FemTech is considered a thriving new market that can improve women's health outcomes and open new opportunities for companies within the ecosystem. However, the women's health industry has often experienced a lack of funding and faces other hurdles before it can take off.
In this article, we focus specifically on the FemTech industry, its trends, and business challenges for 2023-2024 using data from our interviews with industry players.
Find out the insights our respondents shared with us based on their entrepreneurial journeys.
FemTech encompasses <medium>tech solutions that address women's health conditions and needs<medium>, including fertility, mental health, pelvic and sexual health, pregnancy, childcare, menstruation, menopause, contraception, and other general conditions. It refers to a range of products and services including applications, medical devices, wearables, diagnostic tools, and more.
The term "FemTech" was introduced in 2016 by Ida Tin, the founder of a period-tracking app currently used by millions of women worldwide. Tin is among those who pioneered the concept of FemTech as an <medium>autonomous business space<medium> and brought together everything related to women's health under one umbrella term.
Since Ida Tin coined the term, FemTech has experienced rapid growth and has already proven itself as a distinct business space.
Growing awareness of the unmet women's health needs drives technological advancements within the industry. The global <medium>FemTech market shows exponential growth<medium>, projected to reach $103 billion by 2030 from $51 billion in 2021, according to Statista.
However, entering this unsaturated market may seem both simple and complicated at the same time.Let's take a look at some of the challenges that a startup journey for a women's health product might involve.
Freshcode has been thoroughly analyzing healthcare trends and challenges, specifically focusing on the FemTech industry. We have decided to conduct a deeper investigation of this area by researching the pain points of both businesses and clients directly through <medium>a series of interviews with women's health entrepreneurs.<medium>
Let's discover these first-hand insights, existing statistics, and industry analytics about the most painful issues experienced by the HealthTech market.
Historically, the women's health tech industry has been <medium>overlooked and underfunded by investors<medium>. FemTech startups are still viewed as a niche investment opportunity and funding in this sector has a lot of catching up to do when compared to other healthcare fields.
There has been a recent surge of interest and investment in the FemTech industry, particularly in fertility, maternal health, and sexual wellness fields. As an example, Progyny, a fertility benefits management company, went public in 2019 with a valuation of over $1 billion. By 2022, its market capitalization had grown to $4 billion. Another example is Cayaba Care, a digital platform that provides affordable at-home care for soon-to-be moms, that raised $12M in Series A funding in 2022.
However, despite the recent surge of interest and investment, overall funding for FemTech still lags behind other healthcare sectors. This can make it<medium> challenging for startups to gain traction and scale up<medium>. Implementing digital solutions in healthcare requires significant resources, which can slow down progress.
Being relatively young, the <medium>FemTech industry remains under-researched<medium>. Only 4% of healthcare research and development funding is allocated to issues that directly affect women's health and wellness.
The lack of representation in clinical trials has a negative impact on the understanding of female physiology, health conditions, drug efficacy, and the side-effects. FemTech companies face challenges regarding incomplete data on women's health and struggle to create effective products.
Therefore, it is not surprising that 84% of women feel unheard in healthcare settings, with their pain often being dismissed and their conditions often misdiagnosed.
Given these challenges, the primary task is to <medium>bring together the entire ecosystem<medium>, including practicing clinicians and healthcare professionals, to support FemTech founders in developing valuable products and great user experiences. The industry needs further development to access more resourceful data, which is critical for any startup's innovative tech product and its customers.
The other downside is that FemTech doesn't get enough attention from society to address highly relevant issues. This is due to a number of reasons, including:
Many female-specific topics, such as postnatal depression, were avoided to be openly discussed quite recently. Fortunately, today the situation is different and despite the described challenges, there are various innovations seeking to redress the prenatal (before birth) and postpartum (after birth) needs.
<medium>The wave of female empowerment is actively breaking taboos and misconceptions<medium> surrounding women's health. Such topics receive significant attention mostly through social media and first-hand storytelling.
However, not enough has been done yet to debunk myths and the lack of diverse representation of women's health challenges hinders the success of the industry development.
he good news: there is growing recognition of the importance of the FemTech industry and its potential to support the diversity of women's experiences.
Specialists note that the "male-dominated VC industry is waking up" as more entrepreneurs join FemTech. Emphasis on addressing health inequities and tackling stigmatized conditions is expected to boost the industry in the coming years.
Here are eight other factors that can bring FemTech to a new level.
In 2023 FemTech is actively driving technology-enabled innovations and bringing value and significant practical results, including but not limited to the achievements mentioned in the McKinsey article:
Whether it's virtual clinics such as Midi Health or Tia, brick-and-mortar clinics such as Kindbody, or direct-to-consumer delivery services such as Natalist or The Pill Club, all consumer-centric services should <medium>enable women to access care in a more convenient way.<medium>
Wearable devices, such as health trackers and remote patient monitoring devices offered by companies like INNOVO or Bloomlife, as well as at-home diagnostics like those provided by Modern Fertility, are examples of new solutions that enable women to <medium>practice self-care with clinically-proven tools<medium> and take greater charge of their health.
The rapid introduction of new technologies, including bioinformatics, business intelligence software, and AI-guided decision support tools, is transforming the healthcare industry and providing numerous benefits, such as <medium>better access to data, increased capacity, reduced costs, and improved access to health treatments.<medium>
Taboos and stigmas are one of the main reasons why women hesitate to seek help. They can often reinforce beliefs that debilitating symptoms are 'normal' or something that must be endured. Such 'prohibited topics' also hinder female founders from freely discussing their agenda.
Despite these issues, FemTech companies are bringing <medium>historically stigmatized topics<medium> such as menstrual health (Thinx period underwear), sexual wellness (Rosy), or menopause (Elektra Health) to the forefront of today's healthcare.
<medium>Delivering culturally safe and sensitive care<medium> is a crucial mission of patient-centered care. It is care that meets the social and cultural needs of diverse patient populations. For example, such tailored solutions are emerging for Black women and women of color (Health in Her HUE) and women in low- and middle-income countries (Kasha).
Women's health issues have been overlooked for years, but today there are various innovations seeking to address this gap. In the coming years, this sector is expected to continue thriving.
The development of <medium>effective, sustainable, and valuable women's health solutions<medium> will bring positive change to the industry through research, collaboration, knowledge-sharing, and innovation. This applies to all specialists involved in developing FemTech products and services.
Women are not just consumers but the top decision-makers for themselves and often for their families. Improving women's health outcomes will lead to better outcomes for society.
Therefore, do your best to develop great products, and don't hesitate to ask questions or seek consultations with subject-matter experts.