FemTech is a sector which is growing in popularity, with many companies set to make headway in the upcoming year. This International Women’s Day, TechRound is shining a light on companies who are working hard to benefit women’s health, researching fertility solutions, creating period-tracking apps, offering pregnancy and nursing care, and prioritising women’s sexual wellness.
Companies featured include:
- Quanovate Tech Inc. (Mira)
- twoplus Fertility
- The Lowdown
- Perci Health
- Juno Bio
- Bloom Diagnostics
- Smile Makers
- iPlaySafe app
For any questions, comments or features, please contact us directly.
Quanovate Tech Inc. (Mira)
Founder(s): Sylvia Kang
Quanovate Tech Inc. (Mira) empowers women all over the world. Quanovate Tech Inc. (Mira) is a San-Francisco-based company that provides healthcare products for more personal, accurate, and reliable home healthcare;
It was founded in late 2015 by a group of scientists, engineers, OBGYN doctors, and business execs to solve the problem of the unavailability of advanced home health testing;
Prior to its public launch in 2018, Mira had raised $6 mln from investors, then quickly reached self-sufficiency and was able to grow at the expense of profit. The company grows exponentially, attracting on average 20% more users each year;
The Company’s first healthcare product for at-home testing — Mira Fertility tracker — is an AI-powered device that aims to help women who are struggling to conceive. It measures numeric concentrations of hormones like in a lab directly from their bathrooms; 99% accuracy proven in trials;
Mira CEO. Sylvia Kang, is an example of delayed motherhood herself. Giving birth to her first child at the age of 36, Sylvia believes that women should own their bodies and their data, so they can make the right decisions along their fertility journey. Over 60,000 Mira analysers have been shipped to date.
CEO: Merle Hall
Launched in March 2021, XXEquals is the UK’s first majority female product design team who are creating products for women across the consumer, industrial and medical markets. In an industry which is 95% male, XXEquals is a multidisciplinary team of KD experts – 75% of whom are women.
Fuelled by the growing need to design more female-centred products, and to improve the gender balance in the design industry, XXEquals works on projects including smart femcare solutions, sustainable period products, voice recognition software, and greater diversity.
XXEquals is pushing for more gender equity across product development which could potentially benefit millions of consumers worldwide.
For instance, in February 2022, the team released new product concepts which reimagine care for the menstrual cycle. XXEquals’ own research revealed that there are currently no products on the market in the UK which holistically support menstrual health. Currently, consumer products only support premenstrual syndrome or menstruation. These product ideas aim to help people with periods prepare for, rather than simply react to, cyclical phases and fluctuations, and in some cases significantly boosting quality of life.
These product ideas fit with plans for women’s healthcare; according to the Vision for the Women’s Health Strategy for England (published on Thursday 23 December 2021), the government plans to improve awareness for, care of and treatment of menstrual health.
Produced in a recent hackathon, which was held remotely, XXEquals created concepts, which are experimental, to inspire healthcare brands to invest in menstrual products, and to fill the gap in healthcare and wellness for women.
As well as pioneering product development, XXEquals is also helping to pave the way for young women interested in careers in product and industrial design.
Founder(s): Prusothman Raja & Dr Benjamin Tee
twoplus Fertility developed the twoplus Sperm Guide – an effective, at-home fertility treatment to help increase the chances of natural conception by aiding more sperm cells to reach the egg.
1-in-7 couples in the UK may have difficulty conceiving according to NHS data. Fertility issues are generally perceived to be a female health problem. However, male factors such as poor sperm count and motility also affect a couple’s ability to conceive. The average man now carries around half as much sperm compared to 40 years ago and most sperm don’t naturally make it very far into the female reproductive tract.
The twoplus Sperm Guide is a small, comfortable device used during sex to help sperm get to the right place. The device mimics cervical cap insemination, preventing leakage of sperm after sex, while also increasing the amount of sperm which reaches the cervical mucus. Without intervention, less than 1% of sperm reach the egg. The twoplus Sperm Guide has been shown in in-vitro testing to increase the effective sperm count by approximately eight times.
Co-founder Dr Benjamin Tee realised there was a gap in the market for a simple and effective home-based fertility solution after he and his wife faced their own issues trying to conceive. Like many couples, they were excited to start a family together after spending time on their careers. However, the longer the process took, the more frustrated they became. Fertility doctors diagnosed them with unexplained infertility.
