What is FemTech?
The FemTech category includes digital health software, hardware, and technological solutions designed to solve women’s problems. Most often, they include reproductive health, gynecology, pregnancy, child care, as well as sexual health, menstrual care and menopause.
FemTech began to grow thanks to advances in biotech and med tech. Given the structural features of the female body. The focus of FemTech companies can extend far beyond preparation for pregnancy and childbirth. Capturing all aspects of women’s health and its care in the medical system.
In addition to technology companies in terms of product or service, traditional products, such as feminine hygiene products, also fall into the FemTech category.
Main categories and players
Menstrual tracking and care
The Guardian recently released that talks about how Tampax and Always are losing the battle to greener and more conscious d2c brands for the millennials and Gen Z. The latter want to buy products that speak their language, with a mission and social responsibility that weren’t seen in the demo. Female blood like some blue slime in an ad.
The Cora brand has grown from a Kickstarter project to support girls’ personal care products in developing countries. Now their products are available in the US national supermarket chain, but sales have begun from an online store. They invested $ 7.5 million.
Valentina Milanova, a 24-year-old founder of the Daye brand, crossed a swab with CBD. (an extract of their marijuana that reduces pain and does not cause side effects). The startup raised $ 5.5 million and opened production in London in a former biscuit factory.
Another manufacturer of organic tampons and pads This is L. is a B-corporation, that is, a non-profit organization. They and their competitor Sustain were bought by P&G and Grove Collaborative last year. The transaction value is estimated at $ 100 million. An interesting category of new zero-waste products. Reusable underwear for menstruation Thinx, Knix, FEMPO, discs. That allows you to have sex and not get dirty all around Flex and Nixit.
Interest is growing in companies at the intersection of menstrual health and pain medications, such as FLO Vitamins and Elix. Around popular applications for tracking the cycle like Clue or Flo ($ 20 million). There are discussions about the storage and sale of data. But they cope with the negative, transmit their values and privacy policies. Chelsea Women is the first football club in the world to adapt the training program to the players. Menstrual cycles to increase efficiency and avoid injury.
The first subcategory that can be defined here is startups. That determine the stock of eggs and better understand when to plan your pregnancy using a home blood test. The darling of the media Modern Fertility (received $ 15 million and support from Forerunner Ventures) and the European counterpart Adia made the previously available only in the laboratory and for a lot of money analyzes as simple as ordering pizza.
Texas-based startup EverlyWell went even further and raising $ 50 million offered a host of home-based tests for food sensitivity, metabolism, vitamins, and more for women. LetsGetChecked ($ 42 million) diagnoses sexually transmitted diseases. An interesting idea to combine menstrual care and tests came from Nextgen Jane. That promises to identify possible diseases through a smart swab and collect people who menstruate for beta testing the product.
A large number of new companies appear in the segment of the cycle tracking and determination of ovulation. The company where I work, Mira Fertility has patented hormone quantification technology through a home urine test. Ava Bracelet ($ 40 million investment) measures 5 indicators, including body temperature. Kegg has invested the crowdfunding platform Indiegogo and created a device tracking cycle through the discharge in the vagina (cervical mucus), including working as a kegel simulator. Berlin startup Inne has not yet released a product but received € 8 million to analyze saliva hormones.
Information about when ovulation happened exactly can be used not only for conception but also for protection. Therefore NaturalCycles ($ 36 million) offers not only an application but also a thermometer as an alternative to birth control pills. They are the only FDA-approved means for digital protection. But many clients have complained that they still became pregnant using this method.
Egg-freezing projects are growing like mushrooms. That promises women the opportunity to plan a pregnancy when they want it, and not when it’s time. The technology has become available relatively recently and has many contraindications and possible consequences. But the most famous of Kindbody projects (a total of $ 31.3 million investment) popularizes the service through pop-up points in fitness centers, promo bass on the streets and at women’s events. In addition to egg freezing, Extend Fertility offers IVF and builds strategy through b2b sales and corporate benefits
This year, for the first time at the main CES innovation exhibition, it became possible to participate in companies producing vibrators (but sex robots and VR pornography were passed without problems). A new wave of women-based companies is offering design and technology. That takes into account all aspects of the female body.
For example, Lioness helps answer the question “So was it an orgasm or not?” by collecting data from sensors and visualizing pleasure on a smartphone in the form of graphs. Also, the resulting biofeedback is used to personalize the speed and pace of vibration for the individual characteristics of the user using AI.
