According to a report from data research company, PitchBook, 2019 saw the femtech industry generate US$820.6 million and is now on track to reach at least US$3 billion by the end of 2030.
Despite the anticipated growth of the sector, femtech is still an underdeveloped area of health tech. The report states that medical expenses attributed to women amount to approximately $500 billion per year, however only 4% of healthcare R&D is targeted at women’s health issues.
From digital tools to wearables, start-ups from around the world are seeking to tackle the taboos surrounding issues such as period pain, menopause and sexual wellbeing.
Femometer is a Chinese-based company, developing a number of smart devices for women’s health and wellbeing.
Its first product was a basal thermometer which can act as a natural contraception method or help those who are trying to conceive.
In 2019, the company launch Femometer Ivy; a device which monitors luteinizing hormone (LH) levels, to help women determine when they are ovulating. The device connects with the Femometer app to draw the user’s unique LH curve and help them identify their fertile window.
This year, the company launched a new device which it claims is the first smart Kegel exerciser on the market to help women strengthen their pelvic floor muscles.
The silicon device has 360-degree pressure detection and connects via Bluetooth to the user’s smartphone, providing real-time biofeedback through the Femometer app.
Up to a third of women experience a problem with their pelvic floor muscles at some point in their lifetime.
Research by the MayoClinic uncovered that several factors could weaken a women’s pelvic floor muscles, including pregnancy, childbirth, surgery, aging, excessive straining from constipation or chronic coughing.
Adam Lou, CEO of Femometer says: “All of our products are very much about empowering women to understand their own data and encourage them to learn about their own bodies. The basal thermometer, the Ivy and now the Lilac; it’s about putting the data back into the individual’s hands and teaching them what they’re looking at.
“By doing that, we’re putting women in a position where they can go out and talk about these things because they understand their own body.”
Femometer currently has 2 million users across 150 countries and aims to expand its userbase to 5 million over the next 12 months.
Working in the digital space is Spanish company, Emjoy, which seeks to close the “orgasm gap”. In simple terms this refers to the statistics showing that men have more orgasms than women in heterosexual sexual encounters.
Research from the International Academy of Sex Research found that 95% of heterosexual men usually or always orgasm during sex, compared to only 65% of heterosexual women.
The Spanish company was founded in January 2019 and launched its app globally in early 2020 to address this issue.
Emjoy says its mission is to address the gap by enabling women to discover their bodies and gain, or regain, confidence in their sex lives.
The app includes a library of over 150 audio sessions and “sensual stories”, developed by sex therapists and sexual wellbeing experts.
“This is a topic that many people are hesitant or embarrassed to discuss,” says CEO and co-founder of Emjoy, Andrea Oliver (pictured, top).
“This becomes a problem when you consider the multitude of studies that have found that sexual satisfaction directly correlates with positive physical and mental wellbeing.”
Through Emjoy, we want to make female sexual wellbeing accessible to all by providing users with a format that feels safe and fun but also reliable.
The company recently raised €2.5 million seed funding which will be used to grow its team of eleven and further develop its digital platform.
Since the first lockdown was announced in mid-March, paying subscriptions to the app has more than tripled to 150,000 active users.
Looking to the future, Oliver hopes that, as the industry grows, more women will feel empowered to start their own businesses, both within the femtech space and other sectors.
She says: “What I find most exciting about the industry is the number of female founders it has compared to other industries.
“However, in the future, I believe that femtech will not be viewed as a women-only issue and investment in this space will be considered as important as other areas within the health tech arena.”
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