At around the same time that the forces of women and technology coalesced into a new sector called “femtech,” author and Female Factor founder & CEO Bridget Brennan asserted that the two were simultaneously reshaping the economy. Women, who according to a 2019 Morgan Stanley report, “drive 83% of all U.S. consumption through both buying power and influence,” have long been underserved, and the development of new technologies tailored to suit their needs has emerged to fill the existing gap.
“It’s kind of a mystery right now to most people how the biology actually works. When can I actually become pregnant? Why am I having this pain? What’s going on with my mood? Is this birth control better for me than this birth control?” These are just some of the questions that femtech, which includes mobile apps, software solutions and diagnostic tools that cater to women’s health and wellness needs, hopes to address, according to Ida Tin, the femtech entrepreneur and author credited with coining the term.
Tin, the CEO and Co-founder of Clue, a menstrual and fertility tracking app and resource for women’s health, says that the app was born out of her desire to easily merge the temperature data she was manually tracking to learn about her fertility into a spreadsheet. With over ten million users worldwide and the utmost dedication to the privacy and trust of its users, Clue aims to aggregate massive datasets that can be used to advance research in healthcare and shared with trustworthy organizations to improve quality of life and lead to better health outcomes. “Data is this superpower that we now have and figuring out ways to actually make this truly work for the user is such a key thing.”
An Industry Ripe for Investment, Femtech’s Market Revenue is Expected Reach $50 Billion by 2025
Femtech, however, is a growing industry that extends far further than menstrual and fertility tracking apps and includes a range of technologies that support reproductive health, cancer research, healthcare and diagnostics, pregnancy and nursing care. Research conducted by Frost and Sullivan estimates that femtech market revenue will reach $1.1 billion by 2024, and $50 billion by 2025 when including pharmaceutical drugs and cancer solutions.
One company, Kheiron, is on a mission to facilitate early detection of breast cancer using deep learning. Combating key issues in breast cancer screening, like high recall rates, missed cancers, and a growing shortage of radiologists, Kheiron’s Mia device uses AI to help radiologists determine whether a woman should be called back for further testing. Lattice medical is a biomedical startup developing a bioabsorbable and personalized implant, entirely based on the patient’s tissue, for breast reconstruction and augmentation following mastectomies.
Mobile ODT, another femtech start-up revolutionizing cancer research, creates diagnostic tools to conduct cervical screenings. Mobile ODT’s EVA system is used by clinicians worldwide for colposcopy, general gynecology, telegynecology, and forensic imaging.
Eli Health is transforming contraception with its non-invasive, hormone free solution. Eli users receive an at home device that uses a saliva sample to detect levels of key hormones. The at-home device syncs with an app that uses learning algorithms to interpret hormone variations and deliver insights like fertile days, to help women conceive or avoid conception. Eli Health’s long term goal is to collect more data on hormones and how they impact women’s lives from puberty to menopause.
How Will Femtech Advance Healthcare?
Women have long been underrepresented in medical research due to potential pregnancy complications and inconveniences that arise as a result of menstrual cycles. The resulting dearth of data on women has significantly hindered the capacity to draw conclusions about how diseases and treatment outcomes vary by gender.
For example, because research on heart disease, the leading cause of death among both men and women, was conducted predominantly on men, researchers failed to detect important differences. Recent studies have shown that “women, for instance, have more incidents of heart disease than previously thought, and they die from heart disease more frequently than men.” Moreover, additional research on how people experience heart attacks reports that “while both men and women experience chest pain, women are more likely to report pain radiating to the back, neck, or jaw, as well as left arm pain.” These essential distinctions have only been identified due to more recent efforts to understand cardiovascular disease in women.
Femtech startups that are fostering the collection of women’s health data are helping to replenish these data deficits. Bridging these gaps will not only improve the lives of women, but help advance healthcare for both sexes by enabling researchers to obtain more thorough understandings of diseases, zero in on the root causes of outcome variations and develop personalized solutions that cater to the distinct needs of both males and females.
Binah.ai’s Video-based Health Monitoring from a Smartphone, Tablet or Laptop
Binah.ai Health Data Platform, available as an incredibly easy-to-integrate SDK or a ready-to-use app allows the extraction of a wealth of health parameters, including heart rate, heart rate variability (HRV SDNN and RRI raw data), oxygen saturation, respiration rate, parasympathetic activity, sympathetic stress and mental stress levels from a smartphone, tablet or laptop, just by having the user look at the device’s camera. Binah.ai’s remote vital signs monitoring supports iOS and Android mobile devices and Windows 10 desktops and laptops.