Crave creates sex toys in the fashion category, elegant vibrating pendants, and rings that can be worn to work and parties without hesitation. Maude is stylishly packaged and natural lubricants, condoms, and other sex products, without kitsch and vulgarity. Dame introduces many innovations into their vibrators and toys for couples, calling for a close gap between female and male pleasure.
In the content segment, O.school sex education platforms and applications for supporting Rosy libido (the other day raised $ 1 million), meditation for masturbation Emjoy and audio erotica Dipsea ($ 5.5 million investment), Quinn, Ferly, lessons for couples were launched OmgYes. Many of them were removed from the Play Market as pornographic, although in the store you can find many toys with naked girls that can be influenced by tapping the screen. After months of negotiations, the founders of companies with Google, they still returned.
These projects see their mission as normalizing the conversation about their sexuality, accepting the importance of female pleasure in partnerships and creating a safe and comfortable environment for discussing sexual issues. The founder of the UGC platform for sex videos Makes Love Not Porn wants to create an entire SaaS Eco-system and fund for startups in the SexTech category with affordable servers, streaming, fintech tools and so on.
In the United States, the healthcare system is so confusing and not friendly that the new generation simply cannot figure it out. Therefore, startups are trying to change the system and offer modern solutions. Tia Clinic is a combination of gynecological centers, applications, home analysis subscription with a cool design and humane positioning.
Virtual British clinic Syrona allows you to get answers to your questions from doctors without leaving your home. Allbodies is a women’s health education platform that helps teens with stigma and trauma. Queerly Health specializes in helping the LGBTQ community and works with several medical providers in the United States.
Another Berlin chatbot Super Izzy has a large database and with the help of machine learning helps women quickly get answers to questions about contraception, the cycle, reproductive health. The founder of the startup is a doctor who wants to help women be more educated about their bodies and health.
The general trend for preventive medicine and a holistic approach (a holistic view, not a treatment for symptoms) opens up a category for projects like Norka Health and the Maven Clinic Women’s Clinic, which recently raised $ 45 million from funds including Sequoia. In fact, the company works with medical providers and creates understandable and comprehensive programs for women, from pregnancy planning to pediatric medicine. Even the giant Mayo Clinic decided to create a holistic division of the Center for Women’s Health.
Obtaining a prescription for medications related to the genitourinary system is often not so easy. You need an expensive appointment with a doctor who can’t be booked for any day. someone is simply embarrassed or does not find the time. Companies like Nurx ($ 93 million investment), Hers ($ 140 million), The Pill Club ($ 57 million), Rory / Roman (formerly Mentech, $ 176 million) optimize access to them through telemedicine. Ritual, Natalist ($ 5 million) sell vitamins to prepare for pregnancy and expectant mothers by subscription.
This is the most traditional and understandable category in the segment with mature players and products. Among the interesting and new companies, it is worth mentioning that Elvie, who has raised $ 48 million in investments and the largest FemTech startup in Europe. It has two products at the moment: a stylish breast pump and a skittle-trainer for recovering vaginal muscles after childbirth.
The Peanut social network for pregnant women and mothers trying to get pregnant ($ 5M investment) is a new form of classic forums in the format of a mobile application. So as not to feel isolated and be able to discuss all issues including with experts. A similar Chinese startup, BabyTree, with an investment of $ 450 million, went public in 2018.
Helps with breastfeeding social network for the search for dairy mothers Pumpspotting, milk delivery for the businesswoman Milk Stork. Various smart monitors are becoming popular, helping to regulate the sleep of the baby and parents like Owlet.
Gynecological equipment (FemTech)
Here you can note the Swiss startup Aspivix, which develops modern, safe and painless equipment for clinics. This is at the stage of the Yona design concept. Designed to replace the terrible metal apparatus for gynecological examination.
A very important category that needs to be emphasized, since it has never been given due attention. Usually, people are over 45 and what happens to them is not very interesting for the media, but the situation is changing. Symptoms of menopause affect 75% of women and can last from 2 to 10 years. British KaNDy Therapeutics creates alternative hormonal therapies that do not involve a huge number of side effects.
The Gennev Online Clinic specializes in precisely this stage in a woman’s life and plans to conduct the largest Zeitgeist study of menopause with 6,000 participants. The founder believes that now in medicine there is not enough information about this phenomenon and how to stop symptoms.
Elektra Health is also a navigation platform for surviving perimenopause and menopause. More than 80% of women are prone to nervous disorders, mood changes, memory problems, etc. However, 75% of those who need medical care do not receive it. Elektra begins to receive patients in its virtual clinic this year.