This article is a companion piece to Femtech in France.
Europe and the US are two of the main hubs within the Femtech industry. To compare specific insights from these two locations, we interviewed two Femtech experts. Deepali Nangia, Venture Partner at Speedinvest and Co-Founder of Alma Angels, is based in London and has extensive experience investing in the UK and Europe. Vanessa Larco, Partner at New Enterprise Associates, is based in San Francisco and brings a valuable view of the Femtech industry in the US.
In Europe, Femtech is still a large and emerging category in which innovative startups - such as Clue (Germany), Ava (Swiss), Natural Cycles (Sweden), Inne (Germany), Daye and Elvie (UK) - grew incredibly well and where some exits have already happened, such as Kandy Therapeutics (non-hormonal oral compound sold to Bayer in 2020).
In the UK, Femtech has literally exploded in the last few years with startups in cycle mapping. Some examples are Moody Month, a daily health and wellness tracker for women, and Wild.AI, a cycle mapping app for female athletes, just to name a few. We have also seen some startups that target data collection. Juno Bio helps women learn more about their vaginal microbiomes, while Tuune provides women with personalized contraception. Other interesting ones are using novel biomarkers for age, such as Glycanage, to diagnose a woman’s biological age with lifestyle interventions to help support women through these life stages.
“The main focus in the last years has been on providing women with products and services through their different life stages,” says Deepali Nangia. Examples of these products or services are alternatives to HRT, pelvic floor trainers, at-home tests to improve diagnosis, community-based support, telemedicine and chat-based platforms to democratize access to care. “Key is that all should ultimately lead to better and more data collection around women’s health outcomes, which will be used for personalized medicine, democratized access and cheaper care for women,” adds Nangia.
In the US, according to Vanessa Larco, Progyny IPO was a “game changer for the market” and helped investors “get past the perception that Femtech is a niche market.”
In the US, Larco mentions three main trends:
In the EU, the taboo topics seem to be slowly breaking. “I am seeing many new concepts targeting old taboo topics such as still birth, abortion care at home, incontinence and post-partum support.” says Nangia. Other trends include screening solutions around ovarian cancer and instant, at home, STD testing kits. D&I is also part of the innovations we’re seeing with startups focusing on ethnic minority groups to make healthcare affordable and accessible.
The first thing that both investors look at when assessing investment opportunities in Femtech is the team (including the product-founder fit, i.e the relevance of the founding team’s background and story). Then Nangia looks more specifically at the go-to-market strategy and the revenue model. Willingness to pay is usually a tricky topic when addressing European markets, hence testing this willingness early on - in the user research and MVP stages - can be a game-changer.
In the US, Larco pays particular attention to the market size, the pain point tackled (and why it hasn’t been tackled earlier), as well as the product / service experience.
“Be very clear on who your target demographic is, why they need this product and how eager they are to acquire it,” says Larco.
According to Nangia, “Femtech lends itself to building a community but communities are very hard to monetize.” In terms of distribution channel, for D2C Digital Health businesses “selling to the NHS has long sales cycles, but adds huge credibility.”
All in all, the perspective and evolution of Femtech in the coming years is very promising as there are still many underserved populations and pain points unaddressed yet. We hope these insights gave you food for thought! Feel free to ping us if you’d like to discuss the industry and/or know a great Femtech startup we should talk to.
Authored by Shiraz Mahfoudhi, a member of the Speedinvest SaaS & Health team. The face of software is changing rapidly, and this shift is what the team is looking for: consumer subscriptions designed around emerging, everyday needs; SaaS that looks and feels like the consumer tech we can’t live without; Digital Health applications that redefine the relationship between patients and doctors. Their experience, network and grit can get founders where they want to be.
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