Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation backed startup provides AI solutions to monitor pregnant women

Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation backed startup provides AI solutions to monitor pregnant women
  • Janitri provides ‘medical-grade fetal and maternal monitoring solutions’ to use at hospitals or homes.
  • The Bengaluru-based startup started selling its products in March 2021, after spending five years on development.
  • Arun Agarwal, the founder of Janitri, walked away with an investment of ₹1 crore for a 2.5% equity stake from Namita Thapar.
Despite medical advancements, high infant and maternal mortality rates remain a prevalent concern in India. As of 2019, the Infant Mortality Rate (IMR) in India stood at 30 per 1,000 live births. Lack of institutional births, low-birthweight babies and maternal mortality are other challenges that the country faces.

The government introduced several schemes and frameworks like the Janani Suraksha Yojana in 2005; and a framework — Reproductive, Maternal, New-born, Child, and Adolescent Health (RMNCH+A) in 2013 to address these challenges. However, lack of access to primary healthcare centers and other issues affect women and child development in India.

Janitri, the latest startup pitched on Shark Tank India S2, aims to tackle this problem with “medical-grade fetal and maternal monitoring solutions” via wearables, and affordable AI-enabled devices and software.

A patch, a wearable and a software

Founded by Arun Agarwal, Janitri is a Bengaluru-based startup that launched operations in March 2021. It offers three products — Keyar Patch, Daksh, and Navam wearable. Navam wearable can be worn on the wrist and helps in fetal monitoring, but it’s still a prototype.


Made of silicone and plastic, Keyar Patch can be attached to the stomach of a pregnant woman and it monitors fetal heart rate, maternal heart rate, labour contractions and fetal movements. It’s available for ₹29,000.

Keyar Patch connects to Daksh, which is a mobile application that can run on any Android-backed mobile or tablet. It helps monitor mothers during intrapartum and postpartum periods of labour by continuously sending relevant information to the doctors. It also generates critical alerts, notifies the staff, and is available for an annual subscription cost of ₹10,000.

Together, Keyar Patch and Daksh allow doctors to remotely assess fetal movements to help both the mother and the child. Aggarwal claims that timely monitoring during the last trimester and labour can help save 80% of the women and/or newborns who succumb to complications during pregnancy.

Most hospitals traditionally use a cardiotocography machine commonly known as a fetal monitor. However, it isn’t digital and produces graphs in thermal print that doctors study. It also requires the nurse to change the position of the probes on the mother’s belly every 30 minutes. These machines cost ₹1 lakh or more apiece, claimed Agarwal.

Bring a change at the grassroots level

Originally hailing from Alwar, Rajasthan, Agarwal did his graduation (Bachelor's in Technology) in Electronics from Vellore Institute of Technology (VIT), before pursuing a Master’s in biomedical engineering from VIT. His decision to pursue a degree in biomedical engineering stemmed from his desire to bring a change in the healthcare system in India.

“I had a dream to solve the grassroot level problems in healthcare through technology. I heard my grandmother’s story of how, among the six siblings she had, one died within a year of being born. When I started my B.Tech I deduced, this a huge problem globally, and technology has not yet reached this area,” shared Agarwal.

He worked as a patent analyst in the healthcare industry for two years to gain financial stability, and gained further insight into the industry by attending Healthcare Hackathons, visiting hospitals, and watching live deliveries, before starting Janitri. For five years, he worked on R&D, clinical trials, and regulatory compliance for Janitri.

During this time, the company received grants from Biotechnology Industry Research Assistance Council (BIRAC), BIll & Melinda Gates Foundation, the Government of Canada, and the Government of Karnataka.

It also raised ₹2.35 crore in February 2020 in a seed round at a valuation of ₹15 crore from an angel investor. It raised an additional ₹1.15 crore via convertible notes in April 2021 from the same investor. As per Agarwal, Janitri has raised ₹7 crore so far in an equal mix of grants and equity.

The startup has applied for 12 patents, four of which have already been granted. In its first year of operation, the company earned a revenue of ₹1.03 crore.

Offers galore, but conditions apply

While all the sharks were impressed by the product, Namita Thapar, executive director at Emcure Pharmaceuticals, was the first to make an offer — ₹75 lakh for 5% equity, with ₹25 lakh debt.

While she did match the past valuation of the startup, the founder remarked that the past valuation was an older, pre-money valuation. After which, Thapar doubled the valuation to ₹30 crore and made an offer of ₹60 lakh for 2% equity and ₹40 lakh debt.

“In this country, if we wish to make healthcare effective, we can’t do it without the help of technology. The day pharma and technology join hands, we can create magic,” said Thapar.

Lenskart co-founder Peyush Bansal and CarDekho co-founder Amit Jain made a joint offer of ₹1 crore for 2.5% equity, valuing the company at ₹40 crore. However, the offer was contingent on Janitri making sales worth ₹20 crore in the next year, failing which the sharks’ equity will double to 5%.

Thapar matched this offer while adding that with her support, Janitri could easily achieve sales worth ₹50 crore. Ultimately, Aggarwal went with Thapar’s final offer of ₹1 crore for 2.5% equity, but on the condition that if the company does not achieve revenue of ₹20 crore in the next financial year, Thapar will get an additional 2.5% equity.

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