Alpesh Patel’s Political Sketchbook: Femtech - Women's Tech Is Wrongly Overlooked

Alpesh Patel Thursday 12th May 2022 04:23 EDT

For the purposes of this article, "femtech" is a broad term that refers to any technology that serves women's health needs.

I hosted the UK launch press conference of the Akshay Kumar film, ‘Toilet’. There was a time when an indoor toilet was considered a technological innovation. As the movie shows (10th highest grossing Bollywood movie of 2018) such ‘tech’ is a also a female safety issue too.

For the purposes of this article, "femtech" is a broad term that refers to any technology that serves women's health needs. It includes everything from fertility apps and ovulation trackers and beyond. By focusing on female-focused issues such as menstruation, infertility and pregnancy (or even just general health concerns), femtech products are designed with women in mind. It also covers a number of general health conditions that affect women disproportionately or differently (such as osteoporosis or cardiovascular disease)

Femtech is so important because it helps women take control of their own bodies by providing them with information they need in order to make informed decisions about their lives. When we're able to see our bodies as something we can manage rather than something that manages us, we feel empowered: we're able to take charge of our lives by making informed decisions about our health care choices, rather than leaving those decisions up for debate among doctors who don't necessarily share our goals for ourselves or our families.

As McKinsey puts it, “FemTech is powered to a significant extent by female entrepreneurs—more than 70 percent of FemTech companies we analyzed had at least one female founder, compared with a 20 percent norm for new companies. Indeed, across the value chain, a more inclusive, gender-aware healthcare system could help support more women to become inventors, investors, physicians, founders—and healthier human beings, solving for the health conditions of other human beings. Research has shown that when inventors set out to solve a health problem, male inventors are more likely to solve for a male-oriented condition; women-led teams solve for both.”

This kind of empowerment has been shown time and again through studies showing how access to accurate information about contraception has helped reduce unwanted pregnancies—and thus abortions—while decreasing teen pregnancy rates by 50%.

Progyny, which manages fertility benefits for employers, went public in 2019 at a valuation in excess of $1 billion; its current market capitalization is about $4 billion. And Maven Clinic, a virtual clinic for women’s and family health, was valued at more than $1 billion.

Women have been ignored far too long, but we're cutting through the noise and proving that we're a profitable investment opportunity.

The VC world has a long history of ignoring women-founded businesses. But over the last few years, female founders have been attracting more investment dollars than ever before. And it’s not just because they’re businesses are outperforming their male counterparts — it’s also because investors have realized just how profitable investing in femtech can be.

If you still need convincing that investing in femtech is worth your time and money, consider this: women make up half of all consumers, yet only four percent of venture capital investments go to female founders. That means for every $100 invested into startups with a woman founder, only one penny goes to a woman-led startup (and two pennies if you count companies with at least one female employee).

Venture Capitalists recognise the importance of investing in Femtech

The VCs have finally noticed the potential of the female market and are making efforts to correct their neglect. The tech sector has been male-dominated for many years, but its new wave of entrepreneurs appear to be more gender balanced. With women now accounting for 18% of active angel investors in the UK and trending higher, it's clear that females are becoming more involved in this field than ever before.

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