FemTech has unlocked many opportunities for women’s healthcare, from facilitating access to health and medical care, to introducing innovative tech-enabled solutions. Learn more about the booming FemTech market and its implications for the future of women’s health and wellbeing.
Women make up for one half of the global population, yet the stigma around women’s reproductive healthcare is still relatively high, limiting both access and opportunity for development in the sector. Women, as well as young girls, have experienced some form of stigma in their livelihoods, from period shaming, misinformation about sexual health and wellness, to grave impositions on women’s access to safe healthcare and medical services, a major example being abortion bans.
In spite of these setbacks, there have been growing advancements in women’s collective health and wellbeing, with greater emphasis on sexual and reproductive health over the past few years. Moreover, the pandemic raised awareness of a surge to topics such as health and wellness, and accelerated funding and innovation in FemTech.
In 2021, the global women’s health market was estimated to be worth US$38.11 billion, while total venture capital funding for FemTech exceeded US$1.1 billion, showcasing a significant rise in investments and resources across the sector.
What is FemTech?
While it has become a modern-day buzzword, the term FemTech was first coined in 2016 by entrepreneur and founder of trailblazing period tracking app Clue, Ida Tin. The term has since become an essential pivot point for women’s healthcare.
It is distinguished by the integration of technology, modern software, and data in various products, services, and diagnostics that are designed and targeted towards improving the health and wellbeing of women. In order for us to build up thriving and prosperous nations, it is important to empower women and liberate them to take control of their reproductive health and wellness.
Once a niche market, FemTech has evolved a vast scope of innovations revolutionising the healthcare ecosystem through new femcare innovations. Empowering women with better healthcare outcomes, FemTech emphasises holistic-health offerings, developing tech-enabled and consumer-focused solutions. Its extensive market range covers everything from fertility and menstrual tracking applications, to sexual and menopausal wellbeing, and birth control options, in addition to other specific women health subsegments, such as risk assessments for cervical cancer, osteoporosis, and more.
This guide dives deeper into the FemTech revolution, spotlighting key market trends and its future implications on women’s healthcare.
The Rise of App-Enabled Menstrual Health
Menstruation is a normal yet significant part for most women’s livelihoods, where essential menstrual products and good period health should be deemed as a fundamental right. However, most are still met with stigma, shame, and biases for having “that time of the month,” and topics revolving around periods are still viewed as taboo.
FemTech has increased awareness of the unmet demands of the menstrual health sector, effectively educating young people and those around them. It enables women to access period care and sanitary products, from trackers and educational tools, to menstrual pads and wearables for pain relief, guidance and consultation, and more.
There has been a rise in menstrual health-centred solutions over the years, normalising conversations on women’s reproductive health and wellbeing. Startups are now innovating new period care products to empower women beyond merely safe and hygienic menstruation. Ira Concept is a menstrual care startup founded in Thailand that has committed its platform to the cause, delivering organic, biodegradable pads through its subscription-based model.
Singapore’s FemCy is another application dedicated to women’s period health, allowing them to track their cycles, access daily health insights and a safe space to connect with menstrual health professionals.
Fertility Care and Technology
Fertility tech has become a fast-growing industry, with many eyeing investment opportunities in the sector. This draws back on the rising problem of infertility amongst young couples- over 15% of reproductive-aged couples around the globe experience infertility, among other complications. The number is only expected to grow, as hormone imbalances in women continue to rise, which not only play a pivotal role in their overall wellbeing but are an essential aspect of fertility. Around two thirds of infertility cases arise due to female infertility.
FemTech has made the journey to fertility for many women an easy, and uncomplicated one, as these technologies have evolved to address and improve unique sets of complications presented by these couples.
One of the most attractive sectors in FemTech for investment, a vast number of startups are emerging to solve this fertility crisis.
Luna Luna is a popular Japanese FemTech application, that facilitates fertility and ovulation tracking by gathering data and generating algorithms, before delivering results. Moreover, over 800 medical facilities have incorporated the “Luna Luna Medico” initiative in Japan. This allows women to access their best fertility cycles through the simple process of sharing their menstrual records and basal body temperature through a digital vertical.
At-Home and Personalised Contraception Alternatives
Although “the pill” may still be the most popular form of contraception to date, it results in numerous long-term side effects ranging from mild headaches to soreness, and in some cases decreased libido. Despite a major sexual revolution, women’s experiences with contraception and reproductive health have made little progress. Women are taking a leap to educate and empower themselves on different methods and types of contraception that align with their health needs.
Ease healthcare facilities sexual and reproductive healthcare in Singapore, revolutionising women’s access to stigma-free at-home contraceptives, offering alternative contraception and other medication tracking, in addition to their telehealth service that connects you with healthcare professionals. The platform operates in alignment with its commitment to delivering accessible, affordable, and convenient healthcare offerings.
Tech-Enabled Relief For Menopause Symtoms
Menopause is the natural biological response a woman experiences when her menstrual cycle ends permanently. The majority of women are likey to spend around one-third of their lives in peri- or post-menopause years. In 2021, the global menopause market was valued at US$15.4 billion, with an anticipated compound growth rate of 5.29% yearly from now until 2023.
It has been observed that a vast majority of women experience various post-menopausal symptoms, although many may opt for at-home solutions or continue to go about their lives without seeking proper medical assistance. However, in recent years, both startups and investment firms are becoming aware of the great potential presented by the sector. FemTech has enabled positive change for women’s menopausal wellness, innovating in post-menopause relief to alleviate common symptoms such as hot flashes, night sweats, and sleeping difficulties, among others.
Among those FemTech solutions is EloCare’s proprietary wearable technology. The startup developed the Elo device that enables women to monitor, treat, and manage their symptoms, while generating a personalised health profile to optimise post-menopause decision-making based on biometrics.
The FemTech revolution is rising, driving new businesses to emerge, funding opportunities, as well as enabling access and awareness for women across the globe, with only more innovations to come!
10 FemTech Startups Advancing Women’s Healthcare in APAC
With Red: The Nonprofit Advocating for Period Equity in Taiwan