Earlier this week an investor asked me why women can’t just get VC funding. “Am I missing something?” he asked. I took a deep breath and dropped the facts about the culture and economy of men funding men.
Fact: Only 2% of funding goes to women-led startups. For women of color, the stats are far more dismal at just 0.64%.
Fact: Global investment funding for women-led startups dropped 30% between 2019 and 2020, despite it having been a record year of fundraising for startups – but for startups led by men.
Fact: Even with the rise of FemTech startups, which are focusing on women’s healthcare—a sector that’s historically been significantly overlooked and undermined, only 3% of total HealthTech funding went to FemTech startups in 2020.
The paltry amount of funding for FemTech is particularly shocking because this sector is expected to scale to $1.07 trillion by 2026. And global healthcare spending is predicted to reach over $10 trillion by 2022.
What’s the disconnect? Is it because 95% of VC partners are men and don’t understand this highly lucrative market? The investor who curtly told one women-led startup that he wouldn’t fund her because he essentially found women’s health boring certainly didn’t get it.
So to all the VCs and angel investors who have been missing out on funding the next generation of women-led startups driving the future of healthcare and FemTech, here’s a list of 52 startups to follow right now.
1. 1910 Genetics, Founded by Jen Nwankwo (Massachusetts, US)
1910 Genetics developed two drug discovery engines – ELVIS™ and ROSALYND™ – that enable the design of both small molecule and protein therapeutics, an unmatched capability in the AI drug discovery space.
2. Aavia, Cofounded by Aagya Mathur and Aya Suzuki (New York, US)
Revolutionizing the birth control experiences, by creating the first ever smart Pill sleeve.
3. ART Compass, founded by Carol Lynn Curchoe, PhD (California, US)
An IVF centric platform, which not only stores patient records, but captures critical data, leading to improved outcomes, powered by their AI engine.
4. Asia Biome, Cofounded by Shilpa Purdal, MD (Asia)
Curing the root cause of IBS, autism, ALS, and multiple sclerosis through the gut microbiome.
5. BIOMLQ, Cofounded by Michelle Egger and Leila Strickland, PhD (North Carolina, US)
BIOMILQ is a women-owned, science-led, and mother centered start-up that aims to create cultured breastmilk with the nutrition of breast milk and the practicality of formula.
6. BioXplor, Cofounded by Anna O’Leary (North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany)
BioXplor is on a mission to discover novel drug combinations and improve clinical development success through smarter data analysis.
7. Blushh, Cofounded by Ja Young Choi, SJ Choi, Soy Hwang, Sunny Kim, and Yon Soo Park (Asia)
A sensual audio app for women in Asia. With a simple monthly subscription, women can listen to intimate and immersive audio stories. What Spotify and Audible did for music and audiobooks they’re doing for women’s sexual wellness.
8. BrightSign, Founded by Hadeel Ayoub (London, UK)
Assistive technology that leverages a smart glove that can translate any sign into any spoken language – instantly.
9. Cala Health, Founded by Kate Rosenbluth, PhD (California, US)
Cala Health is on a mission to transform the standard of care for patients living with chronic diseases using non-invasive wearable neuromodulation therapies.
10. Careteam Technologies, Founded by Alexandra T. Greenhill, MD (British Columbia, Canada)
Their flexible customizable platform enables innovative health care teams to deploy virtual care coordination and collaboration projects within and between health organizations, including the patient, family and community.
11. Carrot, Cofounded by Tammy Sun and Dr. Asima Ahmad (Illinois, US)
A platform that offers global fertility benefits for employers and provides flexible financial coverage and expert care navigation.
12. Celmatix Inc., Founded by Piraye Beim, (New York, US)
A women’s health company transforming reproductive healthcare through genomics and big data
13. Cubismi, Founded by Moira Schieke, MD (Wisconsin, US)
An interactive digital diagnostics that provides personalized actionable visualizations and precision insights to transform and empower each professional interaction and each patient’s journey going through cancer.
14. Curatio, Cofounded by Lynda Brown-Ganzert (Vancouver, Canada)
Private social health networks to connect and empower patients, increase adherence and improve outcomes. Available in 102 countries and 20 languages.
