According to the United Nations, every day around 385,000 babies are born across the world. That’s 4,6 million every year! For the number of infants born daily, you’d expect a plethora of products and services supporting expectant women during pregnancy. In spite of the demand, only a handful of femtech pioneers have identified the demand for prenatal preparation. We’ve all experienced the black hole of trying to find reliable medical advice online. How do you choose the right care provider? What type of exercise is safe? What can and can’t you eat?
Imagine a world where women can focus on their pregnancy and easily find the best care. Berlin-founded App Keleya provides users with an interface between midwives and pregnant women. Their App offers numerous workouts and nutrition plans tailored to the individual, a digital birth preparation course, and many expert videos. Recently they partnered up with the German Midwife Association to create Ammely where freelance midwives can promote their services free of charge and expectant mothers can connect with them via the website and book appointments online. Orange Quarter sat down with Victoria Engelhardt for an inspiring conversation about Keleya’s vision, team, and lessons she’s learned along the way.
Where the magic happens: Berlin
Tech stack: React Native, AWS and Node.js
Users: 25,000 monthly active users
Do you feel like the Keleya’s business model has changed versus where you started in 2017?
“Yes, it’s evolved a lot over the years. Initially, we were just an app that offers expectant mothers content about physical exercise like yoga and pilates. Over time we realised that pregnancy is a much broader topic, and we started focussing on digital health as a whole, which allowed us to become CE certified. Later, we partnered up with the German Midwife Association (DHV). In more recent times we started partnering with more than 20 different health insurance companies across Germany. After we launched Keleya’s digital birth preparation course, we qualified to be reimbursed by our Health Insurance partners.”
Have you noticed any major changes within your market over the last year?
“During COVID, Keleya became even more relevant, because many women could no longer participate in prenatal courses. This created the demand and opportunity for our midwife platform, Ammely. Finding the right midwife and one that’s available can be challenging. Freelance midwives can offer their services free of charge on Ammely and expectant mothers can connect with them via the website and book appointments online. Today, only one year after launch, 30% of all German midwives are enlisted on the platform.”
Can you tell me more about the team behind Keleya?
“We’ve grown quite a bit over the last 12 months so by now we are a team of around 21 people in Berlin. Many of us are not working full time because we offer flexible working models for parents. In terms of our team setup, we have a typical startup environment. We have a team of seven engineers, a content team, a product design team, and then some business people like me that kind of take care of the overall business strategy.”
Was it challenging for you to attract investors initially?
“I get that question a lot. And my answer is always yes, I had a lot of challenges. It’s a combination of many factors – the most obvious one that investors were traditionally male – or at least back in 2017 that was the case. This has changed a lot in recent years. Luckily, I see more and more female investors chatting with me. The fact that femtech has become a buzzword over the last two years has also mitigated the challenges that used to go along with pitching femtech products. When I started, that was not the case. The general awareness for female health topics has increased tremendously which makes it easier today than it was four years ago. On top of that, I’m just a very honest person which is not necessarily the best trait when you’re pitching to investors.”
“I had to learn it the hard way and develop my pitching abilities over the years. Resilience is one of the key things you have to have as a founder and you have to, at one point, find the right investors that do understand your business and that’s what BrückenKöpfe and others such as CalmStorm, SeedLink and Crista Galli Ventures ended up ended up being for us.”
There isn’t much information out there about the funding Keleya has raised so far. Was it a strategic decision not to disclose this information?
“Good question. The decision was made by investors to not disclose specific amounts of funding publicly – at this stage. So yes, this is not information that you will find online.”
How many monthly users do you have?
“We have roughly around 25,000 monthly active users right now, given the fact that we are mainly working out of Germany. We estimate that 15% of all pregnant women in Germany are using the app.”
Can you tell me more about the technology behind Keleya?
“When we started building the Keleya app it was mainly React Native, AWS and Node.js on the backend. We are working on some exciting features and are starting to transition to Flutter.”
I noticed your recent announcement about joining the Google for Startups Academy. Can you tell me more about what 2021 holds for Keleya?
“2021 is really becoming our year of growth. Last year we focussed on setting foundations and building relationships with Health Insurance companies and the German Midwife Association. This year it’s all about growth and expanding our offering. Google for Startups Academy is really amazing because they are supporting us along different dimensions of growth. They support us with workshops, expert knowledge analysis that only Google can provide. We are also working alongside other cool startups that we can learn a lot from.”
What do you predict for the future of femtech?
“Digital health is rapidly evolving. The whole femtech sphere is getting more and more attention and the product offering is becoming more versatile. However, I think at some point, as with any maturing markets, there’s also a phase where there’s more opportunity for consolidation and collaboration within the industry. I feel like this is especially the case for the femtech market, I’ve experienced it as a very supportive environment in terms of competition. With the rise of new technologies, from sensors to AI, I think that will spark new ideas across the industry and offer us solutions we’ve never seen before.”
As an original next-generation pregnancy service provider, Keleya’s changed the way content and storytelling speaks to and represents women, always sparking the conversations that matter most to their users. They celebrate women, banish stereotypes, and focus on being reliable and approachable at all times — delivering excellence in pregnancy services.
More about the app for moms-to-be here
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