It is wonderful to see new and emerging femtech startups, it feels like an exciting time for the space and it is definitely long overdue. Interest in the industry is definitely on the rise as global VC investment crossed the 1 billion mark in 2021.
Femtech is officially a category of technology that covers software, diagnostics, products, and services that use technology with a focus on women’s health and wellness. The initial entry point began with menstrual cycle monitoring products, a great example of which is Flo Health’s application that supports women throughout each stage of their reproductive cycle. It was actually a founder of one of these types of applications that coined the term, ‘femtech’.
A major appealing aspect of the rise of femtech is the fact that more founders are actually women. Why make a point of this? Well, it can probably be agreed that the world of technology has been predominantly occupied by those who are unaware firsthand of the health issues many women are up against during their lifetime, and often the money invested in the tech is decided upon by those same individuals. This emergence of female-led businesses is an indication that things are changing.
One of the many complex reasons for this may well be the fact that women now have more opportunity and access to the resources necessary to be independent, to develop the required knowledge and skills, to start their own companies. They don’t have to wait, and quite frankly, are probably fed up with waiting for anyone else to take the initiative.
Another reason behind the growth lies in the decision-making and purchasing power of the target audience. In the average household, the highest percentage of purchase decisions are made by women. This, combined with the gradual rejection of societal taboos regarding women’s health is helping to drive momentum.
FemTech Analytics is a company that monitors and gathers data to help interested parties stay ahead of the developments in this nascent industry. Their latest Landscape Overview from the end of the last quarter had some interesting and not entirely unexpected data to share.
The overview showed that the largest subsector is pregnancy and nursing which accounted for 68% of total market capitalisation. The use of technology to maintain the continuation of the species seems to be fairly well established — a clear reflection of the society we live in — where women’s lives have been and are still dominated by this preoccupation and responsibility.
It is interesting to note that according to the analytics gathered, the numbers for menopause-focused tech within the global femtech ecosystem are still low. We can guess the reasons for this. A key thought is that the demographic that would be interested in the use of tech to manage their menopausal experience right now have less affinity with tech in general. We are more likely to see a rise in this sector over time as the following generations who rely on the convenience that technology brings and are comfortable with it develop into this stage of life. Of course, another reason is the simple fact that we are only just touching the edges of the research in this field. As more is revealed, certainly technology will find a way to embed itself and provide some version of support.
We want to celebrate this emergence and showcase some of the exciting, new companies that are carving out a place for themselves in the industry.
Flo Health – Flo began life as a period and cycle tracking application but has since gone on to be able to offer deeper insights and support in terms of menstrual as well as general health and wellbeing for women. The accurate cycle predictions help those planning to conceive and daily health insights can be tailored for the user. The community hub provides a safe space plus the most advanced guidance from the in-house team of scientific and medical experts and practitioners.
Willow – Willow is a wearable breast pump that offers hands-free, 360-degree mobility as well as spill-proof bags to collect the milk. The pump can be paired with a mobile device and can therefore be used to track milk production in real-time. Its compact design and quiet mechanism allow for discreet pumping for nursing mothers even while they are on the go.
Joylux – Offering a platform of high-tech devices such as the vSculpt to improve pelvic floor strength and digital tools like vFit sessions to help with and address menopause-related health concerns. The company was founded by Colette Courtion. It provides a platform that works through a combination of collating and providing access to menopausal health data, science-based products to help alleviate menopausal syndrome, and community insights.
Ovira – Ovira have developed a medical device, called Noha, that helps users manage the pain associated with menstrual cramps. The two compression pads are placed over the nerve roots supplying sensory fibre to the uterus. The pads then send low-level pulses which can block pain signals and allow for a more comfortable period experience.
Gabbi – Founded by Kaitlin Christine, Gabbi have developed healthcare software that accurately predicts a woman’s 2-year risk for breast cancer and provides her with the resources to access community support. The platform has a risk assessment model that employs the use of AI to make predictions.
These are just a few of the amazing innovations that are out there and we are only touching the tip. We’ll be keeping a close eye on developments in this space and are excited about the prospect of working with more femtech founders to get more focus and attention on the work they are doing. If this sounds like you, why not get in touch?