Kasha Rwanda is a consumer technology platform which delivers female health products, including menstrual care products, contraceptives, and feminine hygiene products. They won ‘Best Start-up’ due to their online and offline solution at the Kigali Seedstar Summit, and will pitch their business solution at the Seedstar Summit in Geneva, Switzerland, in April to compete for up to $ 1million in equity investment. Joanna Bichsel, CEO and co-founder of Kasha Rwanda, spoke to Women Today’s Sharon Kantengwaabout the inspiration behind the initiative and, helping women deal with stigma.
Where did the inspiration for Kasha come from?
It’s uncomfortable for women to buy health products like sanitary pads and contraceptives, so Kasha was a result of this because it shouldn’t be uncomfortable for women to buy these products. The way women access health products today is uncomfortable and sometimes embarrassing. We wanted to help every woman, including those who do not use the Internet but need these critical health products. With technology, we can enable confidential access to women’s health products.
How many clients have you had so far?
We started this company and started advertising three months ago and we already have 600 clients that have ordered on Kasha and we deliver the products to them.
Why do you think Kasha won the SeedStars competition hosted in Kigali recently?
The local start up sells and delivers women’s health products confidentially over a widely accessible mobile retail platform. Kasha exists because women are the biggest business opportunity. I think it is an amazing business opportunity that helps with information and with quality health products. Also, we are putting the women’s needs first and we are addressing a problem that for some reason, nobody is addressing today, which is social stigma in health, which makes it difficult for women to access these products.
What can you say are some of the challenges that you have faced in addressing the problem?
At Kasha, we spend so much time learning to know what works and what doesn’t. We are currently trying with Mobile Money and Tigo Cash because digital payments would be a very special way to operate, but we found out that people don’t have digital money available all the time and so we had to expand our transaction. We tested the website app but we realised people with smart phones were not used to using that and so we built the USP with a lot of people more comfortable with it.
How ready are you for the competition in Geneva?
The competition is in April and so we have enough time to prepare. I am really excited to come from Geneva with even a stronger story with ambitious plans to be able to serve several customers. I’m very excited to prove that Kasha is an advertising access to women’s products on a large scale and I’m very excited about the opportunity.
What plans do you have for Kasha?
Today, we are in Kigali but we also intend to expand to the rural areas and over the several next months, we will be working on expanding across Rwanda. By the end of 2017 we want to expand operations in Kenya and our long-term plan is that Kasha becomes a global company that helps women worldwide.