FemTech, a term coined by Ida Tin, the Founder of the period tracking app, Clue, encompasses a diverse array of products, services, diagnostics, and software. Its mission? To harness the power of technology to meet the distinctive healthcare needs of women.
The FemTech sector goes beyond addressing isolated health issues; it strives to comprehensively embrace the full spectrum of women's experiences. FemTech has previously been narrowly defined as menstrual health, breast feeding, fertility and maternal health. But is actually a broad industry that encompasses health issues unique to women and people AFAB, as well as general health conditions that can affect women disproportionately, like autoimmune disorders and dementia, or in a way substantively different than men are affected, like cardiovascular health.
The sub verticals of FemTech are generally defined as:
Beyond the immediate advantages for treating women’s health issues, FemTech is also enhancing our scientific understanding of female physiology and capturing data on women’s physiological and mental health, where little or no data exists today.
While FemTech currently occupies a modest corner of the healthcare market, its growth trajectory is explosive. McKinsey estimates that by 2040, the global FemTech market could soar to a trillion dollars. At Guidea, we believe this estimate is actually on the conservative side and we will hit that number closer to 2030.
FemTech is poised to serve 50% of the world’s population, a population who have been historically underserved. It is impossible to accurately predict the demand for, say, menopause solutions, where few or no solutions have existed previously. And statistics reveal that women are inclined to spend 29% more per capita on healthcare compared to men, and they are 75% more likely to leverage digital tools for health-related information. A huge population, pent up demand, and control of the healthcare spend in the family all point to a rapidly expanding consumer and patient market.
In addition to the female consumers, millions of medical professionals, institutions and payers will invest in FemTech solutions for early diagnosis, early intervention and more effective medical interventions for the most widespread, debilitating and expensive health issues experienced by women.The untapped potential within the FemTech sphere is undeniable.
Yet, FemTech companies have had to contend with significant obstacles, chiefly in the realm of funding. Shockingly, only 3% of the 2,278 health deals between 2011 and 2020 were allocated to FemTech projects, underscoring an immense missed opportunity. One major challenge lies in pitching these innovations to predominantly male investors who may not fully grasp, or be comfortable speaking about women’s health issues and needs.
"Many people just aren't comfortable talking about menstruation, menopause, breast health, hormone health, pelvic health, etc., despite half the world's population being women," said Theresa Neil, founder of Femovate by Guidea, in an interview with Forbes. "Women's health isn't the only taboo topic in health, but for reference, Facebook bans female sexual health ads, but permits plenty of ads on men's sexual health."
To unlock FemTech's full potential, an urgent need exists to diversify representation within the Venture Capital sector. Enhanced female presence in investment circles will translate into increased funding and greater prospects for FemTech to revolutionize healthcare. Fortunately, multiple newly formed VC groups are emerging to start filling this need including: Avestria Ventures, Cross-Border Impact Ventures, FemHealth Ventures, and True Wealth Ventures.
In addition to Venture Funds, multiple incubators, accelerators and sponsorships such as FemTech Lab, Tech4Eva, and Guidea’s own program, Femovate, are playing a pivotal role in catalyzing the growth and success of FemTech startups. Much like programs like Alchemist and Y-Combinator, these specialized initiatives offer a comprehensive array of support and resources to empower FemTech founders and advance the FemTech market.
For example, our program Femovate is gifting $1M of product design and product research services to 50 early stage FemTech start-ups to create effective go-to-market strategies, deliver innovative products, complete clinical research, package findings for regulatory and quality review, and ultimately release commercially viable products to market.
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. Here are our predictions for the advances we expect in FemTech this year. Read the full article here including names of early innovators for each topic.
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.
* Data Sources:
Cardiovascular: Cardiovascular Health
Menopause: Menopause Market
Menstrual Health: Menstruation Market
Mental Health: Women's Mental Health
Reproductive Health: Planning/Contraception
Urinary Health: Incontinence | UTI
Uterine Health: Uterine Fibroids
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