The term “FemTech” was coined by Clue CEO Ida Tin who said, “FemTech will not be a term referring to ‘women in technology’ but rather as an expanding category of technology that serves the vast opportunities that exist for female health.”
This sector encompasses software, diagnostics, products and services that use technology to improve women’s health. For many years, women have adapted to technology and medicine that was not created with the their genetic makeup in mind. This is partially due to the lack of female representation in clinical research. The FemTech movement is taking a step towards focusing on women’s health.
FemTech is still growing and evolving. There is an increasing call to meet the healthcare needs of the LGBTQ+ communities, regardless of how a person identifies, who may have difficulty accessing the medical care and information they need. FemTech as an inclusive sector is gender agnostic, not female founder focused, and continues find ways to address the needs of underrepresented populations.
Many FemTech companies were founded to solve health and wellness issues that women of all backgrounds have experienced firsthand but the available market options had not contained a solution. Founders and entrepreneurs in this space have left their established careers to build profitable organizations that address women’s issues that are as old as time.
What’s hot in FemTech right now?
As an early stage sector, the opportunities for growth and innovation within FemTech are endless. According to Rock Health, a full service seed fund, the major segments are:
- Fertility: $36 billion market, solutions that address health needs associated with period health/tracking and trying to conceive. The fertility industry has been projected to reach $41 billion in sales by 2026. These solutions can also help women with self-monitoring throughout the process of conceiving.
- Pregnancy/motherhood: Solutions that focus on assisting mothers from the point of conception through birth and across the newborn period. Additionally, a variety of mobile apps can assist women throughout their pregnancy and keep them connected to their healthcare professionals.
- Sexual and gynecological health: $63 Billion Market, Solutions that encompass healthcare services related to routine gynecologic care, sexual education, sexually transmitted infections (STIs), menopause and pelvic health.
- Chronic disease: Solutions that target chronic conditions requiring ongoing care (e.g., cancer, heart disease, depression) which are not exclusive to, but prevalent among, women
- Lifestyle/wellness: Solutions that center around mind and body wellbeing, as well as social factors to develop a comprehensive and multidisciplinary approach to holistic health.
Did you say there are opportunities in FemTech?
Yes, the past few years, we have witnessed the rise in FemTech. Five years ago, the funding received by this sector had barely reached $100 million. Through 2019, the FemTech industry has received more than $500 million in funding. According to Frost & Sullivan, the FemTech market has the potential to reach $50B by 2025.
Women make up more than 50% of the population, control on average $10 trillion a year in US spending, and 80% percent of household health care spending is done by women and yet there are countless health and wellness issues that women of all backgrounds and some non-binary people face that are unmet. Although this fact is disappointing in 2020, this means the future opportunities are vast for FemTech. These groups are ready for solutions that meet their specific needs. The increase in funding is a sign that these solutions are around the corner. Every FemTech company that raises money is opening a door for another FemTech company right behind it.
What challenges does the FemTech sector face?
Despite the potential and opportunities for these solutions, this sector remains underfunded as it accounts for only 1.4% of capital that flows into healthcare. Market challenges include:
- Lack of women decision makers
- Societal taboos surrounding women’s health issues
- Absence of awareness among women in rural areas
- Lack of scientific studies to back industrial claims
What about 2020 and FemTech growth?
In the Q3 2020 Pitchbook Analyst Note, it was reported, “The industry has generated just over $376 million in venture capital across 57 deals so far in 2020, putting the year on pace to match levels from 2019. FemTech’s large market opportunity, conducive regulatory environment, and health IT advancements, among other factors, provide a positive outlook for the segment.”
One of the many things that 2020 has brought forward is that people are ready for change and ready to be represented. The FemTech community is full of innovation and entrepreneurs who believe in the work they are doing. Even during a global pandemic, individuals and communities within the space continue to raise awareness and bring women’s health to the forefront – a testament to FemTech’s necessity.