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MedTech
6 minutes read

What Is FemTech?

By Robert Kazmi
By Robert Kazmi
MedTech
6 minutes read

If you are interested in MedTech, you might have asked, what is FemTech? The FemTech sector is surging within the greater MedTech market and drawing much attention and interest from the investment community. FemTech startups have been consistently raising venture capital, and in 2021, venture capital investment in FemTech companies totaled more than one billion dollars. 

The term FemTech has become a buzzword in the media and medical industry, but FemTech products and companies create real value for women’s healthcare. This post will explain what FemTech is, why the FemTech industry is growing steadily, and some of the criticisms of the term FemTech. 

Understanding FemTech 

FemTech is a term used to describe MedTech specifically designed to address women’s health. FemTech companies are involved in app development and creating other tech-enabled products that address women’s health issues. One of the driving forces behind many FemTech startups is the historical exclusion of female health in the broader healthcare industry. 

Some of the most common women’s health issues addressed by FemTech and historically underserved or valued in our healthcare industry are:

  • Menstruation 
  • Birth control
  • Reproductive health
  • Pelvic health
  • Menopause 
  • Pregnancy 
  • Post-pregnancy 
  • Breastfeeding 
  • Sexual health 

The FemTech sector seeks to address the entire lived experience of women. The earliest FemTech startups started with sexual health and menstruation, which are two women’s health issues that are notoriously difficult for young women to get quality, judgment-free care. Since then, the global FemTech market has expanded significantly to include many other apps and products aimed at women’s health. 

Examples of FemTech 

Narrowing down what products are FemTech products can be difficult. However, most market analysts agree that FemTech products must address an actual medical need. Therefore, this definition excludes most skincare and beauty products from FemTech. Common examples of FemTech apps include period trackers like Clue, one of the first FemTech apps developed. 

Recently, there have been innovations like wearable breast pumps that help women pump breast milk without removing clothing or going to a separate room to pump. Innovations like this help women, especially women working in an office or on a job site, continue their daily routines without losing time to pump. 

Other examples of FemTech include NextGen Jane, a smart tampon system designed to help women identify potential disease earlier, and Ava Women, a wearable bracelet that collects and tracks key data points related to fertility. 

Why Is the FemTech Industry Growing Now? 

In general, we have seen a strong consumer appetite for wearable technology and consumer-facing MedTech apps. The sad reality is that women’s health has long been overlooked and underfunded. One great thing about startups and app development is that overlooked and underfunded spaces are often great business opportunities. Bearing that in mind, it is not surprising that the global FemTech market is surging. 

However, there are some other reasons why the FemTech market is experiencing growth and investment interest, including: 

  • Awareness and acceptance of women’s health issues
  • Increased representation in the venture capital industry
  • Large fundraising from FemTech startups

Awareness and Acceptance of Women’s Health Issues 

Without awareness and acceptance of an issue, it is impossible to develop solutions to address it. Increased awareness and acceptance of women’s health issues have driven the development of FemTech solutions to solve them. In turn, FemTech apps and products increase the visibility of women’s health issues and drive further development and investment. 

Increased Representation in the Venture Capital Industry 

There has never been more diversity in the investment industry. More women are represented in VC than ever before. As a result, there is more awareness of women’s issues, more investment interest in FemTech, and more innovations in the FemTech sector. Representation is an important part of awareness. Without representation, it is difficult to gain awareness of issues affecting underrepresented communities. Now that more women have a seat at the VC table, there is a greater awareness of women’s health when it comes to investment opportunities.  

Large Fundraising from FemTech Startups 

Nothing gets investor attention more than a large, successful round of fundraising. The FemTech market is experiencing a large amount of growth because there are several startups raising significant funds. In the past year, FemTech startup Flo raised 50 million dollars in its Series B round of funding. Plus, Maven Clinic brought a lot of visibility to the FemTech sector when it became the first-ever unicorn in FemTech after raising over 100 million dollars in its Series D round of funding. 

While the three points we just covered offer a lot of reasons to be excited about FemTech, there is still a lot of room for innovation and growth in the industry. Current estimates figure that only 4 percent of all healthcare research and development is aimed specifically at women’s health. FemTech might not be as overlooked as it once was, but it is still underfunded, and this creates a lot of opportunities for innovators and sharp investors. 

Criticisms of FemTech 

The term FemTech has faced a fair share of criticism. Critics argue that the term does not include trans, non-binary, and other gender-nonconforming individuals who experience these related health issues. Other people are concerned that using the word FemTech only further alienates women’s health issues and positions men as “the norm.” 

Finally, some people believe that using a term like FemTech will encourage a “pink tax.” The “pink tax” is used to describe price discrimination based on gender. For example, many of the razors sold to women are the same as those sold to men, but they are sold at a higher price to women. The counterargument to the “pink tax” regarding FemTech is that these products are not the same just rebranded for women, but rather, they are wholly unique products designed specifically for women. 

While women’s health is an issue everyone can agree is important, there is a debate about using the word FemTech. Therefore, it is essential for businesses trying to enter this market to understand the greater cultural context so they can successfully market their products. 

Final Thoughts 

There is a lot to consider when building a healthcare app. If you need help navigating the complexities of HIPAA compliance and app development, reach out to an experienced app development partner. A partner can help you understand your regulatory requirements, design a product that fits your brand, and develop a world-class application. We hope that this post has given you some insight into the question, what is FemTech?

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