Nov 16, 2023
 in 
Trends

The Femtech Revolution: A Deep Dive into Market Growth, Investment Patterns, and Future Disruptions

Author
Ivelina Niftyhontas
I

nterest in femtech has seen a significant rise in the past few years, with VC investment reaching over $1 billion in 2022. Although femtech represents just 2% of all healthtech investment, Dealroom reported that in 2023 femtech companies are now worth upwards of $28 billion, a clear indication that this is a booming industry with potential. Current forecasts predict that this rapidly growing industry will be worth $103 billion by the end of 2030.

It was not until 1993 that women started being included in clinical research trials for new medications, meaning that until recently, there was a huge gap in knowledge of female physiology and the effects of medications on the female body. 

According to studies that analyzed the effect of drugs on men and women, women experienced stronger side effects than men in more than 90% of case studies. So it’s no surprise that research on women’s health has been growing rapidly in the past decade.

What is femtech?

The term “femtech” was first coined in 2016 by Danish entrepreneur and author Ida Tin, who is the co-founder and CEO of the popular women's menstruation-tracking app, Clue. Tin came up with the term while brainstorming for a word that referenced companies building in women’s health so that it would bring legitimacy to male investors.

Femtech stands for female technology, and refers to companies offering a variety of products or services concentrating on women's health. This includes menstrual and reproductive health, pregnancy and childbirth, sexual wellness, menopause, and conditions specifically impacting women disproportionately or uniquely.

The industry can be broken down into 6 leading segments within the healthtech space:

  • Reproductive Health
  • Pregnancy & Nursing
  • General Health & Wellness
  • Oncology
  • Gynecological Health
  • Nutrition & Health Supplements

Why invest in femtech?

Growing market

As femtech evolves and expands, some categories are starting to overlap and redefine themselves. For instance, Maven Clinic initially focused on maternity care and expanded across the reproductive life cycle, while Peppy, initially addressing postpartum challenges, now also tackles issues related to menopause.

Positive social change

Investing in women's healthcare overall, has the potential to drive positive social changes across the healthcare ecosystem and beyond. 

For instance, menopause, a stage when women often assume senior roles, can impact the number of women in leadership positions and enhance the quality of women's experiences within organizations.

Early mover advantage

Early movers can capitalize on opportunities by using technology to address women's health issues beyond reproduction and meeting the needs of underserved populations. As noted by McKinsey, femtech also presents significant partnership opportunities for traditional sector players, demonstrated by L'Oréal's partnership with the period-tracking app Clue. 

Femtech has the potential to reshape the competitive landscape as the industry gains momentum and attracts more investors.

Rising interest

Women exhibit a 75% higher likelihood of using digital healthcare tools compared to men. Particularly post-Covid-19, apps have gained popularity as effective tools for managing varying symptoms related to menstruation, fertility, and menopause. 

Women’s healthcare is quickly becoming a priority, and femtech presents the perfect opportunity to bring together capital with talent and address a gap in the market.

Disruption

A report by McKinsey shows that femtech companies have the potential to disrupt healthcare across various segments.

  1. Care delivery: Companies like Tia (virtual clinics), Kindbody (innovative brick-and-mortar clinics), and The Pill Club (direct-to-consumer prescription delivery) facilitate more convenient and consumer-centric access to healthcare for women.

  2. Self-care: Femtech solutions, such as trackers and wearables from Bloomlife and at-home diagnostics like those offered by Modern Fertility, empower women to take greater control of their health and related data.

  3. Diagnoses: Clinical diagnostics companies, such as DotLab addressing endometriosis and Sera Prognostics focusing on preterm birth, are pushing scientific boundaries to meet unmet medical needs.

The Funding Landscape

VC investment in femtech startups has shown an upward trajectory over the past decade, with a notable surge in investment in 2013 and reaching a peak in 2021. However, starting from 2022, investment levels decelerated, potentially influenced by shifting market dynamics and cautious investor behavior, but still remained higher than in 2020.

Globally, North America maintains its position as the leading region for femtech VC investment, followed by Europe. North American femtech funding witnessed a nearly two-thirds decline from 2021 to 2023, while EMEA demonstrated relatively better resilience with a 50% decrease.

Top distribution of FemTech companies by region (Q4 2022):

  • 47.8% in North America
  • 26.4% in Europe
  • 12.6% in Asia

Dealrooms and Speedinvest mapped 440+ startups across 12 categories, concluding that the General Health & Wellness niche has received the most funding between 2018 and 2023, a total of $2.2 billion, followed by Reproductive Health and Contraception, and Oncology.

