The femtech industry has a lot of potential.
If you want to build a femtech startup to solve women's issues and help them lead a better life, you can actually create a profitable business out of it while contributing to women's empowerment.
People, irrespective of their gender, have started discussing women's issues and finding solutions to them on the global stage.
According to Statista, the global femtech market was valued at $22 billion in 2020 and could reach $60 billion by 2027.
Now, we have a lot of products and services being created to meet their specific needs. This is proof that we are making progress in this field, leaving behind the stigma around these sensitive topics related to women, such as menstruation, pregnancy, sexual wellness, etc.
In this article, I’ll discuss what femtech is and how to create a femtech application that can address women's issues and help enhance their quality of life.
What Is Femtech?
Femtech refers to technological solutions focusing on women’s health.
These solutions could be software, products, services, diagnostic tools, wearables, etc., using technology to address or solve women’s health concerns. These concerns can be related to menstruation, sexual health, reproductive health, maternal health, mental health (like menopause stress), fitness, nutrition, and so on. It also includes general health conditions affecting women like cardiovascular diseases, osteoporosis, etc.
The term “Femtech” is the acronym for female technology or female health technology coined by a Danish entrepreneur Ida Tin in 2016. She is the co-founder of Clue, an app to track periods.
Femtech increases awareness about the systemic, social, and historical exclusion of women’s health issues and needs. It also aims to showcase research gaps, empower women, and encourage them to embrace their bodies and improve their health and hygiene.
Example: Some of the Femtech products, services, tools, and apps are:
- Clue, a menstrual cycle tracking application
- Ava, a multi-sensor bracelet to predict your fertile days
- Freda, a subscription service to deliver feminine hygiene products at your doorsteps across Europe
- Daye, a startup focused on helping combat period pain amongst menstruators with the help of painkiller alternatives such as CBD.
- Lattice Medical, a French startup using bio-engineering to help breast cancer survivors with implants and natural breast reconstruction
- Kindbody is a company offering fertility treatments and services such as donor support, in-vitro fertilization (IVF), intrauterine insemination, embryo freezing, and egg freezing.
- Coroflow is a company that has developed a breastfeeding monitor to measure the amount of milk a baby drinks.
And many more products and services promoting and transforming feminine health and hygiene.
So, if you are keen to jump into this rapidly progressive industry and create something that can solve women’s issues and upgrade their lives, there are a lot of avenues for you. You can think about the problems still left unaddressed that women face, figure out the solution, and the best way to reach that solution. This could be through an app, product, service, diagnosis tool, and so on.
If you want to build an application that can solve women’s concerns, let’s understand how to proceed with it.
Why Are Femtech Apps Popular?
This is the era of the internet and gadgets like smartphones and computers. Applications are built to solve problems and provide entertainment. They run on devices and are fuelled by the internet to extend help no matter where you are.
So, with the growth of Femtech, startups and companies are now creating useful applications that can help women solve their health problems on the go. This is contrary to the olden days when merely speaking about those problems or anybody listening to them was a big challenge. Women were on the backfoot, and so were their health issues.
But now, Femtech has given them a new dimension where they not only can openly talk about issues but find actual solutions to them. This helps them lead their life healthy and take better care of their children and family.
Products and services delivered through apps are thus gaining rapid momentum these days. And they are becoming more popular these days due to several reasons, such as:
- The rise of feminism and talks of women’s concerns at the global level
- Investors have started supporting Femtech businesses
- Innovators creating software products and services to help women
- Increased demand for information about women’s health, bodies, and fertility
So, if you can build a startup that is focused on enhancing women’s health by building Femtech-related applications, you can not only generate handsome revenue but also contribute to empowering women’s health.
Types of Femtech Apps
If you want to create software applications centered around feminine health, there are different categories of applications you can try your hands on. They are:
#1. Pregnancy Care
Software applications for pregnancy care and nursing help new and expectant mothers track their physical health before and after delivery. They can also access essential information to take proper care of their babies and themselves.
#2. Period and Fertility Trackers and Pelvis Health Apps
This category of applications is most famous since they cater to women of childbearing age. The number of such users is abundant across the globe. Period tracking apps help women track their periods easily instead of manually. They can also monitor their menstruation cycle and detect irregularities, which in many cases, can indicate a health issue.
Similarly, fertility tracking apps can help you plan your pregnancy with useful information tracked over a while. These applications also help you regulate your reproductive health, find the fertile days in your cycle, and avail of helpful advice to plan your pregnancy.
