Head of FemTech Analytics
Historically, technology is a field dominated by men. This is about to change. Female health technology, known more simply as FemTech, encompasses software, products and services, and diagnostics that use technology to improve women’s health. FemTech aims to improve and support women’s health, including but not limited to those who identify as cisgender women and sexual minority women. About 52% of the FemTech market consists of solutions for pregnancy and nursing, reproductive health and contraception, and menstrual health; however, it is not just limited to these categories.
The FemTech marketplace includes a wide variety of technology-enabled health and wellness services for women. These include general health care promotion and preventive care, sexual and menstrual health, reproductive health and contraception, and pregnancy and nursing. Sexual health is a fast emerging sector with new mobile app solutions that help women obtain contraception and innovative hardware to achieve orgasms; prevent, test, and treat sexually transmitted diseases (STDs); and access sex education tools and resources.
Other areas include pelvic and uterine health care, mental health, menopause, longevity, and women’s wellness. The mental health subsector of FemTech has seen a rise during the COVID-19 pandemic. It includes technologies and software to improve emotional, psychological, and social well-being. It affects how women think, feel, and act. Сompanies focusing on mental health also help women to work out how to handle stress, relate to others, make choices, and find empowering solutions.
Valued at $40.2 billion in 2020, the FemTech market is expected to grow to $75.1 billion by 2025, at a CAGR of 13.3%. Despite increased interest from investors, the industry still remains underinvested; hence, it has a huge potential for growth. The USA is the undisputed leader in FemTech. Accounting for nearly 51% of the total number of FemTech companies, it beats other countries by a wide margin.
The reason female health care has garnered so much attention in recent years is that there has been a shift in the socio-cultural paradigm. As a result, many topics that were previously ignored can now be openly discussed. Increased awareness, early self-detection, and better management of illnesses by women of all ages have resulted in an increase in demand for technological solutions. Up until now, this demand has not been fully satisfied.
The FemTech Industry is a diverse and rapidly growing market that includes early-stage start-ups, middle-market companies, and publicly traded companies. However, 85% of all FemTech companies generate less than $10 million annual revenue each. As of December 2021, the total market capitalization of 28 FemTech publicly traded companies was almost $70 billion. The pregnancy and nursing subsector is the largest public sector and accounts for 68% of total market capitalization.
Opportunities in FemTech
The paradigm shift and the breaking of the taboo around female sexuality and reproduction are helping the industry to thrive and providing the basis for its future growth. Female health issues are becoming less stigmatized. Society is now ready to discuss topics related to menstruation, female sexual health care, and menopause. The growing presence of telehealth is allowing women greater access to health care services at different stages of their lives.
Integrated solutions can revolutionize perceptions of women’s health care and help monitor the health of women at every life stage. Joint forces and industry consolidation will move the FemTech topic to the next level and help raise awareness among investors.
The fourth wave of feminism and the empowerment of women are making FemTech even more pervasive. Women are now increasingly pushing for equality in all aspects of life, including the workplace and health care. Since women are dedicating themselves much more to their careers, they are deciding to have children later on in life. More and more women are thinking of themselves as individuals with their own needs rather than simply as people fulfilling certain socially prescribed roles such as marriage and motherhood. Therefore, they want to take care of their health in every sector, including general health care, sexual health care, emotional wellbeing, pregnancy, fertility, and a lot more. The quality of women’s health care needs to be improved to meet these demands.
Opportunities exist in all subsectors of FemTech, especially mental health and Longevity. Start-ups that address a less-discussed health topic and deliver on solutions for unmet needs can garner the funding and attention crucial to success.
Start-up accelerator programs have created spaces to help early-stage start-ups choose their route to start-up funding and mentorship. This allows founders to pick the brains of successful entrepreneurs who have conquered the same hurdles as them. However, despite the growing opportunities in FemTech, entrepreneurs and founders must contend with myriad challenges, too.
Since most investors are men, their lack of understanding of female health care needs makes them reluctant to invest in female-related products. Women’s health still takes up only a small percentage of all tech investments and accounts for only 4% of global funding. Venture capital (VC) investments in FemTech crossed $1 billion for the first time only in 2021.
Other challenges include:
The complexity of getting public support on products considered “taboo.”
Insufficient R&D funding.
Gender health inequality.
Lack of education and awareness about unmet women’s needs.
However, FemTech as an industry is still in its infancy, and with more companies coming into the space, demand from consumers to support female health, and the success of FemTech companies, investors will begin to realize there is a great opportunity in investing in women.
The road ahead
The FemTech Industry is new and brimming with growth potential. This allows for enormous gains with moderate levels of risk. FemTech offers early investment opportunities, giving investors a chance to gain a more significant, pre-emptive market share with differentiated returns. Investing in FemTech not only provides financial returns but also fulfils a social purpose.