The future is femtech
Last week, I spent the afternoon at the Giant Health Conference in London listening to some highly capable women talk on this topic. And surprise, surprise… it left me feeling very inspired.
When I meet people who share my passions it often fills me with enthusiasm. Today caused me to pause and think why it felt quite so special though. Common overarching themes emerged, uniting the speakers with each other and the audience in a powerful way. So here’s my take on what ‘s propelling the ‘femtech’ movement.
‘Understanding pain points’
‘Creating products which solve real problems’...
….The list could easily go on — start-up 101 type stuff! Investors and founders alike know that successful products solve real problems. So why, then, is ‘femtech’ only bursting onto the scene now? The pains of women, from monthly period pains to fertility anxiety or menopausal night sweats, are so real and have been there forever.
So what has changed?
Well, a hell of a lot has changed! Women are more educated than ever and in positions of power where they can affect change. Women have voices and they’re not afraid to use them. Women are angry in the wake of Donald Trump and #metoo, amongst many other things. Fourth wave feminism is in full swing — focussed on justice for women and fighting harassment and violence.
But what’s the knock-on effect of changing societal narratives on technology? That we are now talking about our real pains. Opening up the dialogue about ‘taboo’ subjects enables innovation to happen. It’s only when these pains are properly understood that products can be created to solve these problems. There were some great examples of companies like Leika and Daye that were smashing down taboos with their products and narratives.
A lot of ‘femtech’ is about putting women back in control. In health, this control relates to what’s going on with their mind and body. Each talk was united by a narrative which put women firmly in the driving seat when it came to their health and wellbeing.
Healthcare is often charged with being paternalistic, with doctors ‘keeping’ information from patients. Today, helping women understand the root causes of their pain was a major part of every session. Giving access to information, as well as products to provide support and/or relief for women’s pain, was part of every brand’s strategy.
Not all gatherings of ambitious, driven people who are trying to start companies in a similar space are friendly. Competition can bring with it frosty exchanges and hushed tones. That was not the case today though!
There was an overwhelming feeling of support from the crowd of (mostly) women. People unified by an understanding that there’s so much innovation needed to help women solve their health problems that there’s space for us all. The room was full of women wanting to collaborate and help each other succeed. It was, indeed, quite magical.
Alongside this, many founders had put community support at the front and centre of their solutions. This highlights the importance of communities in solving these problems — a problem shared is a problem halved after all!
Women talking openly about their pain
Giving women more control
With supportive communities
Innovation empowering women. Nuff said.
As we prepare to launch our first female focussed product at Thriva HQ, I’m feeling very privileged to be a part of the growing community of people (both women and men) who are creating the future. And judging by today the future… might just have quite a lot of ‘femtech’ in it!