What is Femtech?
Femtech¹, or female technology, refers to companies that provide a range of products or services focused on women’s health, including menstrual and reproductive health, pregnancy and childbirth, sexual wellness, menopause, and female-specific conditions that affect women disproportionately or differently.
Historically, women’s health has been stigmatized, ignored, or dismissed by the medical community. This bias is seen throughout the health system. For instance, clinical trials and diagnostics have been prominently carried out on men subjects, consequently leaving women underrepresented. It is clear that solutions tackling women’s health issues also have been underfunded and under-researched.
In 2022, femtech companies represented only 1% of healthtech investment. Yet, a new generation of companies specializing in femtech solutions are filling a critical gap in the care ecosystem.
¹The term “Femtech” was coined in 2016 by Ida Tin, Clue’s founder. Read our interview with Carrie Walter & Audrey Tsang, Co-CEOs at Clue.
Combined Enterprise Value
Femtech companies are now worth $28 billion in 2023. Although Femtech companies only represent a small portion of all health investment, the value of the industry underwent a steady growth in the last decade, also thanks to rising knowledge of women’s health issues.
Venture capital investment
Venture capital investment into Femtech startups has been on an upwards trend in the last decade, with a significant acceleration since 2013, reaching all-time high in 2021. From 2022 the levels of investment slowed down, likely influenced by changing market conditions and investors exercising caution, but still remained higher than in 2020.
Geographically, America remains the top region globally for overall femtech VC investment. North American femtech funding dropped nearly two-thirds from 2021 to 2023, while EMEA held off slightly better with a 50% drop.
Looking at the share of investment by stage (early-mid vs late), it was not until 2016 that Femtech startups began to raise late-stage funding. Since 2018, this late-stage investment has consistently accounted for 50-70% of the total funding.
Cumulative monthly funding
Femtech startups are having a slower start of the year in 2023 in respect to the last three years.
The USA leads the top countries by femtech investment with $4B raised within the last 5 years, followed by the UK and Israel.
Despite the USA leading by investment, five out of the top countries are located in Europe, consolidating the role of this region in the femtech space.
Unicorns and Future Unicorns
In total, seven femtech unicorns exist around the world.
North America and Europe are the only two regions with femtech unicorns, with respectively six and one unicorn.
A fast-growing pipeline of potential future femtech unicorns is also emerging worldwide.
Together with MTIP, and Speedinvest we mapped 440+ femtech startups globally across 12 categories.
- Menstruation Care: Solutions that address the physical, mental, and overall well-being of individuals who menstruate throughout the phases of the menstrual cycle. It includes femcare technologies such as cycle tracking solutions, as well as products such as natural and sustainable hygienic pads, tampons, cups, and period-proof underwear. Examples of such solutions include Ruby Love and the Clue App.
- Reproductive Health and Contraception: Solutions for monitoring a patient’s reproductive journey, providing guidance and resources about reproductive health, safe and private abortion care, and methods, medicine, or devices for preventing pregnancy. It also includes fertility solutions to help patients conceive through medicine, surgical procedures, and assisted reproductive technologies like intrauterine insemination (IUI) and in vitro fertilization (IVF). Examples of companies in this segment include Apricity, Emme, Stix, and Modern Fertility.
- Pregnancy, Childbirth and Nursing: Solutions to guide patients through prenatal care and childbirth, with the aim of improving the health of both the mother and baby, and mitigating abnormal postpartum outcomes. Examples: Elvie, Willow.
- Family Care & Parenting: Solutions to support parents and family caregivers with content, tips, advice and technology to track the child’s development and well-being. Examples: Tinyhood; Healofy.
- Menopause: Solutions to improve life for those who are experiencing menopause, with technologies to better predict when it is likely to hit menopause phases. Examples: Vira Health; Ourkindra.
- Sexual Awareness: Solutions for the physical, emotional, mental and social well-being related to sexuality and sex and intimate hygiene, through innovative hardware to achieve orgasms, prevent, test and treat STDs, and access to sex education via resources and community. Examples: Vella Bioscience; Dame Products
- Oncology: From early diagnosis to drug discovery, these solutions aim to prevent, track and detect cancer. Examples: VARA; Gabbi.
- Pelvic Health: Focus on solving pelvic and bladder health issues. Examples: Femeda; Renovia.
- Gynaecological Health: Focus on the health maintenance and care of women’s reproductive organs. Examples: FemiClear; Evvy.
- Chronic Illnesses: Solutions aiming to test, diagnose and mitigate women’s chronic Illnesses. Examples: DotLab; Endodiag; Matricis.AI.
- General Health & Wellness: Solutions providing clinical care, DTC products and ongoing support for the widest range of women’s health conditions, including digital health clinics and mental health solutions. Examples: Eucalyptus; S/O/S.
- Nutrition Health & Supplements: Solutions providing vitamins and supplements to build immunity and fill nutritional gaps. Excludes Beauty and clothing solutions. Examples: Nutrafol; Care/of.
General Health & Wellness, Reproductive Health and Contraception, and Oncology have attracted the most funding in recent years. Looking at the number of rounds, Menstrual Care is the third most funded segment. In 2022-2023 Reproductive Health and Contraception, General Health & Wellness, and Oncology are still the top segments both in funding amount and the number of rounds.
