Gender disparity is not new to ears. To look at all the corners, women have been and are still affected due to financial vulnerability, unequal access to education, and disproportionate facilities; and Healthcare is no immune to this fallout. Female infanticide, malignant neglect of women’s sexual- and reproductive health, downplay of girl’s nutritional needs, and whatnot, for so many years women health and experiences have been discounted.
However, recent years witnessed some of the palpable and concrete movements that highlighted the importance of women’s healthcare needs. The newly diverted attention of stakeholders in the healthcare and biomedical sectors zeroed down to women’s needs has helped to bring the solutions to mammoth of a task.
As an increase in research, awareness around women’s reproductive health, and dissolution of stigma gained traction, it led to the emergence of an altogether fascinating domain – FemTech (or female technology). Peeping into the history a bit, the term- FemTech- was coined by the entrepreneur and founder of the period tracking app Clue, Ida Tin, who also happens to be a traveler throughout the whole of her life and wishes to set the standard treatment paragon in women sexual and reproductive illnesses.
FemTech is a market or a domain that revolves around software, diagnostics, products, and services that leverage technology often to focus on women’s health. In short, it can be termed as digital women’s healthcare. The FemTech market is brimming with period-tracking apps, fertility solutions, women’s sexual wellness, pregnancy, and nursing care, and menopause care. The industry is observing numerous startups exploiting software, wearables, mobile applications, innovative technologies, etc., to focus on women’s health.
At present, there are around 100+ startups in the FemTech market with a primary focus on female care at each stage of their lifecycle depicting the youthful stage of the FemTech market. Let us have a look at major areas where the emerging FemTech Market is making inroads:
- Menstruation and Period Care
For most women across the globe, menstruation is the most dreadful time of the month. Period Tracker Apps such as Gazella, Clue, Glow, Maya, Ovusense, Natural Cycles, etc. are defining Women’s Health. These are user-friendly free applications that allow users to monitor the period cycle along with the symptoms during each cycle.
Innovative wearables such as period underwear (Thinx) and Menstrual Discs (Flex) have made it easier for the woman to handle the difficult days. Many startup companies are also helping women during their menstrual time by providing several consumables and products to ease their menstrual routine.
- Fertility and Birth Control
FemTech startups have always kept a keen focus mostly on issues such as fertility, pregnancy, and birth control. Famous self-tracking application companies such as Ava, Kindara, Miracare, etc., have raised massive growth in the past few years. These are the innovative startups that help me tracking monitoring or even testing pregnancy. Inne provides an innovative saliva test to track the most fertile days of women. A number of online wellness platforms such as Apricity, Prelude, Univfy, Progyny, Ovia Health, Kindbody, Carrot Fertility, etc., provide 24 hours support to women along with providing services of expert consultations.
- Pregnancy and Post-Pregnancy
A huge number of mobile applications, wearables, and online wellness platforms currently on the table in the women’s healthcare market are helping pregnant women through their pregnancy. A Tallinn-based app, Velmio, generates information based on the data of the users and analyses lifestyle data from a diverse range of pregnant women. Peanut app works as a Tinder for pregnant women. It is an app for mothers to chat to, meet up with, and learn from like-minded women.
Similarly, applications such as Lucina, Naya, TotoHealth, Bonzun, Smartbeat, Pregnascan, etc., are helping pregnant women to manage their lifestyle and take care of their own selves. Bloomlife, HeraMed, etc., are some of the online wellness platforms where pregnant women can connect with their doctors.
- Breastfeeding and Breast Health
The FemTech market size has swelled up due to numerous wearables that help maintain breast health and ease down breastfeeding. Elvie, a UK-based company, has innovative breastfeeding pumps and a pelvic floor trainer. It is one of the most successful FemTech startups over the past decade. LactApp is a breastfeeding startup helping women deal with the problems around breastfeeding.
Coroflo, a new company, is a breastfeeding startup. It has an innovative breastfeeding monitor inside a nipple shield that indicates how much milk the baby is drinking.
Other apps such as Mamava, Lansinoh, Mighty Mom, Posture Wings, iSono Health, Niramai, NursElet, Pacify, help in maintaining breast health.
Unfortunately, very few startups in the FemTech market are addressing the concern of menopause. Menopause is a complex time. Women can experience some 40 different symptoms depending on lifestyle as well as genetic factors. Kandy Therapeutics is developing a non-hormonal treatment for menopause symptoms. Gennev is an online clinic for women in menopause where they can connect with experts at any time.
Elektra Health, a New York-based startup, is developing a menopause platform to help women navigate their health care journey. There are many companies providing consumables and products for women in menopause to manage their symptoms, such as Madorra, Joylux, Kindara, Pause, Damniva, etc.
The women’s health market or more preferably FemTech market is booming with the advancements in technology as women shifted their rationale towards using technology and AI for their health benefits. The market has witnessed an increasingly mounted number of startups taking an interest in the domain, which is further set to grow imminently. With the women population representing around half of the world’s population, the FemTech market has a lot of scope in terms of the patient pool to cater to, and this is expected to raise the growth and business opportunities.