovered that many women are suffering from this, and experience symptoms such as severe headaches, weakness and repeat infections. Anemia can yield up to a 30% loss in productivity, and affects 11 million women living in urban Indian slums alone.

 

Solution: To put the power back into women’s hands, we equip them with information, tools and support to act. We help women track their iron, recommend and sell iron-rich ingredients customized to individual households’ taste preferences, budgets and time constraints using a door delivery model. We charge women a small service fee that we use to cover our field operations costs.

 

Impact: So far, our customers have increased their iron intake on average from 30% of the required daily value to 70%. Many women have reported a decrease in headaches, dizziness, body pain, and infections that previously led to a decline in their productivity when working within and outside the home after 3 weeks in our program. They also have reported an increase in satisfaction because they know they’re equipped with the knowledge and support to feed themselves and their families iron-rich foods.

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