Femtech founders: Shattering stigmas and driving innovation in women’s health

Senior Design Strategist
Strategy Director

In honor of Women’s History Month, Senior Design Strategist Valentina Canavesio interviewed seven inspiring female entrepreneurs who are transforming women’s healthcare through innovation and design. This fast-growing space of FemTech – which refers to the range of health software and tech-enabled products that cater to female biological needs [1] – is projected to be almost two times larger than it was in 2020, and is expected to exceed $75 billion. [2]

Several factors fuel this growth: increased scientific research focused specifically on women’s health, a cultural shift of Gen X and Millennial women being more vocal about their health and wellness, and emerging technology that makes innovations increasingly possible. Not to mention the November 2023 Executive Order on Advancing Women’s Health Research! [3]

Product innovations redefining women’s health

Dr. Sara Naseri, founder of Qvin, is breaking ground by using menstrual blood for diagnostic breakthroughs, a long-overlooked area. Sarah O’Leary from Willow discusses designing the first cord-free, tube-free breast pump, empowering mothers with mobility and freedom. Laura Yecies of Bone Health Technologies highlights the importance of women’s health beyond reproduction. Their wearable belt helps improve bone density in older women.

Services tailored to women’s needs

We also spoke with founders of healthcare service companies that address the specific needs of their communities. Ashlee Wisdom, founder of Health in her Hue, emphasizes the importance of culturally competent care for women of color. Jackie Giannelli of Elektra Health, and Anne Fulenwider and Monica Molenaar of Alloy are transforming the conversation and care around menopause, helping transform menopause from a dreaded phase of life to one filled with joy and empowerment.

Key takeaways

Our interviews revealed five key themes shaping the future of women’s healthcare:

Gen X & Millennial women demand more

Menstruation, sexual health, menopause, and aging have historically been seen as taboo topics and have been much overlooked by research and investments. It’s women themselves who are moving the limelight on these critical topics, particularly Gen X and Millennials.

Women's health is more than reproduction

In a world where most women’s healthcare funding often goes toward reproductive health and where gender bias can affect how seriously a woman’s pain is considered [4], these conversations highlight the diverse aspects of women’s well-being. Bone Health Technologies is a prime example, advocating for proactive bone health management for aging women, challenging the stereotype of frailty.

Solve for unmet user needs

As with all good design, each company was born from an unmet need and an understanding of its users. From addressing the juggling challenges of new motherhood, identifying non-pharmaceutical means to strengthen older female bones, or ensuring women feel seen and understood by their doctors, these leaders innately understood the importance of incorporating and iterating on their user’s experience.

Education counters shame

For too long, women have navigated health issues alone or in shame. These six companies eschew such a construct and instead emphasize education, awareness, and community. The more women understand their options and have access to support networks, the more empowered they become. Companies Health in Her Hue, Alloy, and Elektra all have community at the core of their business model.

Investing in women’s health is good business

Women’s health impacts everyone. In the United States, women comprise half the population and make roughly 80% of healthcare decisions for their families [5]. Neglecting investments in women’s health goes beyond mere health repercussions. It diminishes women’s quality of life, can hinder progress in the workplace (just think about lost productivity from breastfeeding or experiencing perimenopause at the prime of one’s career), and impacts their economic stability. Investing in women’s health is simply good economics.


We were honored to spotlight these inspiring companies, and eagerly await more FemTech innovation.

“Addressing the women's health gap could potentially boost the global economy by at least $1 trillion annually by 2040. Investing in women's health – which is more than just sexual or reproductive health – is therefore not only a matter of health equity, but a chance to help women have expanded workforce participation.”
World Economic Forum [6]

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