Female technology, or femtech, refers to a category of software, products, services, and diagnostics that utilize cutting-edge technology to provide women’s health services and solutions. The sector incorporates a variety of different niches, including reproductive system health care, women’s sexual wellness, period-tracking apps, fertility solutions, and pregnancy and nursing care.
With the term femtech coined as recently as 2016 by Danish entrepreneur and Clue founder Ida Tin, digital women’s health is a relatively new concept. Femtech encompasses a variety of digital health tools, including mobile apps, hygiene products, wearables, and Internet-connected medical devices. As we move through 2021, the following five femtech brands show particular promise.
In an age of COVID-19, with stay-at-home orders and social distancing policies enforced in countries around the world, getting measured for a properly fitting bra is seemingly impossible. Ill-fitting, uncomfortable, and unflattering bras remain a significant problem for many women, in some cases triggering lasting back problems. And according to research published by HuffPost, a staggering 80 percent of women wear ill-fitting bras. There are many reasons why women select the wrong size, chief among them, never being measured properly in the first place.
Brarista is an app that utilizes AI to recommend perfectly fitted bras, enabling users to gauge their bra size from the comfort and convenience of their own home. Determining size by eye like a seasoned fitter, the app identifies common symptoms of poorly fitted bras such as back-strap ride-up and cup spillage.
Once the app determines the right size, it works with the user’s personal preferences, recommending lingerie that suits their budget, taste, and lifestyle, allowing users to purchase bras online at the lowest available price.
Clue is a fertility and period tracking app that analyzes data from over 30 health categories, including digestion, mood, skin, hair, and productivity, to predict ovulation and menstruation. It incorporates science-backed information on how the various symptoms are relevant to each part of the menstrual cycle.
Utilized by 12 million women across 180 countries today, Clue has made important contributions to women’s health research. The brand recently collaborated with Stanford University to analyze how menstrual pain patterns might be used to predict illness, and it participated in a study by the University of Oxford exploring evolutionary perspectives on PMS.
Founded in the UK in 2016, Peanut is dedicated to creating a network for mothers who share common interests and close geographical proximity. The app aims to enable mothers to chat with, learn from, and meet up with other like-minded mothers.
The app features a messaging ability, allowing users to chat online or schedule meetups, with or without their children.
Co-founded by Michelle Kennedy, Peanut gained increased exposure when it was featured in Apple’s list of the Best Apps for 2017. The startup has so far raised $5.4 million in investment over three funding rounds, the latest being in 2019.
4. Cirqle Biomedical
This Copenhagen-based biomedical company specializes in a nonhormonal contraceptive technology called OUI.
Available in capsule form, the product delivers effective, targeted birth control that lasts from a minute after insertion to up to 24 hours. Unlike many forms of birth control, this contraceptive technology is nonhormonal, meaning it avoids the long list of side effects such as headaches, mood swings, anxiety, and low libido that are often triggered by conventional hormonal birth control.
Founded in 2018 with the help of Dr. Ljudmila Katchanhas, Cirqle Biomedical has raised $1.9 million in funding to date, the majority of which has been used to finance pre-clinical development.
In the developing world, more than 800 women die every day from pregnancy-related complications, particularly in rural regions of Africa and India where healthcare facilities are often in short supply.
Parla is a groundbreaking new app that offers a wealth of information on fertility and health, enabling users to manage their bodies proactively in alignment with their individual life goals.
Users are connected to a community of experts and other women in similar circumstances. The app also offers health quizzes, home tests, and predictive data reports that allow them to make informed choices about their health, while mindfulness content and audio health guides support mental and emotional health.
The Future of Femtech
Analysts predict that the global femtech market will be worth somewhere in the region of $60 billion by 2027. The sector shows particular potential in developing economies, encouraging female sexual empowerment, emphasizing reproductive health, and providing women with greater autonomy over their bodies, choices, and futures.