These past few years the term FemTech -short for female technology- has become a buzzword in startup ecosystems around the world. On investors’ lips and in founder pitches FemTech refers to technology specifically geared towards the needs of women. In essence, any application, device, product, diagnostic and service providing for the needs of women’s health.
According to Frost & Sullivan’s report the FemTech market is expected to reach $50 billion by 2025. The potential is huge for a market that remains widely underserved as women health issues are still considered taboo by many. Sexual wellness, menstruation care, fertility issues, pregnancy care, hormonal, pelvic and menopausal health concern all together 50% of the global population but represent only 3% of US digital health deals since 2011.
Women have also long been excluded in clinical research. R&D focused specifically on women’s health accounts for only 4% of overall funding for healthcare products and services. In comparison 2% of the total funding goes to specific research on prostate cancer. Most diseases have male-specific research but the reciprocity is not true. However, the prevalence of diseases such as Alzheimer, depression or even autoimmune illnesses is far greater in women than men. Founders in the FemTech space are paving the way towards new opportunities to collect and use women’s health data, noticeably for medical research purposes.
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Below you will find a mapping of 170 companies contributing to removing stigma and starting conversations around women health topics. The founders of these companies should be seen as much more than FemTech leaders, they are brave women and men (yes!) acting as pioneers in spaces where health issues have been left unaddressed because of unbreakable taboos.
11 areas in women’s health have been mapped out for a comprehensive understanding of the FemTech space.
General Healthcare: any company focusing on the global prevention, treatment or diagnostic of illnesses and conditions that affect women’s physical or emotional well-being.
Top pick: Bloomer Tech’s technology is seamlessly embedded into women’s bras to read metrics such as the electrocardiogram, pulse rate, respiratory rate, heart rhythm, and more. USA, founded in 2017.
Cancer Care & Prevention: companies taking action to lower the risk of getting cancer or providing specific treatment to a person diagnosed with cancer.
Top pick: Lattice Medical uses bio-engineering to treat breast cancer survivors. ‘Matisse’ breast implants consist of 3D printed biomaterials and allow a natural reconstruction of the breast. France, founded in 2017.
Menopausal Health: companies addresing symptoms caused by menopause (the time that marks the end of women’s menstrual cycles).
Top pick: Olivia, your digital menopause guide that helps you track symptoms, see trends and get tips on what to do to feel better. Sweden, founded 2019.
Pelvic Health: companies ensuring the best possible functioning of the bladder, bowel, and reproductive organ.
Top pick: Syrona Health, a personalised digital health platform for chronic gynaecological and uterine conditions. UK, founded in 2018.
Hormonal Health and Birth Control: companies tackling hormonal imbalance illnesses including alternatives to hormonal contraception. UK, founded 2018.
Top pick: Cirqle Biomedical, created a non-hormonal contraceptive for women. “Oui” is a capsule that provides, after insertion, effective hormonal health & birth control for up to 24 hours. Danemark, founded 2018.
Pregnancy Care: health and wellness solutions designed for pregnant woman.
Top pick: Mae is a digital health platform that elevates the standard of care for Black women, with a focus on improving maternal health outcomes. USA, founded in 2020.
Postnatal Care: individualised care provided to meet the needs of a mother and her baby following childbirth.
Top pick: Nest Collaborative is a provider of on-demand lactation counseling services intended to offer a collection of international board certified lactation consultants who conduct online, video appointments to help guide moms through the breastfeeding process. USA, founded 2017.
Fertility Solutions: companies providing treatments in response to the inability of women to reproduce by natural means.
Top pick: Juno Bio, uses machine learning and bioinformatics to analyse and predict vaginal microbiomes’ impact on female fertility. UK, founded in 2018.
Fertility Tracking: solutions enabling women to track fertility symptoms.
Top pick: Moonly observes the different symptoms of fertility (cervical mucus and basal body temperature) which indicate ovulation and thus make it possible to identify fertile and non-fertile periods. When well practiced and learned, this method is more than 98% effective in contraception. France, founded in 2020.
Menstruation Care: companies providing solutions to improve women’s menstrual hygiene management and associated hormonal imbalances.
Top pick: Artemis is developing a wearable smart clothing concept to reduce menstrual pain by micro-vibrations and by regulating heat release to the body. Hungary, founded in 2020.
Sexual Wellness: companies developing positive and respectful approaches and products to enhance physical and mental well being in connexion with sexuality.
Top pick: Puissante, modern sexual wellness toys. France, founded in 2020.
[MAPPING] 170 companies breaking taboos.
If I accidentally missed you out, just drop me an email.
As a woman, but also a tech and innovation enthusiast I am thrilled to see more and more founders engaging on a journey to reduce the women’s health gap. As a venture capital investor, I feel our duty as investors is to fund companies serving health equity and not simply addressing consumer market opportunities. To move the needle, we need to support founders creating products and services which are actively breaking taboos. We should also provide these founders with safe spaces and community access to help them set their steppingstones for success.
Working at Citizen Capital is a wonderful opportunity to support entrepreneurs on a mission to facilitate health access for women across the world. Citizen Capital is a pioneer in impact investing and funds projects with a strong social and/or environmental impact. I’m proud to be on board and looking forward to funding entrepreneurs who are actively breaking taboos.
Please reach out if you’d like to discuss any related topics.