Talking point: Woman’s hour – why the time is right for femtech

What is femtech?

It’s healthtech that’s aimed specifically at women. According to KPMG the market is already worth big bucks – $55billion in 2015.

As materials and sensor technology becomes increasingly advanced, the femtech sector can take advantage of this by offering products targeting women, such as ovulation calculators.

As the market develops it could include connected devices that screen against illnesses such as cervical cancer and STDs. In fact, the Duke University in California has developed a pocket colposcope that connects to a smart device that could eventually mean women could self-screen for cervical cancer.

Where has the name come from?

It was apparently the brainchild of Ida Tin, founder and CEO of Clue, a period-tracking app.

Are there any companies we should have on our radar?

Yes, there are a several businesses that are leading the way in this market.

Already mentioned, Clue, the period-tracking app keeps cropping up in femtech discussions.  Elvie, a connected silicone device designed to improve pelvic floors, is also attracting attention, not least because apparently Khloe Kardashian is a fan. We also have the Flex tampon alternative.

Do these real products that actually work or is this just a fad?

Femtech is big and looks set to grow even bigger and the healthtech market is taking it seriously. Last year for example, The Flex Company raised over $4million. Many of the companies are headed up by successful business women. Tania Boler, Chairo co-founder,  (the company behind the Elvie), has held high-ranking positions with Marie Stopes and UNESCO. These are serious businesses.

It’s not just a fad and given its potential to better diagnose and treat a range of diseases it looks like we could be on the verge of an incredibly exciting sector.

It’s also worth bearing in mind that even in new and emerging markets such as healthtech, we are still seeing a lack of women at board level. Rock Health recently highlighted that women represent only 21% of board members at fortune 500 healthcare companies. With many femtech products addressing women’s issues, and many of the start-ups being headed up by women, this new sector might just help bring about a welcome shift in the gender bias at many companies.





Occupation: Group editor Industry: Life sciences Favourite device: Upright Favourite app: Yoga Studio My dream device: Something that drops me a dress size without leaving my desk

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