Although it’s just January, the JP Morgan Health Conference and CES have already wrapped, giving us a glimpse of rising interest in FemTech. The women's health sections at both conferences were larger and more active than ever before. Plus, everyone from Frost & Sullivan to the CTO of Amazon are saying FemTech is going to be a major trend in 2024, alongside generative AI! And although we don’t believe FemTech is a trend, more of a market transformation, we do have some predictions for 2024. Based on countless conversations with innovators, scientists, policy makers and clinicians, plus our own work with early stage FemTech founders through Femovate by Guidea, we’re expecting to see significant innovation in:
AI-powered screening tools that utilize biomarkers and biometric data to identify early signs and conditions such as postpartum depression, endometriosis, and PCOS, enabling early intervention and treatment. Early Femtech companies in this space include Thyia, AIMA Laboratories, Tulipon by Gals Bio, the Q-Pad by QVin, and EXO Technologies.
More AI powered tools, but this time to assist providers in selecting the optimal therapeutics, tests and referrals for their patients. Companies like Celeste Health are already innovating in this space.
Telehealth, teletherapy, shared medical appointments and virtual support groups are making healthcare more convenient and accessible, particularly for those in healthcare deserts and underserved populations. Notable early stage companies in this space include Health In Her Hue, Elanza Health, Betty's Co, and Bloomful.
FDA approvals for medications addressing conditions like postpartum depression, hot flashes, incontinence, and interstitial cystitis are a significant step forward. Additionally, more medical devices and SaMD FemTech startups, such as HyIvy are expected to address conditions that have been consistently dismissed and ignored in the healthcare system.
AI-powered cancer screening algorithms are improving the early detection of breast, cervical, and other cancers. Femtech companies like Deeplook Medical and iSono Health for screening dense breast tissue, Thyia for at-home cervical cancer screening, and Auria which uses tears to screen for breast cancer are leading in this space. Genetic testing offerings like Juno Genetics, and personalized risk assessment strategies, like the Advanced Breast Cancer Risk Calculator are also expected to expand.
Innovative products in continuous hormone monitoring, including connected devices, smart panties, patches, and implants, are offering a new way to track and manage not only reproductive health but autoimmune disorders that disproportionately affect women, such as Lupus, RA, and IBS. Women's health companies like Eli Health, Impli, and academic researchers are making strides in this area.
Early stage FemTech companies like Peli Health and HappySneeze are working to destigmatize pelvic health issues, offering solutions for conditions like painful sex and incontinence. Innovative technologies, including virtual reality biofeedback and smart Kegel trainers, are making pelvic floor exercises more accessible and engaging. More advances are expected in therapies and medical devices, like the new gynothotics offered by Cosm Medical, to treat incontinence without surgery.
While AI-based IVF solutions have leapt ahead, fueled private equity investment, we’re seeing a shift towards a more holistic look at the fertility journey. Early screening means conditions like endometriosis, PCOS, and hormone imbalances affecting fertility can be identified early. Companies such as Fertilitae and Proov empower women to understand their bodies before seeking fertility treatments.
Expanding beyond fertility and contraception, women's hormonal cycles are now being incorporated in physical and mental well-being apps. For example Noom, the weight management app, has a new pathway for women in perimenopause and menopause, and apps like Essence and Flo Living use personalized cycle data to create custom daily routines. We're expecting to see more leading health apps in the market integrate with cycle tracking apps and wearables and use that information to customize their existing offerings. We expect to see the wearable market for collecting that info evolve as well, with wearables designed primarily for women, like Incora Health's smart earrings.
Consumers aren’t the only group seeking support with tricky health issues. Employers and payers are becoming increasingly aware of the impact that postpartum health, menopause and chronic conditions like endometriosis and severe menstrual pain can have on employees productivity and wellbeing. Companies like Partum Health have created a care system for expectant parents, and SaaS company Ludo has built a HR tool for employers to effectively prepare, coach and retain new parents. Other companies like Bloom and Hinge Health and Grokker offer their programs directly to employers.
Personalized symptom management using wearable devices to track sleep, hot flashes, and mood shifts have emerged. Online platforms and social groups like Elektra Health are connecting women in menopause to share experiences and resources, combating social isolation. And innovations in therapeutics are advancing as more research around menopause is conducted, including the newly FDA approved drug for hot flashes and Osteoboost, the first prescription medical device to treat low bone density.
FemTech is slowly but surely reducing the stigma around female pleasure, addressing issues like low libido, pain during sex, and body image concerns. Tech-enhanced intimacy apps and devices are also gaining traction. Notable products and services breaking the taboo of women’s sexual wellness include Rosy and Ferly.
We are also hoping to see a concerted effort to improve maternal health outcomes for all women, particularly for women of color. The mortality numbers for BIWOC in the U.S. are inexcusable. Black women in America are three times more likely to die from pregnancy-related complications than White women, a disparity the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention attributes to factors including underlying chronic conditions, structural racism, and implicit bias. Innovations and new standards of care are desperately needed. Companies like IRTH, Mahmee, RiskLD, Health In Her Hue, Health Evolve, Diana Health, BB Imaging, Ciconia Medical, and Armor Medical are all working tirelessly to improve maternal health, and we hope to see even more innovation in 2024.
It’s a new year and we’re on a powerful trajectory to reshape the entire health industry with female-centric health products. The time's right to explore options for differentiating an existing product for the female gender, or create a unique solution for an unmet need. Contact Guidea, The FemTech Design Agency, to explore ideas, tap our massive research repository of insights from real women, and we can work together to design the next advancement in women’s health.
Whether you're a seed-stage startup looking to improve your UX design or an enterprise organization seeking higher adoption and retention, we've got the experience to help you succeed. Meet with us and discuss your business and product goals.