As a scientist with a PhD from Stanford University, Dr Tee decided to channel his frustrations into understanding fertility and conception. The company spent over two years developing the product alongside fertility specialists and sperm biologists.
The longer-term aim is to become a one-stop hub for fertility solutions. The company has big ambitions: they want to help 1 million couples conceive over the next 10 years.
CEO: Alice Pelton
The Lowdown is the world’s first review platform for contraception, dubbed the ‘Trip Advisor for The Pill’. It was set up by Alice Pelton, after she suffered from severe side effects from the Pill throughout her twenties and set out on a mission to shine a spotlight on the archaic attitude towards contraception. Through The Lowdown, Alice has:
- Collected 5,000+ honest reviews from people on every method and brand of contraception
- Launched a library of innovative tools (such as our world-first missed pill calculator) and resources for both health practitioners and the public
- Created a team of female GPs with whom users can speak to for personalised contraception advice
- Launched discreet, next day delivery of the UK’s widest range of contraceptive pills, the injection and the patch
- Worked tirelessly to close the health gap, working closely with the government on the women’s health strategy
- Run free events with world-leading experts on topics such as PCOS, the vaccine and periods, and endometriosis
She is an inspiration not only to her team but to thousands of women across the UK and is truly changing the way women can access and choose their contraception.
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Founder(s): Kelly McCabe & Morgan Fitzsimons
Perci Health is the world’s first online cancer recovery platform that was launched in 2021 by co-founders Kelly McCabe (registered oncology dietician) and Morgan Fitzsimons (former global head of marketing at ASOS). Both, having felt the impact of cancer, share a vision for health equity that led them to create Perci. The startup received £1.5m of seed funding from an assortment of influential oncologists and cancer surgeons from major cancer centres across the UK.
Perci is a single destination for tailored answers and access to high-quality cancer professionals, including dieticians, physiotherapists, coaches, psychologists and sexual medicine practitioners; supporting people living with cancer to make the best decisions about their health and wellbeing. Users can speak to a Perci Professional from the comfort of their own home via an online video appointment. Simply choose a support type, professional and time that suits you to receive tailored advice from their cancer experts and a care plan unique to your needs.
Founder(s): Leila Thabet
Leila is the Founder of Naytal, the UK’s first dedicated online clinic that provides specialised pregnancy and postnatal support. After being shocked by the level of support and specialist care she was able to access on her own journey through fertility, pregnancy and the postnatal blur, Leila created Naytal. Now women across the UK have direct access to the knowledge and support they need, when they need it, from healthcare experts they can trust.
Naytal is an online clinic dedicated to women’s health that connects women with specialist support, provided by leading reproductive health experts. We are a one-stop-shop where women can explore and instantly book virtual consultations, so that every woman is empowered to care for their reproductive health, on their own terms.
Founder(s): Victoria Engelhardt
Founded in 2017, Keleya is building the number one managed marketplace for parents, midwives and doctors. They accompany mothers-to-be and parents along the whole parenthood journey. Keleya’s key strength is to combine medical content and applications with a lifestyle, fun-to-use approach. Its pregnancy app provides premium pregnancy content to best support the woman and her partner along the pregnancy journey, and Ammely, their managed midwife marketplace, is where they bring midwives online.
The app includes a variety of workouts – from fitness, to yoga or Pilates, all appropriate for the current stage of pregnancy or postpartum. There are also weekly updates on the physical changes to be expected with your week of pregnancy, and check-ins on the baby’s current development. It includes training for the supporting partner too – teaching on the best practice for helping your partner through pregnancy, childbirth and postpartum.
The app is well-respected, and reimbursed by many insurance companies.
Founder(s): Leighton Turner & Hana Janebdar
Juno Bio is a womxn’s health company decoding the vaginal microbiome, which is implicated in everything from recurrent infections, through to infertility and pre-term birth. Juno Bio provides womxn with the only comprehensive vaginal microbiome screening test that will give them the answers they need, while powering up discovery to raise the standard of care possible for all womxn.
With at-home testing becoming the norm – from covid to DNA and ancestry analysis – Juno Bio offers a breakthrough test that decodes your microbes and supports research into women’s health.
Juno Bio is backed by research, running ‘The Juno Study’. Over 1000 womxn across the US registered to be part of the biggest IRB approved study of its kind, to power up womxn’s health research with the richest, most representative repository of vaginal microbiomes. This study has already shed light on patterns that will raise the standard of care possible for womxn across the world.
