Crystal and Cassy, please share your story with us. How did you get to where you are today?
Crystal: My story has lots of fun twists and turns that have led me to where I am today so let’s start with my immigration story. I was born in Lagos, Nigeria and I migrated to the United States in 2010 to attend college at the University of Houston “Go-coogs”. I started off as an international student majoring in economics with the intention to eventually go to law school which was one of the top 5 career choices my Nigerian parents will approve of to justify the international tuition. After graduation, I worked in real estate finance for a few years exploring business development with law school still in mind. I wanted to make sure that law was what I wanted to do as a career so I got a paralegal certificate from UCLA extension.
I knew all along that my passion was really in solving problems by coming up with great solutions and creating things out of nothing which is ultimately what entrepreneurship is all about right. I was certain that I was going to end up as an entrepreneur in some capacity. All through college I made money on the side being a hair stylist and tailor making clothes for myself and friends. Right after graduation, I launched my first business Benola Crystale, an e-commerce company that makes men’s ties and bowties using African Fabric.
It wasn’t until I experienced a scary life-changing health incident that I made a major career switch and decided to become a healthcare technology entrepreneur, specifically in female sexual and reproductive healthcare. I developed an unusual condition that I “googled” instead of talking to a doctor mainly because I had left a job and did not have health insurance. A few days after, I passed out due to extreme pain in my abdominal region and was rushed to the hospital for immediate emergency surgery. I guess looking back, I will say that my low pain tolerance was what saved my life because the doctors said if I waited a day longer, the result would have been fatal. That was my wake up call. “Never rely on Google to answer intimate health questions. Talk to a professional instead.” That is why I started Kliit health and later on met my Co-founder Cassy.
Cassy: I met Crystal at a workshop I was facilitating about universal design and accessibility in tech. I’m very passionate about designing technology that not only meets the needs of users but is also accessible to all users, regardless of ability, race, age, gender, etc. Crystal and I connected on this topic and began discussing her ideas about a product for diverse women to improve their own health knowledge and ultimately, their health outcomes. I initially spoke with her about product ideas and what I thought the product could look like, and we decided it made sense for me to be part of the team. I am so lucky to have found an idea that I’m personally invested in and a co-founder who’s equally passionate about making a product that makes an impact.
We’re always bombarded by how great it is to pursue your passion, etc – but we’ve spoken with enough people to know that it’s not always easy. Overall, would you say things have been easy for you?
Crystal: The road has been very far from straight. As a company, we have made a couple of hard decisions which have led to a few pivots and changes but our mission has remained the same by finding ways to make sexual and reproductive healthcare services affordable and easily accessible to underrepresented women. From one co-founder breakup to receiving numerous “No’s” along the way from potential investors to developing a fantastic and in my opinion very much needed product.
So let’s just say the journey has come with its own struggles but it has been one hell of a fulfilling roller coaster and has helped us really understand our customer needs.
The main struggle we initially experienced was our choice of the company name “KLIIT,” a bold and outright taboo name. As the name goes, kliit is a fun play on the word clitioris which is the most important female sexual organ but is not as studied or discussed as its male counterpart. Our younger audience love the name while we have received a 50:50, love:hate reaction from a more conservative older audience. But when you think about it, that’s the whole point. We are dedicated to ensuring that women speak about their bodies and health issues without shame or fear. A question that comes to mind is “why now?” Our message seems very timely with everything that is going on as it relates to women’s health and laws like the ban on abortion in Alabama etc. Something needs to be done and someone needs to champion that change even at the lowest level. The more we live in silence, the more we are oppressed as women and that needs to stop.
At kliit health, we are creating a safe space where women are bold enough to talk about their most intimate health questions with real healthcare professionals in a reliable, secure and private chat.
Cassy: We recently launched a campaign to raise awareness that words like vagina are not vulgar and shouldn’t be treated as taboo. For centuries, women’s bodies have been simultaneously neglected and objectified, meaning people are often undereducated about their bodies and too ashamed to ask for more information. A 2016 study found many women hide their use of health-care services from family and friends so as to prevent speculation about their sexual activity and the possibility that they have a sexually transmitted infection (STI). Not only are people uncomfortable bringing up their sexual health, but some doctors are also hesitant to discuss sexual health. We need to break the stigma around sex, genetalia and sexual health, especially for women and non-binary people. How many erectile dysfunction ads do you see on TV or in magazines? We imagine a world in which things deemed as “women’s health” are discussed just as openly as those colorful ads for Viagra, but it’s not something that we can snap our fingers and make happen. It’s always going to be a challenge.
So, as you know, we’re impressed with Kliit Health – tell our readers more, for example, what you’re most proud of as a company and what sets you apart from others.
Crystal: Kliit Health is a female sexual and reproductive health platform that provides on-demand access to health experts. Through our platform, women can connect directly with Nurses, Ob/gyn’s and Sex therapists straight from their phones. No more reliance on Dr. Google…..
Cassy: Think of us like the big sister who is trained to give professional advice about your health and will definitely not tell anyone that you have an STI. From talking to women and looking at the numbers, we find that although people are actively searching for answers to their sexual and reproductive health questions, very few are bringing up those questions in their doctor appointments. Sometimes doctors are even hesitant to ask those questions.
Our company has developed a web product that women can use to talk to experts to answer non-emergency questions around their sexual and reproductive health. We are revolutionizing the way women access health information and advice in a personalized way without worrying about cost, time, accuracy, etc. We think that information is the key to improving health outcomes for women all over the United States, especially for underrepresented populations.
So, what’s next? Any big plans?
Cassy: We have very big plans for the future. One major one which is launching our beta web product which will be absolutely free for the first 1000 users. We’re looking forward to getting the product in the hands of as many real users as possible and see how the product can help them.
This web-based beta will allow us to make an informed decision on how we will move forward with the product, the goal is to properly understand the kinds of questions women are asking, how frequently they are asking these questions, how long it takes for their questions to be thoroughly answered etc. in order to know how best to serve them.
Our biggest goal is to eventually reach 2M+ women annually with our product and change the way they currently seek answers to their intimate health questions. The plan is to by the end of our beta launch our app which we are very excited about. We intend to make access to experts even more immediate, affordable and reliable!
- We are releasing a beta product which will be absolutely free for the first 1000 users who become members on our platform.
- Website: www.kliithealth.com
- Phone: 8328781651
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Instagram: @kliithealth
- Facebook: www.facebook.com/kliitapp
- Other: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC-pD8LCi3vxfFHoRBw9ahdA
Bosun Oshunluyi Email: email@example.com Instagram: @itsbosun