There are pelvic health apps available that can connect to hardware or work as standalone software offering data about a woman’s pelvic and sexual wellness. It can help women with certain menstrual issues such as menopause, period irregularities, and so on.
#3. Nutrition and Fitness Apps
Nutrition and fitness apps are for women who want to maintain their fitness and are developing their workout regimes and following nutrition programs. These apps can offer tailored help for a woman’s needs and guide them on how to achieve their fitness goals.
#4. Lifestyle Applications
Lifestyle applications aim to help women live their lives to the fullest in terms of both mental and physical wellbeing. These apps can guide you in fitness, sleep, meditation, managing stress, and improving your quality of life.
Example: Asana Rebel
#5. General Health
Apart from health issues specific to women, Femtech apps can be focused on general health concerns that a woman might face. It is built to ease their lives and enable them to access information and solve issues no matter where they are. It can include medicine trackers, telemedicine apps connecting users to their health counselors, doctors, nurses, nutritionists, etc.
#6. Mental Health Apps
In order to lead a quality life, both the spheres of our being must be good – physical health and mental health. With increasing awareness about mental health, you can see many people, including celebrities and public figures coming forward and talking about mental health these days.
So, you can build a mental health app to improve women’s mental health. There are apps available that can help women connect to their health specialists, track their emotional state and mood, offer personalized advice, and more.
How to Start Building a Femtech Application?
So, you have made up your mind to jump into this advancing Femtech market. And for that, you want to build an application focused on women.
Here’s how you can create a femtech application and excel at it.
Start with an Idea
Whether you want to build a software or hardware product, you need a brilliant idea. This idea must be centered around solving certain issues for women or helping them lead better lives. And you can bring that idea to life via your software application. For this, you can go with either a web or mobile app.
There’s a lot of competition around, so make sure your idea must resonate with your target audience. If there are already similar products or services available in the market, figure out your USP and how you can provide a better solution.
You will also need to approve your idea from healthcare organizations and, if required, find partners. So, ensure your idea is practical and your goal achievable.
Understand the Market
Now, if your idea is solid, spend time understanding the market thoroughly instead of directly starting with the development process.
Deep dive into your target audience's needs, preferences, and struggles so you can help them with your solution. Always consider their age, background, average income, and location of the target audience, in this case, women who will be using your app.
Also, analyze the femtech market:
- What’s working and what’s not
- Who are the leaders in this space, and the reasons for their excellence
- Your direct competitors and their strategies.
Learn from others’ mistakes and improve your strategies. In addition, since femtech is still new, women might not have information about the kind of app available. So, promote your product well, so it reaches every household.
Developing a femtech application is not easy, especially if you decide to do it alone. It will take a considerable amount of money on software development, testing, deployment, and maintenance. And for this, you will require a team with excellent developers, testers, and professionals for operations, along with tools and technologies to build an infrastructure to house everything. This is an expensive ride.
Thus, you will need an investor who believes in your idea and supports you with a handsome sum to fund your development. The best thing is many investors, irrespective of their gender, have started supporting femtech startups. You can also find firms investing in femtech startups, such as Portfolia, Catalyst Health Ventures, etc.
Once you find some investors, present your idea before them. You can create a product prototype to show exactly how your vision can become a reality and help women out there and, at the same time, be profitable business-wise.
Before that, you must create your business plan and how to monetize your app so that investors will have a clear idea of what to expect from you and whether or not to grant you the fund.
Take Legal Permissions
Since femtech is associated with healthcare, you must understand applicable rules in your country and region and take legal permissions from authorities or regulatory bodies.
In addition, if your app collects and transfers users' personal data, you must ensure the app is compliant with data privacy rules, such as HIPAA (applicable in the US) and GDPR (applicable in the European Union).
Start the Software Development Process
Once you have everything in place – idea, business strategy, and funding, you can start the application development process. This will include different steps.
#1. Find a reliable team: You must find a reliable team with skilled software developers, testers, and professionals to take care of operations. At this point, you must allocate your funds strategically towards the development team, marketing, and some miscellaneous funds to take care of other expenses.
You can either build a software development team in-house or outsource it to expert professionals. The first approach is costly as you will have to take care of everything, from infrastructure to salaries and things in between. But if you outsource it to a country where you can get skilled professionals at reasonable rates, it could save your funds significantly.
