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As of 2022, 1400+ femtech companies are operating globally, and a dozen growth tanks have been found specifically for femtech startups. Of these companies, 51% are in North America, 27% in Europe, and 9% in Asia. The market is growing fast, presenting a lucrative opportunity for entrepreneurs and investors.
The term “femtech” has been around since 2016. It applies to software, products and services that use technology solutions to improve diagnostics and healthcare for particular female-specific conditions or general health problems, like osteoporosis or cardiovascular disease, that affect women differently.
Along with the software products, inventors are developing women-centric wearables, products and biotech solutions.
How is femtech product creation different from other startups?
Are ideas for your new startup brewing in your brain? Let us tell you what you will need to make them happen, development-wise.
Planning and development differences:
Include all representative testers in extensive customer research.
Women come in all shapes from all backgrounds. Some people qualified for the femtech products do not identify as women – or may not be women at all. For example, with fertility applications targeted at hetero couples, males may want to share the experience.
It is essential to count in race, sexuality, disability, gender identity and economics into qualitative research to get a full range of customer journeys. Interviews, dedicated groups, deep empathy exploration and consumer diaries will help to create a complete picture.
Acknowledge the gender data gap:
Over history, medical studies have assumed the male body as the default. Meanwhile, female bodies differ in physiologies and responses to disease. A resulting scarcity of data representing women’s health is something that femtech founders have to overcome.
At the same time, it creates an opportunity to produce valuable knowledge through data collection and user-generated feedback and design better and more inclusive products.
Make user privacy a top priority:
While solving crucial problems for women’s health, femtech creators may accidentally disclose sensitive and controversial information.
Some trackers gather data about a person’s mood swings, sexual behavior and intimate bodily functions. A company has to ensure the air-tight, HIPAA and GDPR-compliant processing of the information and be transparent with the user about what data they gather and how they use it.
Roll-out and marketing differences
Find out if your product may classify as a medical device:
Check what FDA classifies as a medical device — for example, laser hair removal systems and toothbrushes fall under that category. Note that apps can, too, classify as SaMD (Software as a Medical Device).
An app that tracks a woman’s health is only classed as a medical device in some jurisdictions if it’s simply displaying information. But if it starts to diagnose a condition based on the gathered data, it may become a medical device.
Get compliance clearance for the features you are marketing:
Consult about regulatory frameworks for your product’s features (fertility tracking, contraception, dietary advice) to go through all the essential clearances on time. This way, you’ll avoid repeating any work steps and save time and money.
Overcome social media bans:
Meta is prudent in everything concerning women’s body parts. While having good intentions, it becomes a massive obstacle for femtech startups. For example, one contraception startup has to use the @ symbol every time they speak about the vaginal ring.
Look for creative solutions, and shift your focus to driving organic traffic directly to the page or engaging with other platforms that are less prudent.
What are the practical differences in software development for femtech?
In femtech startups, women are the decision-makers. The professionals who face the clients of future products are also women. To follow this pattern and ensure more accurate data collection, we provide relevant professionals balance in the teams working from our side.
The specific in the femtech products is that the accuracy of data usage in the application has to be the utmost focus, and you have to consider all possible variations.
When we worked with a prominent fertility care provider from the U.S., we found out that physically active females have different body data than physically inactive, which impacts the tracking and the results. The fluctuations of the fertility-related data have the ultimate meaning, so we had to do separate developments for different user groups. The same applies to variations in other lifestyles, races and demographics. You have to consider a lot more parameters.
So, what do you need to develop a femtech product that will stand out on the market?
Compliant development with extra attention to sensitive data
Meticulous product design with qualitative research
Developers experienced in health tech, mTech and wearables
A clear vision of your ideal customer profile and product-market fit
Legal-proofed, creative approach to the product marketing
Femtech is an exciting new industry with a vast field for innovations. Though demanding, developing your product in this sphere can improve the quality of life for billions of people and bring you success.