What Is Femtech And Why Should We All Care?
FEMTECH, A HISTORY...
The latest trend in technology is development of FemTech - technology that has to do with fertility, menstruation, and sexual health. Originally coined by Ida Tin of period and ovulation tracking app Clue, “FemTech," has been around for a few years. Software and hardware solutions like Everlywell, Peanut, and LeLo all are spearheading this category of consumer products and platforms.
FemTech is a long time coming. Traditionally, technological advancements have been led by young males. Think about it. Playstation, PS2, and PS3 were all brought to market decades before women had easy at-home fertility tests or aesthetically appealing vibrators. We probably don’t want male teenage coders developing technological health solutions for women anyways. But with the boost of worldwide fertility challenges, the MeToo movement, as well as investors actively looking into diverse founders and customers, FemTech is having its moment. So, why should we all care?
First, prioritizing technology for women’s reproductive and sexual health is quite literally a fundamental need for humankind. According to the CDC, birth rates are down and have been declining for the past three decades. Couples are procreating later in life. The older ages often make it complicated to conceive. And as 70% of women continue to work while caring for infants, the stress only adds to complications with breastfeeding or early infant child care. These challenges directly affect women, but strain the fertility process for men, women, and any person having complications making a healthy baby. These are not just female issues, but truly affect continuing our kind. FemTech development is helping to solve all these challenges. Creating technology to make menstruation, fertility, and early motherhood healthy, easy, and comfortable is a fundamental need for the human race.
Then there’s sexual health and happiness - which also falls into the FemTech category. As fourth-wave feminism coincides with the MeToo movement, women are voicing their right to not only protect their own bodies. Women are also voicing their wants for the sexual exhilaration and acceptance in the bedroom. It’s no longer taboo to talk about products that add to female satisfaction. Companies like Dame, Minna Limon, and Bellesa are forging ahead with hardtech solutions for everyone’s pleasure. Singles and couples are exploring the new and vast expansion of available toys, vibrators, and additives. Sexual wellness educational platforms are thriving. Then there’s new femporn platforms - erotica made by women, for women. As culture breaks the glass ceiling for women on many fronts, women are speaking up and seeking out sexual health and happiness more than ever before.
From an investment perspective, it’s an obvious time to invest in women. Women make up 51% of adults. They have 75 to 80% of household buying power. Research firms Data Bridge and F&S predict the FemTech sub-industry will amount to $41-$50 billion in sales by 2025. There are many studies showing women backed businesses have leaner business models and higher returns. One example, the Kauffman Foundation stated, “Private technology companies led by women are more capital-efficient, achieving 35% higher ROI, and, when venture-backed, 12% higher revenue than startups run by men." Microfinance platforms such as kiva have stuck to lending to women over men for a long time. As professors Raj Aggarwal, John W.Goodell, Lauren J. Selleckc write, “Women borrowers are more trustworthy and have greater social impact." And lastly, from a logical standpoint, women will continue to menstruate, have sex, and birth babies. Considering that customer market size and security, this is a very stable investment.
In short, FemTech is here, growing, and accelerating exponentially. Fertility strains and a new wave of license to sexual wellness creates a sub industry that is needed for a world wide market. Investors would be shortsighted to not seriously review every FemTech opportunity they come across. As women learn to prioritize their own health, and technology catches up, we should all be looking forward to FemTech advancements.