FemTech – The Time is Now

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Women of Wearables & FemTech

“Investors and tech ecosystems have started recognising the importance of this industry, which is estimated to be worth $50 billion by 2025, according to Frost & Sullivan. Women in the workforce spend 29% more per capita on healthcare than their male peers and they’re 75% more likely to use digital tools to track their health.”

Two weeks ago we headed down to a FemTech panel discussion hosted by Women of Wearables and chaired by their founder Marija Butkovic. The other panelists were founder of Adia Health, Lina Chan, founder of period-proof underwear Flux Undies, Paige Fashoni and Paljit Sohal, Healthcare Director of Consulting at Frost & Sullivan.

We’ve rounded up some key takeaways from the event, which overall was an insightful and interesting conversation leaving us feel empowered and inspired to take more of a proactive approach to our health, trust our gut when it comes to our bodies, and not be ashamed to recognise where we might need additional help or support.

Branding Fertility

Fertility experts Adia Health are empowering women to take control of their reproductive health, they work with some of the leading experts in reproductive, nutritional and emotional health to deliver a holistic and scientifically rigorous approach for women trying to conceive, and for their partners. Founder, Lina Chan spoke about her decisions when it came to branding, and how important it was to create a neutral colour palette, not dominated by the pinks and blues so commonly associated with pregnancy products, that can actually be a source of stress and upset for those who may have had difficulties in conceiving.

It’s a really valuable lesson in how branding and product need to work together in order to achieve your brand mission. Not taking the time to consider the implications of big decisions around marketing and branding, or not taking the time to understand the pain points of your customers can have serious implications to the success of your business as a whole.  

Data Sensitivity

There was a big question mark over data capture, particularly when the information being collected around women’s health can be incredibly personal and private. It was recently reported that certain menstrual tracking apps were sharing sensitive data with Facebook leading to growing concerns around data protection.

The panel shared their experience on this subject and highlighted that on the whole, women are willing to input potentially sensitive data onto platforms such as fertility or menstrual trackers, but they want to be able to trust that this data will be given back to them in a useful way. If they are able to learn valuable tailored insights into their own bodies, and the data is not just being housed or worse, sold to third parties, then they are actually open to sharing.

It could be argued that FemTech brands have more of a responsibility to be open, transparent and honest with their customers than brands in other sectors (although it’s a hot topic across the board at the moment), and it will be interesting to see how new FemTech brands will approach their marketing and community-building efforts in order to reassure their customers that the data they share will be handled with care. 

Do we need it?

We all know about the investment gap by now. The Rose Review recently found that less than 1% of VC money goes to all-female teams which is clearly a huge hurdle to overcome. The founders on the panel said that when pitching to male investors (as they so often are), they have needed to spend more time on education, and explaining the problem before getting to the way their product will solve it. They had been met with questions such as ‘do we really need this?’

This highlights the importance of getting investor-specific communications right. We work with female-founders to ensure that the messaging they’re presenting to potential investors bridges both the gap in terms of understanding, and in terms of unconscious bias. It’s vital to recognise the landscape we’re operating in before getting started on creating any narrative in order to give female founders the best possible chance at success, when the odds are currently stacked against them.

We go to a lot of events that cover what could be argued as ‘female-topics’, but the fact is, there’s nothing exclusively female about any of it. A large part of the discussion centred on fertility and how technology is making huge progress in solving common problems… and this is an issue that affects men just as much as women. So it was really refreshing to see a number of men in the audience who were engaging in the discussion. We need to encourage more men to join these types of conversations in order to make any real progress, and especially when it comes to getting rid of the shame and taboo which is stopping women speaking out and getting the help they need.

Overall, this was a brilliant event, that combined insider insights with personal experiences and created a safe space for sensitive topics to be discussed openly and with respect… Thanks for having us along, Women of Wearables!

Image source: Peter Astbury

Natalie MooresComment