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Femtech, which focuses on technologies to automate, improve and extend women-centric healthcare solutions, is rapidly gaining global attention. This is especially true in the wake of the US Supreme Court’s recent controversial decision on reproductive rights.
The term “femtech” has only been around since 2016, but the industry has made huge strides since australiabusinessblog.com Ida Tin coined the term. According to McKinseyfemtech’s market value ranges from $500 million to $1 billion, depending on how broadly the term is applied, and forecasts project a double-digit CAGR.
Recent Pitchbook estimates show that: more than 800 companies fall under the femtech umbrella. Many of these companies have been established in recent years and several unicorns are already taking the industry by storm.
The femtech revolution
Femtech is about to start a real uprising that will completely disrupt the healthcare system as we know it. Even now, companies are making groundbreaking breakthroughs in tackling stigmatized topics such as women’s sexual well-being and menstrual health and delivering culturally sensitive, personalized care to marginalized populations.
The global femtech market is expected to grow to at least $10.1 billion by 2028, a CAGR of 11%. Reports show VC investment in femtech startups has skyrocketed to over $1 billion in 2021. In addition, the severe underfunding of women’s health research (only 4% of all R&D in healthcare) opens the door wide for further growth, expansion and innovation.
There is significant potential for the development of breakthrough technologies that could disrupt the market permanently. The extreme consumer interest, coupled with the solid growth prospects and the currently underdeveloped market, creates a perfect environment for lucrative new investment opportunities and innovative startups.
The industry is on the brink of explosive growth, so there is still time for entrepreneurs to step in and become leaders in this revolution. It’s important to remember that the femtech space will continue to get more competitive, so here are five tips for launching a successful femtech startup:
Related: Why women’s health is paramount in technology investment
1. Put product quality first
Your first launch doesn’t have to be perfect, but you should be willing to accept criticism and constructive feedback that will help you improve. It’s best to put a working prototype in the hands of testers who are part of your target demographic so you can start collecting data on what works and what doesn’t. Even if you think you know what consumers want and what needs to be improved, customers will often surprise you with their wants and needs.
During development and implementation, ensure that you have effective, quantifiable methods to measure quality and efficacy. Use metrics such as customer reviews, beta testing, clinical evidence, and academic research to get a holistic view of how to improve product quality.
2. Attract an experienced team
If possible, recruit qualified women to help develop a product. Having a team of women not only makes your startup more attractive to consumers and investors, but it also gives your company more credibility.
Remember that as a founder, it’s not your job to be ‘good at everything’. Take an honest look at your strengths and weaknesses, then find team members with complementary strengths to create a well-rounded group of experts.
Above all, make sure your team shares a common vision for your product. When everyone in the company is pointed to the same goal, your product has a much better chance of success.
3. Take all possible precautions to protect user data
Data privacy is a major issue in all industries, but it’s especially critical for industries like finance and medicine because of the highly personal, identifiable data that customers entrust to you. It is essential to invest the necessary time and resources in cybersecurity and data protection.
The femtech industry deals with highly sensitive data, so leaks or bad PR about data security are a death sentence for your startup. This is especially true as women’s reproductive health has come under attack in recent months, leaving women more concerned than ever about their privacy.
Related: Ready for Growth: The Potential for High Return on Investment in the Emerging Femtech Sector
4. Provide a memorable diversifier
Your business needs a key differentiator that makes your product or service memorable from the competition. This doesn’t mean that you should spend most of your time comparing your brand to competitors, but it does mean that you have to put a lot of effort into separating your company from the herd.
Study all existing competitors’ products and make sure you offer something that is more technologically advanced or efficient. Other successful strategies include providing a better customer experience, seeking ways to enter new markets, and maintaining a passion for constant improvement.
5. Listen to positive and negative feedback
A common pitfall that founders in all industries can fall victim to is being blind to the flaws of their product. When you spend so much time painstakingly developing your product and brand, it can be easy to ignore seemingly minor issues or overlook issues that are obvious to someone not directly involved with the product.
During development, ask users what they need and how they would like your product to work. Listen carefully to those who love your product, but also listen to those who no longer use it so that you can improve. It can be hard to accept criticism of a concept you’ve worked so hard on, but learning this skill is essential for all successful entrepreneurs.
Related: Bringing ‘Femtech’ into the Mainstream: VC Interest Grows as New Frontier for Women’s Health
Public consciousness is at an all-time high. It’s time to act.
In previous years, the slow growth of femtech was mainly due to the fact that so much women’s health care was locked behind a door of stigma, taboo and forced silence. So while it was always in demand, it wasn’t easy to overcome those barriers to adoption.
Now there are public conferences and accessible lectures focused solely on women’s health, including: FemTech Forum, Top on Fertility Innovation and the Innovation Summit on Reproductive Health. There are also new influencers and opinion leaders, such as health advocate Estrella Jaramillo and Madorra CEO Holly Rockweiler.
Femtech has shown tremendous promise and consumers have indicated that they want and need this technology now more than ever. The femtech revolution is already underway and now is the perfect time for VCs and entrepreneurs to embrace the future and find new opportunities to change the world.