15. Dame Products, Cofounded by Janet Lieberman and Alexandra Fine (New York, US)
Dame Products engineers for sexual wellness by building a welcoming community, designing innovative tools, and bringing education to your bedroom.
16. Delee, Cofounded by Liza Velarde (Monterrey, Mexico)
A medical device company that developed a blood-testing device for early diagnosis of cancer and treatment monitoring through the isolation and analysis of circulating tumor cells.
17. DocDoc, Cofounded by Grace Park (Singapore)
DocDoc harnesses the power of artificial intelligence to provide patients with the information they need to make optimal healthcare decisions.
18. Ease Healthcare, Cofounded by Guadalupe Lazaro (Singapore)
A digital health startup focused on revolutionizing access to sensitive healthcare services by making them more convenient, affordable and discreet. From birth control and emergency contraception delivery to at-home STD tests and sexual health teleconsultations, they help people manage their sexual and reproductive health from the comfort of their home.
19. eHealthAnalytics, Cofounded by Gail Port and Jacqueline Laver (California, US)
Maximizing the quality of life for seniors and helping them to maintain as much independence as possible.
20. Elektra Health, Cofounded by Alessandra Henderson and Jannine Versi (New York, US)
Smashing the menopause taboo and empowering women with world-class, evidence-based care, education and community.
21. Endodiag, Founded by Cecile Real (Paris, France)
A biotechnology company that specializes in the development of products and services aimed at improving the diagnosis of endometriosis
22. Ferne Health, Founded by Xi Liu (Singapore)
A sexual health platform that offers consultations and at-home testing kits for cervical cancer and sexually transmitted infections. No more long waits in the clinic and awkward conversations about your sex history. It’s your health, it’s your rules.
23. Fig Health, Founded by Maria Wang-Faulkner (Singapore)
An evidence-based digital coach and social network for the 1.5 billion women in the world living with hormonal imbalances.
24. HealthTechApps, Cofounded by Noe Foster (Hawaii, US)
A personalized machine learning platform that captures computes and communicates symptoms and triggers to your doctor, after a brain injury.
25. Helium Health, Cofounded by Tito Ovia (Nigeria)
Mission-set to provide Africa’s healthtech and data backbone by accelerating Africa’s transition to a technology and data driven healthcare sector. The startup is advancing universal health coverage by providing a suite of full-service solutions for all healthcare stakeholders in emerging markets
26. Herbio, Founded by Sayuri Tanaka (Japan)
Herbio’s wearable device, Picot monitors and measures basal body temperature It takes your temperature every 10 minutes while you sleep to track menstrual cycles and fertility.
27. Hued, Founded by Kimberly Wilson (New York and Washington, DC, US)
Diversifying the patient-physician experience by connecting patients to culturally-competent healthcare providers to receive top-notch patient care.
28. iShare Medical, Founded by Linda Van Horn (Missouri, US)
Simplifies the sharing, consolidation, and analysis of medical records for patients, providers, and payers, in order to create a learning health system to help detect, prevent, and treat disease sooner.
29. Lia, Cofounded by Bethany Edwards (Pennsylvania, US)
The first and only flushable, 0% plastic, and biodegradable pregnancy test. Lia is redesigning pregnancy tests to address the challenges surrounding privacy, usability, and sustainability in current pregnancy tests.
30. LS CancerDiag, Cofounded by Professor Minna Nyström, PhD and Dr. Minttu Kansikas (Helsinki, Finland)
On a mission to save millions of lives through an early and accurate detection of Lynch syndrome, the world’s most common inherited cancer predisposition.
31. Mahmee, Cofounded by Melissa Hanna and Linda Hanna (California, US)
Delivers data-driven care coordination and personalized support to new moms, everywhere.
32. Maya, Founded by Ivy Huq Russell (Bangladesh)
A mobile-based digital wellbeing assistant that intelligently understands user questions. Users can directly connect to experts, including doctors and therapists, to get the advice they’re looking for—hassle-free and without stigma.
33. Medebound, Cofounded by Sheena Liu, MD, PhD (New York, Hong Kong, Shanghai)
Dedicated to assisting patients across the globe to gain easy access to top medical experts when they encounter frustrating and devastating conditions.
