Putting the fem back in femtech

The femtech industry is growing at pace with significant investor interest. But in the pursuit of growth is it losing sight of the women its products are designed for?

Period Power is not the kind of book you would expect to be reviewed in a LinkedIn post. But there it was as I scrolled through on my commute. A contact had posted an image of the best-selling book by Maisie Hill and was extolling the virtues of harnessing the power of your cycle to improve performance at work.

I’ve worked in the space of women’s health a fair amount – from sexual wellbeing and contraceptives through to period tracking – but even I was caught off guard by a book on ‘women’s issues’ being publicly aired on what is essentially a business platform.

I shouldn’t have been surprised though. Periods and other traditionally taboo topics are big business right now. Femtech, the catch-all term coined by Ida Tin for digital health solutions designed specifically for women and including things like tech-enabled pelvic floor strengthening products and period trackers, is a booming industry predicted to be worth $50bn by 2025.

This growth makes sense. Women account for half the population and have a strong motivation for embracing products and services to overcome often unspoken and unrecognised issues that have previously held us back. Easy (and discreet) access to free or affordable tech that does this is a game changer.

But amongst the clamour and excitement of an emerging – and purpose-driven – industry, brands need to ensure they don’t lose sight of the women these solutions are designed to help.

Already, several femtech companies have been accused of reinforcing as opposed to re-addressing the status quo, for example fertility apps exacerbating the fear of the ‘ticking clock’ or period tracking apps designed for men to know when their partner(s) are likely to be menstruating.

No one size fits all solution

One challenge to the healthy growth of the femtech industry is that a lot of the funding is from male investors who don’t appreciate the issues women experience. It’s easy to lump all post-birth women together, for example, as a core target for a pelvic floor strengthener app. But this is a short-term and functional view of an industry that is proliferating and maturing at pace.

As new entrants pile into the femtech space and women have greater choice, companies will need to invest in building brands – not just products and services – with a clear target audience in mind, and a user journey and experience that is tailored to this target.

We recently partnered with a femtech provider to do just that: identifying a target audience that would enable them to meet their ambitious growth targets whilst not wasting energy on women who would either not be attracted to their proposition or likely drop out early on in their user journey.

If you would like to learn more about our work in the health tech space, please get in touch at info@incite-global.com.