The landscape of femtech is one that is bubbling and is set to explode. Read up here to find what products are on the market which are helping women to keep track of their health and wellbeing.
We like to speak about the unspoken, and what better way to do this than to enter the pits of a nightmarish (or heaven-like) technology-led universe? Each week, we’ll be approaching a Tech Taboo topic that has caught the attention of our society for its potential to benefit or harm us. From provocative product launches to digital dangers, this series is called Tech Taboo for a reason…
Over the years we have seen the market saturated with products that fuse technology and wellbeing – but they’ve mainly been tailored towards men. However, there’s a new field that is sparking interest for women and the technology sector in general – femtech. It’s a term coined by Ida Tin – the admirable woman who launched her app Clue to track women’s periods – who simply defines technology focused around women’s health. In light of last week’s celebration of International Women’s Day, I wanted to explore the landscape of femtech and how barriers are being broken in terms of revolutionising women’s health and wellbeing.
“Long seen as taboo, the rise of fourth-wave feminism is encouraging women to talk about their vaginas and vulvas like never before, whether that’s to do with periods, health, sex, and masturbation or well-being.” – J. Walter Thompson Intelligence.
2018 has been marked as the Year of the Woman according to BBC, thanks to the surge of movements such as #MeToo, Free the Nipple and countless others. These are movements that have been defined by technology as they’ve been given a platform to open their discussions on channels such as Facebook, Twitter and several others. So with ‘the feminist’ voice undeniably becoming louder since the birth of fourth-wave feminism in 2012, it comes with no surprise that femtech has exploded since then. It is rather surprising that the femtech scene didn’t start earlier than its beginnings in 2013, but there are several startups who sparked this trend and are today leading others to follow suit.
“We’re in a year where there are more women’s sextech products on the market than ever before.” – Bryony Cole, creator of the Future of Sex podcast.
The Heroes and Sheroes
One of the first femtech startups to emerge in 2013 was period and ovulation tracking app, Glow, which was founded by Paypal’s co-founder, Max Levchin, followed by Ida Tin’s, Clue. Both were seen to have broken the boundary for women and their freedom to make choices regarding their bodies, and the confidence to discuss issues that for years have been considered taboo. Ever since, the global startup scene has seen a wave of apps and products which indicate the monthly cycle, deliver menstrual products to your front door and even apps which help women to strengthen their kegel muscles – for all you curious ladies, this product was launched by Elvie. Besides, these period and fertility tracking apps typically work based on algorithms which picks up on its user’s cycle, helping women to learn about how their body works as a whole. Of course, the more the user uses their app, the more accurate the app’s predictions become. As such, this strong sense of reliability can only mean that the femtech field can get bigger and better, right?
“Femtech will be an innovation and investment opportunity for many years to come.” – Albert Wenger, Union Square Ventures.
The Future Is Bright, The Future is Femtech
Though it may seem that there are many femtech products out there, if you look at the bigger picture, that’s not the case. Unlike the femcare market, the femtech market really has no major player that’s dominating the industry, so there is a massive opportunity for more startups to join the field and test out their chances. Even more so as from 2014 over $1.1bn has been raised by around 45 startups in the femtech sector. Moreover, it makes perfect sense to jump into this fairly niche market as women make up half the world’s population and as a market, they represent a bigger opportunity than China and India put together as they control $20 trillion in consumer spending – now that’s massive.
As these femtech startups are sending out a strong and clear message to their audience, it seems like this field is set to flourish. We want to be told that we’re understood. We want to be told that there are products which help us to understand who we are. We want to know that there are products which can make our lives easier. And femtech does exactly this.
Editor’s note: We’ve been shouting about International Women’s Day this year with our fun and fearless campaign, Tampon Taboo. It’s a mockumentary feature that aims to end period shame in the office and period poverty as whole. Check out our film below and donate to our JustGiving campaign with Bloody Good Period!