The Juno Study was a phenomenal leap forward in unraveling the vaginal microbiome and closing the gender health research gap. The product brings users this same science in the Juno test; rapidly unlocking unprecedented solutions and raising the standard of care for all.
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Founder(s): Jenny Saft & Tobias Kaufhold
OVIAVO is a fertility benefits platform that helps employers to attract and retain top talent, while tackling diversity and inclusion. With OVIAVO, companies can support their employees with fertility and family planning benefits – including consultation, access to clinics and treatments (i.e. egg freezing or IVF), adoption or surrogacy – subsidized by the company, but safe and confidential.
This helps modern companies to overcome inequalities, by supporting all employees to plan families and thrive in their career. To compete and retain the best talent, companies need to understand and support an employee’s desire to start a family. This means recognising that 50% of highly educated women don’t have a child at age 35, which is when 95% of ovarian reserve is already gone, and in particular, 7% of the population identifies as LGBTQI+, and requires fertility or adoption support to start a family.
By supporting employees to become parents, companies identify themselves as leaders in the workforce of tomorrow.
Founder(s): Helene Guillaume
WILD.AI is the app helping women who do sports to train, fuel and recover, based on their menstrual cycle. It applies the science of female physiology to athletes.
It is estimated that close to 75% of female athletes and sportswomen are negatively impacted by their menstrual cycles while training. Wild.AI supports users to track how their mental and physical readiness changes daily.
Founder(s): Eirini Rapti
Inne is the world’s first at-home fertility monitoring system that tracks fertility and ovulation using a saliva test. A biotech startup based in Berlin, Inne is on a mission to help women track their fertility in a more accurate, convenient way.
The inne minilab is the first in the world to measure progesterone changes in saliva. To achieve this, the inne minilab uses the combination of highly sensitive immunoassays and advanced image processing technology to detect the smallest differences in hormone levels.
At the beginning of a woman’s menstrual cycle, progesterone levels are low. They rise right after ovulation and remain high during the luteal phase. The inne minilab detects this rise and lets you know that ovulation has taken place.
Whether the goal is to achieve pregnancy or just understand your menstrual cycle, inne is helping women to better understand their bodies.
Founder(s): Angelica Kohlmann
Bloom Diagnostics is an innovative medtech company providing smart self-testing for a range of medical conditions, using a combination of cutting-edge biotechnology, cloud computing, and medicinal insight. Bloom Diagnostics allows consumers to take control of their own health, by using next-generation technology and personalised data insights that make it easier to track, maintain and improve their well-being.
Using the sophisticated Bloom Lab, consumers or healthcare professionals can test for a range of conditions, including their Ferritin Test, Thyroid Test, and Ovarian Reserve Test, and receive detailed results within minutes. The Bloom System combines a measurement value derived from a drop of blood with user-given information about symptoms and health conditions to deliver doctor-grade actionable information to the user, fully autonomously.
The Bloom System aims at providing users access to a range of at-home and self-tests, thereby relieving pressure on GPs and healthcare systems already under strain. Bloom Diagnostics is an innovative medtech company that has developed a smart system for a wide range of medical conditions. The Bloom System aims to impact the healthcare market by making smart testing accessible to consumers and professionals in a range of sectors.
Commenting on their latest announcement of the Bloom Ovarian Reserve Test, Angelica Kohlmann, MD PhD, Co-founder and chairperson at Bloom Diagnostics, said: “This is a game-changing step for home testing and for women. There is nothing of this nature on the market at present and with the addition of the Bloom Ovarian Reserve Test to the Bloom System, women all over the world can now track their egg count with real-time results from the comfort of their homes. This is something we welcome during what continues to be a turbulent time for global health care services.”
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Founder(s): Peder Wikstrom & Mattias Hulsting
Smile Makers is a sexual wellness brand created in 2012, with a simple but radical idea: to put vibrators on the shelves of mainstream retail and in the pages of our favourite magazines and by doing so, to change the perception of female sexuality. Why? Sex, like sleep, nutrition or sport, has a big impact on our overall wellbeing.