34. MirrorMe3D, Founded by Carrie Stern (New York, US)
MirrorMe3D is unlocking patient’s 3D data so surgeons and patients have access to critical care information any time it is needed, from anywhere in the world.
35. Mumspring, Founded by Abisola Oladapo (Lagos, Nigeria)
Enabling access to essential health services and vaccines for women and children. Reversing the high newborn death trend in Africa, starting with Nigeria.
36. Nightingale Health, Cofounded by Satu Saksman (Helsinki, Finland)
Nightingale’s biomarker analysis platform provides comprehensive metabolic profiling. With a single blood test, it offers over 220 metabolic biomarkers for chronic diseases.
37. Niramai, Founded by Geetha Manjunath (Karnataka, India)
Niramai is developing a software-based medical device to detect breast cancer at a much earlier stage than traditional methods or self-examination. The portable solution can be operated in any clinic.
38. Open Bionics, Cofounded by Samantha Payne (Bristol, England)
Open Bionics developed the Hero Arm, a clinically approved 3D-printed bionic arm, with multi-grip functionality and empowering aesthetics.
39. Parallel Profile, Founded by Cathy Cather (Florida, US)
Consumer-direct pharmacogenomic testing company that provides DNA testing to help people understand what medicines will help them, hurt them, or provide no therapeutic benefit based on their unique genetics.
40. Patientory, Founded by Chrissa McFarlane (Georgia, US)
Patientory empowers patients, clinicians, and healthcare organizations to securely access and transfer protected health information while providing actionable insights to improve health outcomes. Patientory uses blockchain technology via the PTOYMatrix to ensure end-to-end encryption while adhering to regulatory guidelines and compliance requirements.
41. Play-It Health, Founded by Kimberly Gandy, MD, PhD (Kansas, US)
Play-it Health provides personalized remote patient monitoring in a rich virtual care management platform.
42. PreventScripts, Cofounded by Brandi Harless and Natalie Davis, MD (Kentucky, US)
On a mission to transform primary care to become the true front line of defense against obesity, diabetes, and hypertension.
43. Queerly Health, Cofounded by Meg Abraham (New York, US)
A NYC-based digital health startup created by and for the LGBTQ+ community.
44. R.grid, Founded by Dr. Amber Michelle Hill (London, UK)
A flexible, purpose-built solution for clinical trials operations management and patient engagement offering an AI-powered, unified cloud-software platform to accelerate operations, advance regulatory and quality assurance, expedite stakeholder collaboration and communication, and improve data management, insights and patient engagement.
45. Sehati, Founded by Anda Waluyo (Jakarta, Indonesia)
A mobile app in Bahasa to assist expecting mothers in monitoring their pregnancy through standardized guidance, receive pregnancy tips and book health checkups with hospitals, doctors and healthcare institutions.
46. Tickit Health, Cofounded by Sandy Whitehouse, MD (British Columbia, Canada) Tickit’s inclusive digital solutions support caring organizations in capturing data directly from people through surveys, assessments, and educational tools.
47. televëda, Cofounded by Shruti Gurudanti (Arizona, US)
televëda is more than a health and wellness company. televëda’s mission is to lower social isolation and improve the overall health for older adults by leveraging technology to deliver live and live-streamed body and brain fitness programs virtually.
48. US2.AI, Cofounded by Dr Carolyn Lam (Singapore)
Improving patient outcomes and expanding healthcare access using AI tools to democratize echo, the most commonly used tool for detection of heart risk.
49. Upside Health, Cofounded by Rachel Trobman (New York, US)
A digital health company reimagining pain care through Ouchie, a mobile pain management platform. Ouchie’s goal is to empower patients and return better outcomes to medical systems, clinicians and payers.
50. Uteroo, Founded by Paballo Moloi (Johannesburg, South Africa)
An app that allows users to track and manage menstruation, cycle history, period prediction, ovulation prediction, more.
51. Whispa, Founded by Morenike Fajemisin (Nigeria)
A mobile app that allows everyone to privately access sexual and reproductive health information, products, and services.
52. YourCoach, Cofounded by Marina Borukhovich (Catalonia, Spain)
A wellness and health coaching practice management platform to centralize and streamline the coaching experience for practitioners.