FitTech Insider

Do we need tech to understand female biology, Karina Vazirova?

FemTech brings together multiple major global trends - digitalization of health, personalized medicine and female empowerment. And in the middle of it all: Karina Vazirova, co-founder of accelerator FemTech Lab. Is the femtech market a sleeping giant?

It states to be the global ecosystem for startups, experts and investors in women's health and wellness. What do all these startups have in common? "They have to serve the female body," says co-founder Karina Vazirova. Fem Tech Lab is portfolio based. The accelerator raised its own round to fund its operational costs. It has two VCs, a couple of angel syndicates and a few angel investors. Fem Tech Lab operates with two business models. 1. The portfolio in the accelerator ("We take 5% equity") and 2. a media brand. " supports everything we do, but the mission there is to educate as much as possible about fem tech."

Karina Vazirova at FitTech Summit V: Tech or Die!

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Female Healthtech provider Tia announced a $100 million investment this september and is now valued at $600 million. Felicity Yost, Co-Founder at the company said to your website "the raise was proof the markets validate that women’s health is not niche!” Why will an investment like this be no longer an isolated case in the future?
FemTech and innovation in women's health are now widely viewed by investors as the next blue ocean. Healthcare systems around the world have failed to effectively serve women, over 50% of the world population, for centuries. Most drugs, treatments, even "bio-hacking" methods such as fasting - have NOT been adequately tested on women. This means that pretty much every aspect of health (not just reproductive health, but also chronic conditions, cardiovascular & auto-immune conditions, as well as wellness and fitness) has a list of demands unmet for women. On one hand, this is incredibly frustrating. On the other, it's a blue ocean of opportunities for entrepreneurs.  

Startups of FemTech Lab

Vibease: The smart vibrator is connected to a library of audio erotica.
Moonai: The menstrual pain solution is based on sound.
LactApp: The lactation consultant app.

Why is FemTech more than just another trend?
FemTech brings together multiple major global trends - digitalization of health, personalized medicine, and female empowerment. At FemTech Lab we work with 100+ investment partners, and we often receive inbound from emerging new funds or established funds who are looking to develop an investment strategy with a focus on women's health. In the last year, I have not once met an investor who indicated that they think that the women's health market is a niche. According to a recent report by FemTech Focus, the women’s health market is now worth a whopping 1 Trillion Dollars with 105 exists since 1990. In 2021 we also saw some big fundraising events, such as FloElvie, and Maven Clinic, showing that the sector is growing. 

Ultraviolet agency writes that “FemTech is one of the fastest growing areas of innovation and is forecast to grow to $1.2TR by 2026.” The global women’s health app market size is expected to reach USD 8.9 billion by 2028.  Why are these predictions realistic?
I think that ultimately every report or study on FemTech market size is showing us that women's health is a massive market with big segments within it, such as menopause, chronic conditions, uterine health, breast health, cardiovascular health, and more. Each of these segments could be a sector on its own. 

You cooperate with femtech forecasting agency Ultra Violette Futures on market foresights. You predict four big trends ...

1. Precision Health, the collaboration between healthcare and consumer brands. What examples of startups or market data illustrate this trend?

As one example, I think that the rise of cycle tracking apps strongly illustrates this trend. Female bodies are complex, our brain chemistry fluctuates 25% throughout the cycle and yet no cycle is the same from woman to woman. When it comes to conditions like PCOS and Endometriosis (it takes 9 years in the UK on average to get finally diagnosed with Endometriosis!), we hear a lot from founders that women are getting misdiagnosed and not effectively treated. Tracking individual symptoms can help communicate with healthcare professionals and come up with more precise treatments. In our previous cohort, we had a company called Femcy, doing just that in India.

2. Wellbeing Pollination, cycle-specific wellness offerings, from beauty to nutrition. What data, facts, studies suggest that this trend will be a big one?
In our fall cohort, we have an incredible startup called Unfabled. It's an e-commerce platform that brings together cycle care brands. Hannah Somano launched the platform half a year ago and is already receiving amazing user traction and customer love.

3. Environmental motivations, a new generation of planet positive products. How much greenwashing will we see in this trend?
I am not an expert on greenwashing, so i can't comment. I can say, however, that consumers are applying higher standards to product sustainability and we are seeing the rise of green and sustainable brands like &SISTERS.

4. Radical Inclusivity, periods are for everyone. How can tech help to achieve this goal?
An interesting angle here is how companies accommodate their female employees as a competitive advantage. Competition for talent will never go away and we love seeing b2b platforms such as Raise HR (in our current cohort) that are helping employers provide a better experience for women.

To summarize, lets have a look in the future: Helene Guillaume of WILD.AIsaid to us: “Hopefully, in five years we are not in this educational stage anymore and people understand the value of the product.” What do you add to her vision?
At FemTech Lab, the core principle behind our mission is to empower and unlock the potential of women. It's a fundamental fact that female bodies are cyclic and that cycle affects everything, not just our reproductive and menstrual health. Breaking taboos around cycle wellness and the emergence of empowering products like WILD.AI is showing us that we are well on the way!