Femtech has grown over the past decade, but investments in women-focused businesses pale in comparison to the broader digital health sector.
Ida Tin, co-founder and president of Clue, a Berlin-based menstrual health app, coined the term femtech in 2016 and joined MobiHealthNews to discuss investment and advancement in the sector.
MobiHealthNews: How do you think the collapse of Silicon Valley Bank will affect femtech?
Ida Tin: I think there’s something general to be said about innovation, and in particular about companies that are perhaps higher risk that have found investments, and probably investment money very hard won. And I would say I think it’s kind of like in war zones and disaster areas, like women are always the first and hardest hit. And I’m a little afraid it’s the same here because it’s hard to raise funds for femtech. I think it’s fair to say. And the kind of more niche funds that have emerged over the past few years are peanut-sized funds, unfortunately.
And I think in general, when everybody gets more nervous, we tend to do more things that are known, and anything that’s in the realms of something that might be culturally more challenging or feel more new or unfamiliar, then things tighten up. But I will say that there’s also a strong kind of cross-current happening right now, where femtech and women’s health, and health in general, is really getting a lot of interest and support. And I think it will be like the strongest current. It’s impossible for women to stop wanting to create products that solve real problems for them and each other. So I’m not afraid that femtech will somehow take a hit.
MNH: What’s going on with Clue and how is he progressing?
Tin: We actually just rebuilt our entire codebase and relaunched the application. Indeed, we have a lot of legacy code and we wanted to be able to build things much faster. And it’s not something that I think users will notice that much. The app looks a bit different, but somehow behind the scenes it was a huge hit.
We have a pregnancy function now we have a help you get pregnantAnd after giving birth. Thus helping to go through the phases of life more seamlessly. We were also affected by the financial “meh”. We had a big kind of venture capital deal, venture capital debt financing that failed because of macroeconomic issues. So we had to let people go, which is so sad because we had built an incredible team last year. So it was just bad luck. Clue is doing well, but external factors are hitting us like everyone.
MNH: How do you see femtech progressing in the future for the benefit of women’s health?
Tin: There remains a discovery challenge. I actually think there are a lot of new products out there that most people probably won’t have heard of. And I think that’s the sign of a category that is still very young.
There is also a lot of data fragmentation. We don’t yet have a place or a way to really leverage all the data we create. And I think that’s something that I hope will happen soon, so that it’s more convenient for users to get fuller pictures of their health and better navigate this culture.
I think there’s still room for some kind of deeper technology, more advanced algorithms or home diagnostics, […] better types of birth control, or things that take more innovation, more money to get to market. They’re on the way, but there’s still some kind of technological leap we can make, I think.
Emily Kwan will offer more details during her HIMSS23 session “Implementing an AI NLP Tool to Meet SDOH Needs”. It is scheduled for Tuesday, April 18 from 1:30 p.m. to 2:30 p.m. CT at the South Building, Level 1, S105 C.