To quote Dr. Juliette Buffat, Psychiatrist and Sexologist, “Having a fulfilling sex life clearly contributes to good physical and psychological health, whether the satisfaction is obtained solo or between two persons.” Stress release, better sleep, boost in self-confidence, happier mood, pain relief, but also boosted immunity are among the documented positive correlations between sexual pleasure and wellbeing. Additionally, studies have also shown positive correlations between vibrator usage and healthy reflexes such as regular pap smear and self-check-ups for lumps in the breasts.
The first years were challenging as convincing mainstream retailers to launch took a lot of convincing. The brand was on the shelves as early as 2013 but the momentum was slow. Its efforts started to pay out as retailers’ launches influenced others in a domino effect as they embrace a much more hollistic approach to wellness.
Today, Smile Makers is sold in leading beauty, fashion, health, and lifestyle stores around the world. Its products fit naturally among wellness essentials and have been designed based on the latest research on female anatomy. Retailers include; Cult Beauty, Boots, Look Fantastic, Urban Outfitters, goop, Sephora, and many more from Europe to North America, and Asia Pacific.
With insights from sexologists, the brand has developed a free sex education program focused on pleasure and self-empowerment to invite vulva owners everywhere to write their sexual journey on their own terms.
Founder(s): Alua Sansyzbayeva
Reverie’s product is a smart vibrator that analyses users’ biometrics, during sessions, such as their Heart Rate Variability (HRV) and the volumetric variations of blood circulation in their pelvic floor area. Then, the smart mobile app provides users with a tailored programme to help them improve their sexual experiences. Using this data, Reverie’s algorithm gives a woman a real time feedback leading her to the state that is the most conducive to orgasms.
During training sessions, Reverie gathers and processes data from your pelvic floor area, such as the volumetric variations of blood circulation, pulse rate, and skin conductivity, which act as identifiers of womens’ sexual performance cycle and cognitive state (arousal, orgasm, stress, anxiety, and relaxation). Using this data, Reverie’s algorithm teaches users how to cope with mental barriers during sex. Vibro-stimulation is used as a tool to find what makes users feel good. The biofeedback training we use is a scientific method that’s proven itself successful in addressing mental challenges in reaching orgasm.
The founder – Alua Sansyzbayeva. Alua was born in Kazakhstan and was raised in traditional family. She pursued the career of investment banker at one of the largest global banks, Citi. She is Forbes 30 under 30 laureate in Kazakhstan. Given her traditional background, she was always passionate about female empowerment and rights aiming to educate, inspire and help women.
Founder(s): Peony Li
Jude is a community-led, taboo-breaking healthcare company that is bringing bladder care into the mainstream. Jude’s bladder-care essentials, including its fully biodegradable, 100% plant-based liners, pads and clinically tested supplements, have been co-created with its community of 300 women.
Jude has recently closed a £2m pre-seed round, the biggest by a female founder in the UK, and secured the backing of 12 female investors and Reckitt’s Innovation fund Access VC.
28-year-old founder Peony Li (ex Head of Investments at Founders Factory) has set out to tackle a problem that impacts 1 in 3 women or 14 million people in the UK. Targeting an “invisible demographic” of women aged between 40-60, Jude joins other challenger brands on a mission to break down taboos in rapidly growing women’s health and ‘elderly’ care markets.
Launched in January 2022, Jude has since shipped to 2600 customers and will use the pre-seed funding to invest in R&D to further develop its innovative and affordable solutions for bladder care, running large scale clinical supplements trials, expanding the marketing team and continuing its focus on educational content to break down taboos and remove stigma around bladder health.
Founder(s): Georgia Di Mattos & Bianca Dunne
iPlaySafe is the new sexual wellness app to empower people get tested and share their sexual health status. Via a more open conversation, more people can be educated properly on sexually transmitted infections and encouraged to live more healthy lives, while banishing the stigma associated with them.
iPlaySafe App’s technology will allow more people to share their sexual health status more openly and frequently, contributing to the normalisation of transparent sexual health and wellness. Working with reputable partners, such as AccuLabs and Preventx and in conversation with other notable prospective partners, which include social media platforms, iPlaySafe’s services will provide a safer environment for people from all communities, and living various lifestyles, to have safe sex.
As a sexual wellness brand, and taking into consideration the services of premium labs, the price point of the product and platform has been set at a high standard to reflect this and ensures optimum safety and security for its users.
With more than one million STIs acquired daily worldwide, the introduction of products and services like iPlaySafe App will help open up the conversation, encourage greater education and greater awareness, while facilitating a decline in this number.