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First Step raises Rs2.96 crore from Indian Angel Network

LiveMint logoLiveMint 07-03-2017 Arushi Chopra

New Delhi: First Step Digital Pvt Ltd., that sells intimate hygiene products for women, has raised Rs2.96 crore in pre series A round of funding from Indian Angel Network.

Sanjay Mehta, Ishan Singh and Vikas Kuthiala led this round of investment from the 450 member network.

The company will use the funds for marketing, team expansion and introducing new products.

Launched in 2015 by brothers, Deep and Mohit Bajaj, along with Deepak Thareja, the Delhi based company initially launched PeeBuddy, a disposable urination device that women can use standing up due to the widespread unavailability of clean toilets. From there, First Step has expanded to introduce products related to menstruation including tampons and biodegradable sanitary disposal bags among others.

“PeeBuddy solves hygiene issues for women when they find dirty toilet in public spaces, restaurants, concerts or even when they are travelling. We see women who are into adventure sport activities, national level cyclists, cancer patients, using our products. It is also helpful for women during pregnancy and those who have arthritis,” said Deep in a telephonic interview.

The company says it has sold over 100,000 PeeBuddy packets in 2016 and expects this number to double in 2017.

The company sells its products through various online marketplaces such as Amazon, Flipkart, Snapdeal, and retail outlets in Delhi, Bengaluru and North-East India, such as Twenty Four Seven and Guardian Pharmacy among others. First Step plans to launch its products in retail stores of Mumbai this year.

Offline retail stores constitute 80% of First Step’s sales, said Deep Bajaj. Online, the company services 500 orders per month at an average ticket price of Rs350.

The company designs its own products, such as PeeBuddy which has been awarded a design patent. First Step gets most of its products manufactured in India, while its tampons and under arm sweat pads are manufactured in Europe and China, respectively.

Deep Bajaj expects the team of 14 to double in the year forward as First Step plans to expand to retail stores in other cities and launch new products such as menstrual cups, and eco friendly tampons.

“Deep has focused on solving with its range of sanitation products, multiple women hygiene challenges which has affected half of women population that too without environment pollution… which according to me is not only a noble initiative but has great potential too.” said lead investor Mehta, in a statement.

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