Among Reproductive Health and Contraception, fertility startups benefit from many converging social trends. Demand for services like in vitro fertilization (IVF) and surrogacy has increased for years as people have kids later in life and infertility rates increase. For the last 70 years, fertility rates have decreased worldwide, with a total 50% decline.
1 in 6 couples struggle with infertility, so it is very common. But when we spoke to people undergoing fertility treatment, 75% reported that infertility was more stressful than divorce and 71% said they had considered stopping their treatment because of the emotional toll. That’s when we knew that there was space for a new way of providing fertility care. Everything we do at Apricity is aimed at using tech to reduce the stress of the patient journey: personal and bespoke fertility services, at-home testing and diagnostics, and all-inclusive prices so that patients can relax and focus on achieving the best outcomes.
The Contraception space has been long underlooked by investors, corporations and other actors, with a clear lack of innovation brought to the market in the last decades. Some startups and forward-looking VCs are trying to change this.
There have been more versions of the iPhone developed in the last 15 years, than there have been contraceptive methods in the last 61. When you compare it with how other technologies have advanced in the 21st century, sexual and reproductive health is really in the dark ages, and the amount of investment, attention and action being taken to fund, care and engage with women and what they actually want, is pitiful. Women are desperate for an honest and informed conversation about the reality of things like contraception, and The Lowdown is here to do just that.
General Health & Wellness, in particular, has become a very competitive and saturated market with solutions that struggle to differentiate themselves from each other (education, nutrition, fitness, mental health).
Discover 440+ femtech startups in health on Dealroom.
Early-stage femtech startups raised 145M in 2022, down 44% from the all-time-high $259M in 2021. In 2023, investment is projected to surpass 2022 levels by 13%.
Looking at the femtech segments in early stage, Reproductive Health and Contraception leads by cumulative VC investment between 2016 and 2023, followed by General health & wellness and Menstruation Care.
Also looking at the number of rounds, Reproductive Health and Contraception is the most funded segment, followed by General Health and Wellness. In 2022- 2023 Reproductive Health and Contraception, and Menstruation Care are still the top segments both in funding amount and the number of rounds.
Femtech in Europe
In Europe, Femtech startups are mostly located in the UK, Germany and France. Notable is also the number of startups in Spain and Switzerland.
Also, in Europe, the leading segments for femtech VC investment are Menstruation Care and Reproductive Health, followed by General Health and Wellness.
Looking at the number of rounds, Reproductive Health and Contraception is the most funded segment, followed by Menstruation Care.
In 2022- 2023 Reproductive Health and Contraception, and Menstruation Care are still the top segments both in funding amount and the number of rounds.
The mentech industry refers to a range of health software and tech-enabled products that cater to specific male health needs. The main areas under mentech are the following:
- Sexual health: Solutions for the physical, emotional, mental and social well-being related to sexuality and sex through innovative hardware to treat erectile dysfunction and early ejaculation. Examples of companies in this segment include Morari, Charles.co, and Mojo.
- Reproductive health: Solutions for monitoring a patient’s reproductive journey, providing guidance and resources about reproductive health. It includes fertility diagnostics to assess the sperm’s quality, as well as other solutions to help patients conceive through medicine. Examples of companies in this segment include Sapyien, Legacy Health, and Spermosens.
- Oncology: From early diagnosis to drug discovery, these solutions aim to prevent, track and detect cancer, specifically focusing on prostate cancer. Examples: Profound, Avenda Health, and Vituro Health.
- General health and wellness: Solutions providing clinical care, DTC products and ongoing support for the widest range of men’s health conditions, including testosterone deficiency, hair loss and other man’s health issues. Examples: Bastion, Keeps, and Hone Health.
Men today are not taking enough care of their health, especially on conditions linked to their perception of masculinity. That’s why we built Charles Digital Clinic to address these issues (sexual health, fertility, hair loss, insomnia…) in a safe, confidential and convenient way, so that guys finally start their healthcare journey.
Mentech Enterprise Value
The value of mentech startups has steadily increased over the last years, reaching $12B in 2023.
Mentech Vs Femtech (VC Investment)
Despite the difference in absolute value, we can see a similar overall trend between mentech and femtech VC investment. Both segments underwent significant growth in 2020, reaching a peak in 2021 and a drop in 2022.
Discover 60+ mentech startups in health on Dealroom.
Pan-European growth investor focused on the Healthtech sector.
MTIP is a leading Swiss-based growth equity firm investing in European healthtech companies that aim to revolutionise global healthcare.
We leverage our deep sector expertise to help the founders scale up successful and sustainable digital health businesses.
Our mission is to empower healthtech innovation with the potential to transform lives and make a meaningful impact on the world.
Pan-European early-stage venture capital firm with a dedicated Healthtech investment team.
Speedinvest is one of Europe’s most active Seed funds with 40+ investors based in Berlin, London, Munich, Paris, and Vienna.
Our six sector-focused teams are the first to fund Europe’s most innovative startups, and our in-house operational pros offer founders hands-on support throughout every stage of their journeys.
Wefox, Bitpanda, TIER Mobility, GoStudent, and Wayflyer are among our portfolio of 250+ companies.
¹The term “Femtech” was coined in 2016 by Ida Tin, Clue’s founder. Read our interview with Carrie Walter & Audrey Tsang, Co-CEOs at Clue