Star Tech: Pectiv shines light on women’s hygiene, where few dared to venture

The Arab world’s visionary leadership has ensured a strong customer-driven demand as gender stereotypes and taboos are being broken to create a new egalitarian world order

by

Joydeep Sengupta

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Supplied photos
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Published: Fri 20 Jan 2023, 8:34 PM

Initially, Pectiv was founded in 2014 as a predominantly business-to-business (B2B) brand, but later found widespread support following an uptick in e-commerce and digitisation business models.

Soon, the brand also adopted a business-to-consumer (B2C) model and has launched a unique subscription service for women.


Data shows that Pectiv has grown steadily since its inception and registered a 200 per cent year-on-year growth in the first half of last year.

“We plan to carry on with the same momentum this year amid our robust expansion plans,” said Dr Elias Abboud, CEO and founder of Pectiv.


Dr Elias, the brain behind Pectiv, a femtech that deals in nanotechnology-based sanitary products, is a seasoned pharmacist who has a deep understanding of the Middle East’s healthcare landscape.

Prior to founding Lenizer, the parent company of Pectiv, he worked for some leading local and global pharmaceutical companies such as Pfizer, Barakat Pharmaceuticals, Amreet Medical, and Rama Pharma.

He elaborated on the start-up's expansion plans in the region.

“While expanding our existing footprint in key markets such as the UAE and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, we will venture into more countries to build a pan-Middle East presence. We’re also eyeing a global footprint, particularly in the US, the UK and Canada, through our distribution partners and e-commerce channels. Besides, talks are in progress with multiple venture capitals (VCs) for a funding round in the next few months. The fresh infusion of funds can work as a force multiplier for our rapid expansion plans,” he said.

Dr Elias shared his journey as a femtech founder in a sector that specialises in women hygiene space, despite him being of a different gender.

“It was in 2012, when I hit upon the big idea while actively seeking entrepreneurial opportunities in the domain I was operating in. I came across an article that would change the course of my life. The article stated that about 70 per cent of women faced menstruation-related challenges due to the use of ordinary sanitary products. It was a revelation, especially for someone already well-versed in the pharmaceutical and healthcare value chain. I began discussions with professionals in the feminine hygiene industry globally while enhancing my knowledge of menstrual challenges and existing solutions. My exploration of use cases of nanotechnology in sanitary products culminated in the launch of Pectiv,” he added.

He weighed in on the technological aspects and innovations behind the start-up’s product range.

“Nanotechnology is a broad-based discipline with numerous applications across industries. Pectiv, for its part, specialises in utilising dynamic silver ions in mitigating or solving some of the pressing challenges related to conventional sanitary pads. The products are designed to particularly address customer pain points. For example, the presence of dynamic silver ions inhibits bacterial growth, preventing vaginal infections. Pectiv products are devoid of toxic chemicals, phthalates and plastics, thus incapable of causing rashes and irritations. We also focused heavily on product utility, leading to the sanitary pad’s 4X absorption and optimal aeration to dissipate moisture and heat. Common issues like leakages were addressed through design considerations such as preventive side guards,” he said.

The unique subscription-based model hasn’t ebbed its demand as the response from subscribers in the UAE and Saudi Arabia are a definitive pointer to a growing number of takers, according to Dr Elias.

“The primary rationale behind our first-of-its-kind subscription model in the region was to sidestep the taboos associated with menstruation and feminine hygiene. We recognised the restrictive roles that taboos play, depriving females of solutions or products that can address their problems. Market surveys have revealed that many shy away from procuring products at the stores in the presence of others, especially men. The subscription model enables them to get the products delivered to their doorstep. In line with our expectations, the model gained significant traction in the region, especially in the UAE and the KSA, where consumers are more tech-savvy and exude awareness of innovative solutions,” he said.

Pectiv recently did a survey, which showed that 83 per cent of women in the six-nation Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) nations have faced problems with the feminine hygiene products available in the market such as rashes, sensitivity, irritation, low absorption and side leakages due to the use of ordinary sanitary products.

“Our survey involved 611 women respondents from across age groups, socioeconomic conditions and job sectors, the finding has far-reaching implications for the femtech’s necessity in the region. More research and development (R&D) and location-specific solutions are the need of the hour. It’s also encouraging to learn that regional solution providers are committed to that cause, as evident from a projection that the Middle East and North Africa’s (Mena) femtech market will reach a valuation of $3.8 billion (Dh13.96 billion) by 2031, at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 15 per cent. Pectiv has a well-defined roadmap to capture 5 per cent of the market share in the upcoming economic cycles,” he said.

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Dr Elias lauded the GCC leaderships’ policies towards women’s empowerment.

“The visionary leadership has ensured a strong customer-driven demand. In recent years, women have made considerable headway in economic participation while enhancing their awareness and spending power. The increase in women’s education, financial literacy and digital dexterity will gradually break the taboos, and femtech will be a catalyst to this momentous transformation,” he added.

Breaking taboos

Pectiv has invested significant effort and research into creating feminine products that provide superior protection without using harsh chemicals or fragrances known to increase the likelihood of irritation and inflammation of intimate areas. The brand aims to become a leading advocate for women's health issues and offers thoughtfully designed products made from innovative materials that provide an effective solution for all aspects of the monthly cycle.

Backed by science and tested by leading gynaecologists across the UAE, Pectiv's range of sanitary pads comes with a proprietary 'Anion' layer that prevents bacteria and candida build-up that is known to cause infections and unpleasant odours. The monthly subscription box, with free shipping, provides a private and stress-free experience to women, with all period essentials being delivered right to their doorsteps.

A game-changer for the Arab world

“Pectiv is product-driven and purpose-led in equal measure. Since inception, we’ve aligned our product innovation with the purpose of solving problems. We began by understanding the nature of the problem and exploring the link between conventional sanitary pads and issues such as contact dermatitis, candidiasis, vaginal infections, rashes, irritations, and side leakages.

"We’ve set out to develop a cure-all solution. Later, the market challenges dawned on us, leading to changes in business models. For instance, we identified value-chain gaps holding the products back from creating ground-level impact. We’ve also responded by launching subscription-based, doorstep delivery services. Significantly, we’re staying agile in our response to evolving challenges,” Dr Elias said.



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