Go with any approach and find a good development team on platforms like LinkedIn, read reviews, seek help from your peers, or post an ad.
#2. Create an MVP: Once you have found your team, plan on building a scalable minimum viable product (MVP). It will help you understand the market demand for your software product and save money instead of going for a fully-fledged production at one go.
For this, choose the most striking features you want to include in your application that can entice users and add value to their lives. For this, take help from mobile experts in conducting marketing research and listing features.
#3. Documentation: Once the feature list is approved, let your business analyst prepare the documentation highlighting the project's technical requirements. It will serve as a guide for your entire team.
#4. Software development: Now comes the stage where you can start developing your femtech application to wow your target audience. It includes several stages – planning, creating the code, testing, deployment, and maintenance.
- Planning: Your team will prepare the development environment for your application, create API documentation, and research third-party services to include in your app.
- Code building and testing: Based on the project requirements, your coders will create the code using a suitable programming language and various tools and technologies like frameworks, libraries, etc. You must also test your code for bugs and errors and rectify them immediately to ensure the app quality in terms of security, performance, functionality, scalability, etc.
- Deployment: Once the app is ready, deploy or release it on the market. Ensure it is compliant with applicable data privacy rules and optimize it for app stores like Google Play and Apple Store to rank higher in the search results.
Analyze and Improve
Building and deploying the app is not where your journey ends, and you will see considerable growth directly.
You must analyze how your app performs in the real world among your targeted audience. Keep an eye on the app metrics such as traffic, who uses it the most, on what platforms, what pages they like the most, etc. This information will help you find gaps in your application that you can improve and provide better services to the users while strengthening your strong points.
You can also add more features and check the response both from marketing and technical glances. It will help extend your app’s functionality and make it advanced, better, and more competent. In addition, take care of the app’s periodic maintenance to ensure everything is running just fine and patch the issues, if any, to make it more secure and performing.
Challenges in Building a Femtech Start-up
Although women's issues are now being discussed at the global level and products and services are available more than before, building a femtech startup is still a challenge for many. Hence, you must know all the hurdles you might face before you start with your application.
#1. Funding Issues
A majority of investors are men, who may not understand female concerns as deeply as women. Hence, they may not be convinced by your idea that a particular application, product, or service will actually be beneficial to women and bring potential revenue.
This is why getting funds from them can be challenging. And if you are a woman trying to persuade an investor, it becomes even more difficult to explain all the intricacies that a male has never experienced.
#2. Fewer Funds for Women
Women are likely to acquire fewer funds; blame it on gender inequality or anything else, but these issues still exist. This is the era when women are starting to come out more than ever, building businesses and becoming the financial support of their families.
This idea is yet to gain more recognition worldwide. The wave has already started in developed countries and is gaining momentum in developing and underdeveloped countries.
Nevertheless, many women entrepreneurs are hesitant to ask for funds. It may be due to many issues like the fear of not being considered, made fun of, etc. Whatever your reasons are, be strong about it. If you don’t believe in yourself, how will others be?
You can start with a prototype to pitch your idea, and always be ready to hear yes or no.
To encourage you more, take a look at some famous femtech apps.
Famous Femtech Applications to Blow Your Mind
Clue: Clue, which appeared several times in this article, is a period tracking app founded by Ida Tin, who coined the term “femtech” in 2016. It also helps you track your pregnancy, PMS, and ovulation, offers predictions based on data and tracks cycle lengths to help you observe patterns.
You can also find science-based articles in the app to make better health choices and learn about your boy more. This Berlin-based app already has 12 million active users monthly, 4.5 million monthly readers, and has raised over 27.4 million Euros.
Natural Cycles: This mobile app is the first FDA-cleared birth control application without requiring a prescription. It helps you track body temperature in women to predict their fertile days. It keeps your data safe and also helps you plan your pregnancy. This app was created by Elina Berglund, a particle physicist, and launched in Sweden. To date, it has garnered 1.5+ million users globally.
Flo: Flo is a period and menstrual cycle tracking application. You can access personalized insights about your health and courses to learn about cycles and their effects on your overall well-being. They have 100+ health experts and doctors on their team to provide recommendations, tips, and evidence-based articles to enhance your health.
If you want to build a femtech start-up focusing on applications that can solve women’s issues and improve their quality of life and health, this article guides you on how to do it and contribute to this progressive domain.
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