Sarina Richard, the Founder of HERdle, grew up in Singapore and Texas. She completed her undergraduate degree at the University of Texas at Austin and her MBA at Harvard Business School.
What is HERdle?
HERdle is a women’s health company. Every woman has to face many hurdles in life. Great gynecological care should not be one of them. Of all the cervical cancer deaths in the world, 25% of those deaths happen in India. The infertility rate due to an untreated STD in India is close to 10%. There is a lack of access to information, a lack of access to resources, and a huge social stigma around even discussing sexual health topics.
During the interview with TimesNext, Sarina told us that out of the 500 women she spoke to around India, all of them had a story about being ashamed or embarrassed by a gynecologist for being an unmarried woman, or are too scared to see a gynecologist for fear of becoming ‘unvirginized‘ or judged.
HERdle provides curated content on subjects pertaining to sexual health, mental health, fertility, diet, and wellness. HERdle also offers an AI symptom diagnosis chatbot for sexual health infections and other conditions, created by expert and non-judgy gynecologists. Soon, HERdle will offer on-demand blood and urine testing so women can easily and accurately understand their conditions in a convenient, safe, and private manner.
Additionally, HERdle will offer telehealth consults with gynecologists, fertility specialists and therapists, and direct-to-consumer pharmaceuticals and products so women can access the resources they need without ever being shamed or judged.
Check out the website for HERdle here.
The idea and inspiration behind HERdle
Sarina worked in healthcare for her entire career, besides which she always had a passion and energy for women’s development: from micro-lending for women in Peru to rehabilitating victims of human trafficking in India.
On her many visits to and across the country, she was always inspired by women across every state, age, and economic background. According to Sarina, the women (she) are resilient, she is strong, she is humble, and she is self-sacrificing. She never puts herself first, and she never complains. She takes on so many roles, and no one is her advocate. This health information is not rocket science. Nor is it proprietary. It is every woman’s right to know about her body, and Sarina humbly hopes to provide that information in a way that best meets her needs.
Fighting the Challenges
According to Sarina, she is working with a highly stigmatized subject matter. With sexual education banned in many states, there is a lot of push back that her resources will make women ‘more promiscuous.’ She believes that this is just wrong.
“A healthy society is less of a burden on limited resources. An educated society is a better-equipped society”.
On a personal level, Sarina has been pregnant with her first child, gave birth, had a major health scare related to the pregnancy, and has been raising her beautiful daughter, all while building this company. According to her, it, of course, isn’t easy. Her ‘tribe’ of support – her husband, her parents (especially her mom), and friends – have made this all possible.
Collaborations by HERdle
HERdle has collaborated with a number of incredible female non-judgy gynecologists across India to create the original content and the AI chatbot symptom diagnosis.
What Sarina understands is that everyone understands this problem and wants to find a solution. There is a lot of motivation, both from consumers and providers, to fix this problem. That’s super inspirational for her.
The first milestone for HERdle
According to Sarina, getting that first doctor to tell her what I was doing is important and needed was the first milestone for her. The doctor is over-run with patients and also sees patients who have a very basic understanding of their bodies. Sarina feels that HERdle can ease her burden by being the first line of defense. HERdle also educates women about these stigmatized topics, providing accurate and relevant information, so her baseline is already improved.
Climbing the mountains
Currently, HERdle in the process of hiring a Partnerships Lead to build the supply chain pipeline with the labs and product companies. The startup is also hiring a Social Media intern who is excited and personally motivated about this topic. The company is starting its first pilot in Bangalore, but soon after, expanding to other major cities across India.
HERdle – The Vision
Sarina told TimesNext that she hopes every woman in the world feels as if she can easily and comfortably take charge of her health and wellness without judgment or scarcity of resources. According to Sarina, we need to normalize female health topics, so women don’t die from unnecessary and preventable conditions.
She also feels that we need to bring men into the conversation – not only providing the ability for them to access stigmatized resources, but also to help normalize and de-stigmatize this topic for their mothers, wives, and daughters.