You’ve heard of FinTech and EdTech, so let us reintroduce you to FemTech, a relatively new market taking the innovation economy by storm.
Femtech is a term that refers to products, services, wearables, and software that use tech to address women’s health. It covers everything from fertility, menopause, menstruation, maternal health, and sexual wellness. Yes, we are talking about issues that impact a lot of people – 50% of the world’s population to be precise.
FemTech uses technology to bring much-needed services and products to the market. Focused on women’s wellness, the industry provides much-needed solutions to real women’s real experiences. It’s a pretty new concept. Coined in 2016 by Danish entrepreneur Ida Tin, the new industry is challenging the sexism and stereotypes at the heart of the tech industry.
Not only is this female-led, female-focused industry long overdue, but it’s also highly lucrative. As the healthcare industry moves towards precision medicine, FemTech solutions are becoming increasingly sought after.
In 2017 it was reported that the total funding raised by FemTech companies since 2014 has reached $1.1 billion. A Frost and Sullivan study predicts the industry’s value rising to $ 9.4 billion by 2024.
However, according to Forbes, FemTech companies still face challenges raising capital, and women’s health issues still continue to be a taboo. And, of course, that’s mainly to do with who has the power to write the big checks. Just 10% of global investment is in female-led startups and 94% of decision-makers in US venture capital firms are men.
Still, there are talented female founders smashing that glass ceiling. Meet 10 kick-ass women bringing much-needed and long-overdue innovation to the women’s health and wellness industry.
Having suffered from bacterial vaginosis, Beatrice Dixon decided to take her destiny into her own hands and founded her company The Honey Pot back in 2014. The Honey Pot is a plant-derived vaginal wellness line. The company’s success made Dixon amongst the first 40 women of color to receive $ 1 million in venture capital funding. Her all-natural products have won awards from Essence as well as Cosmetic Executive Women. Every year The Honey Pot donates 2% of its sales to charitable organizations.
Find out more about Beatrice here.
One half of the mother-daughter powerhouse behind Thermaband, Dickenson’s smart wearable device provides an innovative and long-overdue solution to women going through menopause. Using state-of-the-art machine learning algorithms, Thermaband measures and regulates temperature all from the wrist. With three ivy-league degrees between them, Debbie and her daughter Markea are providing innovation by women for women. features in Forbes and Cosmopolitan, Thermaband has gone through a successful round of funding with backing from Google for Startups. Debbie was inspired to create Thermaband by her own struggles with hot flushes and night sweats as a premenopausal woman.
Find Debbie here.
Self-proclaimed “Chief Estrogen Officer” at Femly, Arion Long is tackling misogyny in the tech and business world with humor and grace. Having suffered health complications linked with chemicals in the period care she was using, Long set out to revolutionize access to organic menstrual hygiene products. Femly, founded in 2016, is a dispenser that provides free products in school and corporate restrooms. Backed by Overlooked Ventures and Debut Capital, Femly is growing as it takes the country and the female hygiene market by storm.
Check out Arion here.
Goldman-backed healthcare startup Mahmee has recently raised a $ 3 million seed round from Serena William’s VC fund Serena Ventures as well as from Mark Cuban. In May, Mahmee, which is in its sixth year of existence, closed a $ 9.6 million Series A funding round with Goldman Sachs. Inspired by her mother’s work as a labor and delivery nurse, Melissa and Linda Hanna founded Mahmee together. Connecting hospitals, doctors, health systems, and maternity providers such as doulas and lactation consultants, Mahmee is providing a tech-enabled solution to gaps in the healthcare system. Bringing all of these healthcare practitioners together elevates the level of care for expecting or new mothers and newborns.
Follow Melissa on Linkedin here.
CEO of VagiPlug which she founded back in 2018, Teneha Brown is determined to address women’s vaginal health issues caused by irritants in bath and self-care products. After suffering from frequent vaginal infections and sick of the gap in the market for products to address her struggles, Brown decided to invent the change she wanted to see. VagiPlug manufactures medical-grade silicone feminine hygiene products that help prevent vaginal infections. Teneha Brown is breaking the taboo of talking about vaginas and periods in board rooms.
See what Teneha is up to here.
Georgia State University alum Ellen McCray is on a quest to help more women have pain-free periods. Her early-stage startup ONYX is diving deep into solutions to create natural, science-backed, on-demand products to eliminate period pain. ONYX is looking to shape the future of FemTech, by solving problems with its products. They have started with addressing something fifty percent of the population can relate to: period pain. The company recently revealed the first functional iteration of its debut product. The re-imagined CBD suppository was created out of a need for more mindful reproductive healthcare products. This hormone-free, prescription-free approach to period relief, was 7 months in the making.
Check out Elle here.
Aiko Pickering only recently graduated college, and in 2020 she founded her for-profit social impact startup, Monthly, to raise awareness about period poverty and provide menstrual products to those who need them. Selected as a finalist for the Alabama Launchpad competition, Monthly is doing the Gener8tor’s Prosper Health Teach gBeta accelerator and successfully launched a pre-order and social media campaign. Pickering is continuing to work hard to get Monthly to a full launch by early 2023. As a gender-inclusive company, Monthly wants to bring awareness to the magnitude of period poverty and the range of people it affects. As Monthly grows, Pickering hopes to expand to other cities in Alabama, ending the stigma of periods one pack of tampons at a time.
Find Aiko on LinkedIn here.
Founder of the New York Times featured company, Poppy Seed Health, Simone Taitt is revolutionizing the way women access doulas, midwives, and nurses in the US. Seven million people in America live in a maternal care desert currently. Taitt’s mission is to bring pregnancy to telehealth and telehealth to pregnant women, Poppy Seed is an app that women download to chat with a medical professional within seconds. Providing support for any stage of the pregnancy journey from pregnancy, to postpartum and loss, Poppy Seed is about personal care on demand. In its pre-seed funding stage, Poppy Seed Health has raised $ 1.6 million from City Light Capital, Metrodora Ventures, and Alexis Ohanian’s Seven Seven Six.
Keep up with Simmone here.
Founder and CEO of Health in her Hue, Ashlee Wisdom is a public health innovator committed to achieving a more equitable healthcare ecosystem. Named a 2021 Top 50 in digital health by Rock Health for health equity advocacy, Wisdom is on a mission to create a more just healthcare system. Health in Her Hue connects black women digitally with culturally sensitive healthcare providers, striving to reduce racial health disparities for women. Health in her Hue completed its seed round in early 2022, with investment from Healthworx.
Follow Ashlee on LinkedIn here.
Setting out to ‘REDefine’ feminine hygiene starting from the teens, Williams co-founded the RedDropCo back in 2019. As mothers and businesswomen, co-founders Monica Williams and Dana Roberts founded RedDropCo to provide their daughters with the products, information, and empowerment missing from the period market. With natural period products designed in Atlanta, period workshops, and period prep classes, RedDropCo is making the transition from girl to woman fun and exciting for your teenage daughters.
Check out Monica’s LinkedIn here.
Main Image: CEO of Poppy Seed Health Simmone Taitt