The Inspiration Behind Diem: How the Morning After Pill Propelled Emma Bates to Create a Social Search Engine

by | Aug 23, 2023 | INTERVIEWS | 0 comments

Emma Bates, Co-founder and CEO of Diem, takes us on a journey from personal experience to revolutionary innovation. Discover how a morning-after pill inquiry sparked the birth of Diem, a unique social search engine.



Can you share a bit about your company, Diem?

Diem is building a social search engine. It’s a dedicated place for people to search, collect, discover and share information, inspired by the way women have been passing knowledge to each other for centuries. Diem is designed to embrace the whims, questions, and hushed conversations that women have been having “behind closed doors” for centuries. You can think of Diem as a search engine combined with your most trustworthy group chat.


What inspired you to begin Diem?

Diem was born out of my isolating experience taking the morning-after pill for the first time. I ended up in a classic internet doom spiral, searching for answers. During this time I asked other women in my office about their experiences and it turned into a Google Doc going viral. Hundreds of women were sharing their experiences and learning so much from each other’s experiences. That’s when the idea for Diem clicked and I teamed up with my now co-founder, Divia Singh.


What challenges are you hoping to solve with Diem?

Diem’s vision is to build the world’s first social search engine, inspired by how women have shared knowledge for centuries. Diem is defining the intersection of social and search by incentivizing communities to share knowledge and then utilizing this data to build proprietary AI models that transform community conversations into summarized, searchable & highly personalized resources for everyone to benefit from. With Diem, users can expect more from their search engine. With a unique product experience that feels easier to discover collective insights and features that mirror the way female-identifying users communicate inherently, Diem replaces the need and desire for search engines like Google and Reddit when you have real-world questions.


Why do you think there is such a stigma around sharing “feminine” topics?

It’s hard to pick just one thing… there are so many different compounding factors that have resulted in generations of social stigma, further shrouding the female experience in mystery and a fear of judgment.


How has the response been since launch?

A wild ride! We’ve seen such incredibly “Diem-y” questions being populated in the app and it’s really heartwarming to see people start to connect and discover what they’re looking for.


Can you explain how someone would use the app?

When a community member sets up their Diem profile, they select a range of topics they are interested in. Your Diem homepage will be filled with questions and conversations surrounding those topics. There’s also our Diem AI-powered search bar at the top. When a member asks a question and starts a ‘Diem’ (aka a conversation in the app), they’ll first receive a Diem AI-generated response that scrapes Diem and the internet through a feminine lens, to generate a summary and then supplements those results with Diem’s real-life anecdotes and stories from the community. You can then post your question to the feed for others to weigh in.


What is the technology component behind the app? 

Over the last 18 months, Diem has trained a model called Diem AI to conversationally answer your pressing, personal, embarrassing, and serious questions. The data model pulls from conversations from Diem’s community—the team has also built reinforcement learning into the platform so all information shared, interactions, upvotes, etc. that the community does in real-time will make the search/discovery experience better for everyone moving forward. The goal is to help each person find what they’re looking for without having to scroll through 300 posts, while also giving them the option to dive deeper as they wish. It’s the first AI-model to be trained exclusively on women’s conversation!


I saw there was a texting component as well, how cool! Which have you found to be more popular? Texting or app-based? 

App-based for sure! Text is just a way for people to test the Diem AI experience before downloading the app.


What challenges have you faced creating Diem? 

There’s a new one every week! In general, it’s been most frustrating sharing with institutional investors how important a product like Diem will be to our core demo. But with the growth we’re seeing hopefully that won’t be a problem much longer.


What has been your biggest win/favorite moment since starting Diem? 

I really love seeing new members get answers to their often, ‘embarrassing’ questions — it’s so nice to see them being validated and not feeling abnormal! I also loved our first Out of Home campaign that we did in May.


What are some of the most popular topics/frequently asked questions on the app?

Sex, relationships, money & reproductive health are usually the most popular.


What are your future goals for Diem? 

Google meets Reddit but if both of these products were actually designed for women. 



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