The Chronic Illnesses segment is at the bottom of the list, with only $17 million in funding.

On the other hand, early-stage funding for femtech startups look slightly different. In 2022, early-stage startups collectively raised 145 million, down 44% from the all-time-high $259 million in 2021. However, in 2023, investment is projected to be 13% higher than in 2022.

The Reproductive Health & Contraceptive segment dominates the top position in early-stage funding, raising a total of $386M between 2016 and 2023, followed by General Health and Wellness, and Menstruation Care.

Some of the top VC firms in the world were also the biggest femtech investors over the past few years. Let’s take a look.

The top 5 US-based investors in femtech between 2018 and 2023:

  1. General Catalyst Partners

  2. BoxGroup

  3. Perceptive Advisors

  4. New Enterprise Associates

  5. FirstMark Capital

At the moment, the only two regions with femtech unicorns are  North America and Europe. However, according to Dealroom data, there is a growing pipeline of potential global unicorns.

These are the 7 femtech unicorns at the moment:

  • Ro Health - valued at $7 billion
  • Myovant Sciences - $2.7 billion
  • Progyny - valued at $2.7 billion
  • Kindbody - valued at $1.8 billion
  • Flo - valued at $1 billion
  • Maven Clinic - valued at $1.3 billion
  • LetsGetChecked - valued at $1 billion

VC funds and angel investors investing in femtech

So who else is actively investing in femtech? The funds and angel investors below are almost exclusively investing in women-founded companies and minority founders.

Female Founders Fund

An early-stage fund investing in technology companies founded by women.

Portfolio companies include: Gabbi, Oula Health, Hearth

Location: USA

BBG Ventures

Early-stage fund backing female founders with big ideas that will reshape the way we live.

Portfolio companies include: SuperCircle, Millie, treet

Location: USA

Serena Ventures

Invests in early-stage companies with an emphasis on overlooked and underrepresented founders.

Portfolio companies include: Halp, Juno Medical, Zitti

Location: USA

RH Capital

Women-led social investment company who use our skills as investors and voices as advocates to create sustainable change in Women’s Reproductive Health

Portfolio companies include: Bloomlife, OUI by Cirqle, NURX, YourChoice Therapeutics, Ovia Health

Location: USA

Amboy Street Ventures

Invests in startups that are creating the vital technology that meets the Sexual Health and Women’s Health needs of our progressive society.

Portfolio companies include: Gennev, Dame, Dipsea, Aunt Flow, Contraline

Location: USA

FemHealth Ventures

Supporting and investing in the increasing adoption of this broader definition of women’s health and the exciting new treatments it will engender.

Portfolio companies include: BioAesthetics, Trefoil Therapeutics

Location: USA

Coyote Ventures

A venture capital fund investing in early stage startups that are innovating in women’s health and wellness.

Portfolio companies include: Hera Biotech, Wile, Maude

Location: USA

Angel investors

Julia Che

Check size: $50k

Location: USA, Global

Catherine Lee

Check size: $50k-$100k

Location: USA

Halle Tecco

Check size: $25k

Location: USA

Lauren Henson

Check size: $10k-$50k

Location: USA

Femtech resources

Femtech Insider

Femtech Insider is the leading media platform for everything femtech and women’s health innovation. There is a ton of information you can access and a weekly newsletter. There’s also several services on offer like Startup Scouting and Consulting.

Femstreet

Femstreet is another great media platform, with weekly content on female founders, builders, and investors. The weekly newsletter includes articles from female business professionals on entrepreneurship, web3, pitch advice, how to raise financing, operational tactics, and more.

FemHealth Insights

FemHealth is the ultimate data center for stats on femtech companies and founders. It’s run by a team of scientists, entrepreneurs, healthcare executives, and seasoned femhealth founders. Their goal is to grow awareness of female health concerns and catalyze investment in research, innovation, and product development for solutions that improve women’s quality of life. They also run a podcast called FemTech Focus.

To sum it up, there’s a clear surge in femtech funding, research, company formation, and public awareness. In the coming years we can expect to see a rise in tech-enabled solutions focused on menstrual health, fertility, contraception, and other general health conditions. The opportunities for researchers, founders, and investors are evident, so keep an eye on this space!

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