An educational platform with the mission to break the taboo around periods and to teach young girls in India about menstruation in a healthy manner.
What started as a comic book project blossomed into an educational company over 5 years. The venture has been entirely bootstrapped and I was lucky to experience it from day 1.
With no formal business education, 3 friends set out on a new adventure to make a natural process of human body natural again.
And, what we lacked in business experience, we eagerly made up with good old fashioned entrepreneurship, focus and integrity.
Since we did not have enough money to do this by ourselves at that time, we decided to crowdfund the project. Crowdfunding was relatively new in India in 2012 and our problem, very old and very taboo!
Yet here we were, 3 folks who had never made a physical book, never done crowdfunding talking to anyone who would listen on how we want to tackle an age old problem.
The crowdfunding campaign concluded with 110+ supporters opening up their wallets to help us raise ~8-10K USD(125% to goal) and setting us off to an exciting start. No pressure!
Almost 18 months later, we emerged with our first physical copy of what we had dreamt of and started dispatching it plus other rewards to our crowdfunding campaign supporters.
Self publishing the book and managing shipping/logistics for the first time was nerve-wrecking, educational and a roller coaster of high and low emotions.
Once all done, we were faced with the existential question: Is this it? Do we go back to finding a job now?
But this was just the beginning.
Shipping a few hundred copies felt good but was not enough. The problem was big and we were committed to grow our solution. So, We signed up with Whisper, India’s leading sanitary pad manufacturers as our official sponsor of the book.
This gave us capital to grow this from just a book to a social venture. Over the next couple of years, we designed an extensive menstrual education program(which included the book) for schools and non-profit organizations, built an innovative audio-visual digital version of the book to go where a physical book couldn’t go and spread our solution in India and beyond(Uruguay, Nepal, Nigeria etc.)
After 6 years of working on it (1 year as full-time and 5 more with a full time job), I decided to transition out. Menstrupedia had become a sustainable venture, providing livelihood to a team of 5 members and menstrual education to over 1M girls across 10+ countries.
Our flagship product, the comic book was being printed and published in 15+ languages and we were used by over 10,000 schools in India.
Bootstrapped to a sustainable, ethical business in over 6 years, Menstrupedia is the forerunner of breaking the taboo around menstruation in not just India, but several other countries.
Menstrupedia is published in more than 15 languages today. It has been taken to countries like Nepal, Nigeria, Uruguay etc. Besides the physical book, it offers a creative audio visual digital version as well. It extensively partners with schools and NGOs to lead menstrual hygiene sessions for girls.
“This is a great creative solution to a tough cultural challenge.”