Whilst Covid has disrupted the lives of many, this year has been hugely transformative for a lot of the digital health technologies, ideas and brands that belong to the FemTech space.
When it comes to FemTech, the possibilities are endless considering that 2020 brought transformative and modern technologies and ideas to the world of digital health.
Speaking with FemTech Startups every day, FemTech.Live gets to see the most exciting new ideas and because of this, we know that 2021 is set to sparkle. We spoke with two of our superstar experts, Jane Van Dis and Keren Leshem, to highlight six FemTech transformations we’re expecting to hear more about in 2021.
Point of Care Procedures
“COVID has taught us once more that ‘the only constant in life is change’. As someone who has worked in start-ups for half of my life, this is something I embrace daily.” says Keren Leshem, CEO of OCON Healthcare, a FemHealth focused company with international sales (30 countries) of their flagship product the IUB™ Ballerine®, a non-hormonal long-term, reversible contraception.
For Keren, this Covid-education gives her some positive perceptions of the future. “In terms of Healthcare Solutions I think COVID will force companies to shift their products more towards point-of-care procedures away from the hospitals. We are currently developing the first in-office treatment for global endometrial ablation for women suffering from abnormal uterine bleeding, which affects 1 out of 4 women globally. The current procedure takes place in the hospital under general anesthesia and is invasive, painful and costly. Bringing a less-invasive, pain-free solution, our disruptive IUB™ SEAD™ not only bring massive cost-savings but is also much needed in times of crisis where hospitals are already brushing up against their capacity to deliver care.”
Uterus-focused research and technology
Keren Leshem agrees, “up until recently Healthcare Professionals looked at the uterus as a flat triangle not considering its 3-dimensional cavity. The majority of today’s products for the uterus are based on ancient technology not taking modern research on the shape and size of the uterus into account.”
Keren goes onto say that this renewed research and focus on the uterus, “together with the trend away from harmful hormones, towards more natural, less-invasive medical solutions.. will be the spaces where we will see more and more innovations hitting the market in 2021 and the years to come.”
Inclusivity and Better Health Outcomes
For Jane van Dis, Startup advisor and medical director at Mavenclinic, Covid has had some positive effects. “Covid has demonstrated the importance of building health tech ALWAYS with the inclusion and analysis of an equity lens, addressing social disparities of care, and making sure our solutions are thoughtful and equitable.”
Often this inclusivity can be driven by data collection in this space. As Keren Leshem notes “the massive data collected through health apps can offer a great opportunity, especially in the healthcare space”, Keren goes onto say “the use of AI and big data for medical diagnosis or screening can offer additional health benefits for patients and doctors, even save lives, and in the right hands accelerate medical advances more quickly.”
2020 saw big brands such as Johnson & Johnson and P&G taking a greater interest in FemTech, however for Keren Leshem this trend may not continue into 2021.
“While I agree with seeing some of the big companies taking bigger interest in FemTech we also see big Pharma Players moving away from the Women’s Health field, reducing their Support in the field, not offering the same service to gynaecologists that they used to which is unfortunate.”
However, Leshem also sees this as an opportunity. “This is a big chance for startups like OCON Healthcare and our global partners in the field, that can offer innovative solutions and a more flexible, customer focused support within women’s health that was once dominated by global Big Pharma.”
Choice and Customised Solutions
Keren Leshem reflected on the current landscape noting, “there are currently a few hundred startups in the FemTech marketplace. Their primary focus is on women-based care like fertility tracking and pregnancy apps.”
For Jane van Dis her hope for 2021, is that these companies “open up the idea that women deserve choices”. She goes on to say, “we deserve products and services that fit and function for our myriad body types, physiology and anatomy”.
Similarly, Keren Leshem, places her hopes on that fact that “women’s health is becoming more focused on the well-being of women”, because of this she says companies are “taking women’s needs and bodies into account, offering individual, customised solutions that are better designed for the female anatomy.”
New Markets and Investment
The FemTech industry has generated just over $376 million in venture capital across 57 deals in 2020 and some of the largest exits in recent years include FemTech companies. For Keren Leshem this trend isn’t going to stop anytime, and she envisions “seeing more investments from healthcare venture capitalists, [shaping] the FemTech industry.”
With this in mind the CEO of OCON Healthcare is focusing 2021 on “expanding [OCON’s] reach specifically into Latin America, Australasia as well as the UK and Ireland”, alongside “getting ready for the US.”
For both Jane and Keren, 2021 is set to be a year of excitement for the FemTech space. As Keren herself notes, there is “a massive opportunity for innovative solutions in women’s health and FemHealth [this year]”.
With thanks to our expert advisors.
Jane Van Dis is a Board Certified ObGyn in the US, working clinically as an OB Hospitalist. She is CEO of Equity Quotient, and Co-Founder of OB Best Practice. Currently, she advises 4 start ups and is the Medical Director at Mavenclinic, alongside acting as an advisor at FemTechLab as well as at Portfolia Ventures.
Keren Leshem, is the CEO of OCON Healthcare, a FemHealth focused company. She is also a mentor for (women) entrepreneurs and a part of the 8400 health network: A cross-sector leaders network actualising the globally disruptive capability of Israel’s HealthTech ecosystem.