By Dana Jacoby
The small sector delivering big impact
Despite occupying just 3% of the healthtech market, femtech, a sector focused on women’s health technologies, is rapidly expanding. Here we explore what femtech actually is, its role in addressing the gender health gap, and its impact on healthcare investment.
What is Femtech?
Femtech, short for female technology, includes a range of products, apps, and digital services focused on women’s health and well-being. From menstrual cycle trackers to sexual wellness apps, femtech addresses various aspects of women’s health that have been historically underrepresented in medical research and technology.
The term was only coined in 2016, making it a relatively new sector for investment. Despite this, femtech health has seen rapid growth due to technological advancements, increased demand, and a growing awareness of the gender gap in health as well as venture capital allocation gender disparities. In 2022, the femtech industry was estimated to be worth $5.79bn, and is projected to reach $20bn by 2030.
The impact of Femtech on women’s healthcare investment
Bridging the gender health gap
The rise of femtech companies is having a net-positive impact on the focus and investment in women’s health more broadly.
It is well known that women face a gender gap in health and medical care. Women have only been required by law to be included in research and clinical trials funded by the US National Institutes of Health for 30 years, and this lack of inclusion has resulted in poorer health outcomes for women and minorities when compared to men.
According to US claims data from 2019 to 2022, for every one woman diagnosed with a women’s health condition, roughly four go undiagnosed. For men with men’s health conditions, this drops to just 1.5 to one.
The increasing investment in femtech not only aims to bridge this disparity but also signifies a broader shift towards more equitable healthcare. By focusing on conditions uniquely or predominantly affecting women, femtech companies are filling critical gaps in understanding and treating women’s health issues.
Examples of femtech firms include Flo, which offers personalized insights into menstrual and reproductive health, and platforms like Balance Menopause, which support women navigating the complexities of menopause.
This heightened attention is empowering women to take control of their health with tailored solutions and is encouraging a more inclusive approach in medical research and healthcare services. This transition towards a more balanced healthcare ecosystem is a key victory for women, and also a step forward for global health equality.
Addressing the funding gender gap
In 2020, only 2.3% of total venture capital funding was allocated to female-led startups. In healthcare however, there was a slightly higher level of diversity, (albeit still significantly below parity). The female-owned share of digital health funding was 13.26% in 2022, compared to 8.75% in 2021.
This growth is being powered by large femtech companies that are female-owned in more than 70% of cases. As a result, the number of women receiving venture capital and investment opportunities is increasing, and further awareness is being raised about the gender funding disparity, and the need for a huge uptick in the funding being offered to female investors.
The future of women’s healthcare investing
Femtech’s growth signifies a crucial shift towards more inclusive healthcare and investment, paving the way for a future where women’s health is no longer sidelined.