Women, technology, reproductive health… These all seemed concepts that were impossible to merge in the male-dominated digital world. But the arrival of FemTech has proven that it’s not only possible but also profitable.
There are currently over 200 FemTech startups worldwide, many of them founded and run by women.
These innovative startups have the potential to evolve into an industry of almost €45 billion by 2025 according to data published in 2018 by US consultancy firm Frost&Sullivan.
What is FemTech?
The name was originated in 2016 when Clue app founder Ida Tin coined this term for apps tackling female reproductive health.
FemTech companies have been responsible for a real boom in innovative solutions to women’s health problems like fertility solutions, reproductive health care, fertile days and menstrual cycle monitoring, prenatal and postnatal care, menstruation healthcare products, wireless breast pumps, and even clothing or gadgets to relieve menopause symptoms.
During 2020, the importance of directing FemTech beyond reproductive health is being increasingly emphasised. Many FemTech companies try to analyse other problems besides those concerned with reproduction that affect women differently than men, or to which they are more prone such as Alzheimer’s, immunodeficiencies, or certain kinds of cancer.
This innovative industry means that a new domain has opened for technology and big companies such as Fitbit and Apple are beginning to become aware of the importance of women’s well-being and aim at becoming FemTech leaders.
FemTech has not only brought about improvement to women’s health; it goes beyond this concept and is opening the tech labour market — which was up till now dominated by men — to plenty of female entrepreneurs, developers, programmers, and creators. For this reason, FemTech companies and FemTech leaders are increasingly being related to feminist movements.
Top 5 FemTech Startups
We’ll now analyse some FemTech startups which are representative of the wide scope covered by this flourishing industry.
Please note: this list is Yeeply’s selection of FemTech startups. It’s not a comprehensive list and the order of the businesses included follows no specific criteria.
#1 Cirqle Biomedical
Based in Copenhagen, this company has created a non-hormonal contraceptive technology for women: OUI.
It consists of a capsule that dissolves and releases its components after being swallowed. Its goal is to provide an effective and safe hormone-free contraception method. It’s effective straight away from the moment it enters the body and lasts until a day after being ingested.
Contraceptive technology is an alternative to hormonal birth control, which has a long list of possible negative side effects such as mood swings, headaches, or anxiety.
Cirqle was founded in 2018 with the help of Dr Ljudmila Katchanhas and has since raised a total of €1.6 million that is being invested in preclinical development with a view to launch it commercially in the future.
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#2 Lattice Medical
This French startup uses bioengineering to treat women who have survived breast cancer.
Statistically, 40% of these patients undergo a mastectomy to remove the tumour but only 14% of them get breast reconstruction. Lattice Medical has begun developing a bioprosthesis that enables women who have overcome this cancer to win back their former bodies and lives.
These implants are made from 3D-printed biomaterials that — when implanted — enable the breast’s natural reconstruction by triggering the regeneration of the patient’s adipose tissues. The device breaks down completely within the patient’s body without leaving any trace or toxicity once its role has been properly performed.
It’s a safer and more comfortable alternative to the silicon-based breast implants in use today. Lattice Medical has been operative since October 2017 and has already raised €2.3 million for research funds.
This app was born in 2018 in Barcelona under the guidance of Andrea Oliver. It focuses on the problems that women may face when it comes to exploring and enjoying their sexuality.
Through a personalised experience and by using tools such as autoeroticism and pleasure awareness, the app aims to help women get more acquainted with their sexuality and improve their sexual satisfaction. Sensual narrations and online advice are also offered to enhance important aspects of self-esteem such as self-confidence and self-acceptance.
All the app’s contents are in an audio guide format. Emjoy is available on both Google Play and Apple Store.
This app was created by Michelle Kennedy in London in 2016.
Peanut is designed to help mothers meet other mothers within their community and ease the flow of similar ideas and information sharing.
The idea behind this app doesn’t match the common idea of a chat as a search tool for sex dating or casual interactions. The app promotes meetings between mothers from the same city and its objective is to create a network of women who share the same interests and locations.
Either through its chat or meetings, it encourages them to meet — with or without children — other women living nearby with similar circumstances and share experiences and points of view.
This FemTech app was included on Apple’s best 2017 apps list.
Apricity is a FemTech app that follows the traditional format and subject associated with this kind of company.
This startup offers virtual fertility clinic services and assistance by expert advisers on pregnancy issues through its app. It aims at improving the chances of pregnancy for both women and couples with conception difficulties. They use artificial intelligence to design personalised fertility treatments based on all the information collected from each case.
Apricity works with fertility clinics that are well known for their high success rates, their professionals’ medical excellence, and their commitment to patients.
The project was kicked off in London in 2016. It was founded by Caroline Noublanche and developed shoulder to shoulder with the world’s leading IVF experts. As of yet, it has already raised over €6 million.