Femtech. It’s an “emerging term,” according to researcher Frost & Sullivan, and as is the case with most new concepts, is poorly understood.
Femtech is arguably an awkward topic for some male freelancers, executives and investors. It can be equally awkward for some women, too. We are human, and still largely awkward and prudish when it comes to – talking about, well, our bits. But that is changing as more female-led Femtech startups are pitching the sector’s praises to female and male investors and reiterating that this is a massive health sector opportunity- its target market just happens to be women.
The convergence of technology and health is nothing new. The surge in focus on women’s health and technology is. Why? For one, the medical research behind female-focused studies has been overshadowed because their needs and reactions to health issues were assumed to be the same as male study participants.
The data doesn’t lie
“Only 2% of publicly funded research in the UK is dedicated solely to reproductive health, despite data suggesting that almost a third of British women will suffer from reproductive or gynaecological health problems during their lifetimes,” states a news report by recruitment site, Welcome to the Jungle.
The report also highlights that researchers have conducted five times as many studies into erectile dysfunction, which affects 19% of men, than premenstrual syndrome, which affects 90% of women.
Pair this medical divide in gender-related research with the fact that most investment decisions at venture capital firms and angel funds are made by males and it is apparent that an education exercise must take place to address women’s health as a separate entity and health sector opportunity.
The Battle to Do Better: collaboration is key
This is not a Battle of the Sexes argument. It is a health sector debate. If you look ‘under the hoods’ per se of the female and male anatomies – they are radically different. Female versus male hormonal makeups are different. The genders age differently. Even symptoms to heart attacks, for example, are not the same between men and women. Too many assumptions have been made in medical research and women are not getting the healthcare they need. Would most men be satisfied or even willing to take a drug that was developed for women, and mostly tested on women?
We all want the best care for the women in our lives– from wives, girlfriends, daughters, sisters, mothers, grandmothers, to aunts, friends and co-workers. That’s the driver here- we should all want the women in our lives to be healthier and happier, and if it requires an entire sub-sector of the healthcare industry to be created and coined Femtech to address it – for now – then so be it.
Femtech, much like every other tech-enabled business, requires equal gender and racial collaboration to reach as many customers as possible. That is just good business sense.
So, now that we have got the gender issue addressed, let’s get to the exciting bit – the solutions, the technology, and the amazing people behind the Femtech startups because that’s what freelancers want to know.
How big is the Femtech market?
Frost & Sullivan believes this “unique space is a place for new growth opportunities” and has the potential to cross $8 billion by 2020 and even $9 billion by 2024 (without considering the potential for cancer or pharmaceutical solutions).
Femtech segments through venture capital funding in the US amounted to $1.69 billion in H1 2019, according to the researcher. The solution formats include medical devices, wearables, apps on smartphones or services (and in some cases, a combination). To get a broader idea of what Femtech can cover, please check out our list below.
However, given the number of companies addressing female health and mental awareness that have raised funds or launched since the Frost & Sullivan report came out in January – looking largely at the North American market – the opportunity is much larger in scope.
If you are a freelancer or contract worker with a healthcare background and even perhaps one better – medical experience with female health, then you may want to look into this growing sector and see where your skills and experience might prove invaluable to a startup. And if you are just intrigued by the untapped potential that this sector could have, then your passion could also lead you to a very interesting career change to Femtech.
Breathe ilo: a German company that has just started operations in the UK. Its ovulation detecting device and the connected mobile app measures the hormonal changes that naturally occur during the female menstrual cycle and the altering CO2 levels in a woman’s breath. CO2 levels are transmitted to the device and then transferred to the app. The device can be purchased for €215 or can be rented out.
Peanut: is an app for mothers to chat to, meet up with, and learn from like-minded women. Founded in London in 2016, but with international users, Peanut is dedicated to building a network for mothers that share common interests and location. The app saw a surge in users during the UK lockdown as women were eager to get the latest advice from fellow mums-to-be and those that had recently gone through birth during the pandemic. At the time of writing, Peanut was on the hunt for a Performance Marketing Lead to design, implement, and optimise their performance marketing campaigns to drive user acquisition and activation.
Coroflo – Coroflo, a medtech firm based in Dublin. The company has developed the world’s first breastfeeding monitor. Currently, only established method of measuring breastfeed is pre- and post-feed weighing, which many say is inaccurate. The Coroflo device helps new mothers understand how much milk their babies are getting, with real-time data tracked on their phone.
Kheiron: Cancer screening, diagnostics and artificial intelligence company based in London. Here is a video about the careers and different skills beinghired at the startup. The company is a winner of the first UK Government Artificial Intelligence (AI) in Health and Care Awards. The funding will accelerate the roll out and rapid adoption of Mia (Mammography Intelligent Assessment) to address critical challenges in breast screening services in the UK.
Freda: Organic menstrual products and home delivery business
Caia: Australian on demand healthtech platform for women & families.
Modibodi: a Sydney-based company that produces leak-proof undergarments.
Myoni: A menstrual cup products company.
Bloomertech: A wearables tech company that has developed beautiful bras that monitor cardiovascular activity.
Mighty Menopause: US vitamin supplements business for menopausal and perimenopausal women.
Zayacare: a maternal care mobile app that provides virtual and in-home services including mental health. Women get 24/7 chat access to Doulas and Midwives and can also schedule in-home visits.
Have a femtech business and want to be part of an accelerator? Apply now to FemTechLab’s accelerator – the first of its kind – here.