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Femtech

Updated: FEBRUARY 25, 2021
Reviewed by Dr. Sunny Rodgers
on February 16, 2021

Femtech is a collective term used to describe a variety of technology that focuses on female health. This technology can include apps, products (including wearables), services and solutions.

Coined in 2016, femtech touches many different medical and wellness needs, including reproductive wellbeing, fertility, menstruation, pregnancy and nursing, menopause, and sexual health and pleasure. Some examples of femtech products and services include:

  • Menstrual health and tracking apps.
  • Fertility-tracking apps.
  • Reusable underwear.
  • Pain relief solutions,
  • Wearable breast pumps.
  • Kegel-tracking apps and devices.

In the sexual wellness space, Femtech encompasses products and services that include:

  • Smart and app-enabled vibrators and sex toys.
  • Wearable pleasure products.
  • Lubricants and intimate consumable products.
  • Safer sex devices.
  • Sex education apps.
  • Pornography and erotica.

As a term, femtech also encompasses the predominantly female and female-led inventors, innovators, and leaders of the companies creating the products and services. Some companies that are considered Femtech include Elvie (breast pump tech and devices), Dame (sexual pleasure devices), Clue (period tracking) and Wellory (nutrition coaching app).

While these companies certainly existed prior to 2016, collecting them under an umbrella term allowed the market to understand the many and disparate products and services available, as well as gaining a broader understanding of the market that was open and available to these products and services.

Also, by collecting these different types of companies under one term, financial markets have developed equity- and resource-building strategies to fund more femtech startups. In 2019, femtech raised almost $800 million in funding. Some financial analysts believe it will be a $50 billion industry by 2025.

Because of this potential for growth economically, femtech as a category is believed to be limitless in terms of what kinds of products and services it will be created and offered in the future.

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More About Femtech

Ida Tin, the founder of Clue, coined the term femtech in an investor meeting in 2016 to both describe the many different products and services already in the market for women’s health and wellness, but also to make the space more approachable to the traditionally male-dominated world of investing. Having a "femtech" company in your portfolio may sound more societally acceptable than a "pelvic floor exercise device" company.

Because both medical and lifestyle technology and startup and equity investment is dominated by men, women’s health advances have long been in the shadow—both societally and financially—of men’s products. The very presence of femtech is disrupting these spaces by forcing acknowledgment of a significant market of people who have traditionally been underserved, but who are growing in retail spending prominence.

By shifting power and financial resources away from male-centric medicine and control, many consider femtech to be a cultural shift and a movement. As it grows to focus on more aspects of the female experience, it encompasses more opportunities and greater connection among creators, innovators, and investors.

The concept of femtech does not come without criticism. The many startups, companies and innovations primarily service cisgender women, with very few products and services being offered for transgender and non-binary peoples. Because of this, using the fem in the term is not wholly inclusive and takes the female identity away from some.

Beyond being cisgender-focused, some have also critiqued the movement as being predominantly heterosexually focused, citing that queer people have different experiences and needs that should also be prominently reflected in the femtech sector.

Another concern with femtech is the security and safety of very personal data. Many femtech products and services are app-based and serviced and are emerging while we still learn how to control and secure the transmission of data.

This concern is certainly not exclusive to femtech, with many different industries working to overcome the same issue, while at the same time maintaining consumer trust and confidence.

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