Focus on femtech: New journey towards women’s health – The Financial Express

It took five years, four medical examinations and several painful scans for Mumbai-based Yogita Singh (name changed on request) to undertake the road to recovery after being detected with breast cancer. Singh was 49 when she first started experiencing severe headaches followed by fatigue. Initially, she has been being treated for bacterial infection and indigestion, but a mammography later confirmed cancer of the breast.

Singh had one of her breasts removed last year. She still takes therapies—physical and mental—and prays for the longer plus happier life. “The treatment is very painful and emotional, but I found happiness in a storm, ” says the particular mother associated with two teenage boys. She will turn 55 next month.

Timely screening can keep women informed about their health issues and even help in the detection of life-threatening diseases like cancer, just as in the case of Singh. Today, women’s wellness is no longer considered a niche or a mere subset of the healthcare sector. The particular shift in the direction of enhanced treatment has led to improved wellness outcomes and newer opportunities for investors as well as companies across the healthcare ecosystem to accept plus innovate personalised diagnostics, smart tools, and evidence-based recommendations, which all come under ‘femtech’ or ‘female technology’.

Femtech companies are designated as largely tech-enabled, consumer-centric solutions addressing women’s health, excluding biopharma and incumbent medical devices.

From tracking periods in order to fertility, sexual wellness, reproductive system health care, hormonal disorders, and even screening associated with cancers, femtech platforms are offering a range of solutions to focus on women’s health.

Healthy growth

Bengaluru-based femtech startup Niramai is an unique blend of social cause plus entrepreneurship. “Detecting breast cancer at an early stage and in an effective and safe manner using disruptive AI algorithms can solve massive global problems and Niramai does exactly that, ” says Manish Singhal, founding partner of pi Ventures, one of the particular investors within Niramai.

Niramai has raised a total of $7million from institutional traders from India, Japan plus Singapore including Dream Incubator, BeeNext, professional indemnity Ventures, Ankur Capital, Axilor Ventures, 500 Startups, and Flipkart co-founder Binny Bansal.

The rise of femtech solutions shows a tectonic shift associated with the Indian consumer’s priorities and women’s increasing financial autonomy, especially during the pandemic, which caught more attention to self-care and self-love. “The focus is now on wellness with sustainability in the core of consumer choices. Social media, apps (such as for period tracking) and the particular right messaging are other factors which usually promote more women to shun the stigma related in order to intimate plus menstrual hygiene and make better informed decisions for themselves, ” says Deep Bajaj, founder and CEO of Sirona Hygiene, which operates in areas such as intimate and menstrual cleanliness.

While the sector focuses on solutions that benefit a majority of the particular world’s 4 billion ladies, it will be also generating a massive market opportunity for venture capitalists plus creating impact in the world from a business lens. “Women consumers account with regard to almost half of the population and along with women dissatisfied with the existing level of care available, there are countless chances regarding investors to not only support high-growth firms, but also create an impact as well as profit handsomely. They furthermore have the chance to influence change and diversity in the particular global endeavor system simply by investing within exceptional female and male leaders who will inspire the next generation of entrepreneurs, ” adds Abhay Tandon, co-founder, and companion, 3to1 Capital, and a good investor in Sanfe, the startup focused on female hygiene products.

“About 71% of girls don’t know about periods until they get it and this statistic is usually just one example about the lack of awareness, ” feels Prashant Mehta, partner, Lightbox, a Mumbai-based opportunity capital firm building customer technology and the lead investor in Nua, a period management and intimate hygiene startup.

“Addressing stigmatised topics and talking about gender equality by pioneers in the field has helped create the safe space for women to talk regarding their personal care plus understand how it affects their life. This in turn continues to further fuel femtech evolution because women-led startups not only focus on selling the product but also invest in building communities leading to wellness, ” feels Anika Parashar, creator and TOP DOG of The Woman’s Company, which makes an array associated with organic and biodegradable items ranging from organic sanitary napkins, panty liners, cotton tampons, stand plus pee urination devices in order to medical-grade silicone cups and bamboo razors.

Finding options

“Access to information plus products within the feminine hygiene market in India is witnessing an unprecedented growth because of rapid urbanisation, rising woman literacy and disposable income, awareness plus advocacy upon issues like menstrual health and hygiene, and access in order to high-speed Internet. Women are usually looking intended for services that will make their own life easier, that create their menstruating years comfortable very safe, ” says Parashar of The Woman’s Company.

Agrees Geetha Manjunath, founder of Niramai, which usually has an innovative solution called Thermalytix that uses high-resolution thermal sensing device and a cloud-hosted analytics solution to get analysing breast thermal images in a completely noninvasive manner. “Healthtech startups focusing on feminine health issues are now dealing with both these issues, thus even more impactful, ” says Manjunath, whose new venture has conducted over 43, 000 screenings since its inception in 2016 plus has over 50 installations at hospitals and diagnostic centres across 14 Indian native cities in partnership with diagnostic chains in Indian such as Apollo Clinics, Healthspring and HCG Cancer Hospitals. among others.

However , in the country because diverse plus unique with different sets of ethos, values, culture and tradition, marketing feminine hygiene products is a challenge of its own. “Menstruation is still a stigma in Native indian society, ” Parashar feels. Data suggest that less than 50% associated with rural females use sanitary pads while in urban areas the percentage is higher at around 77%. There is a lack of an empowered and enabling environment in rural communities where women can participate and get relevant information on menstruation, their health insurance and hygiene.

According to a survey conducted simply by Statista within 2021 amongst founders and CEOs of femtech companies and organisations globally, three-quarters of femtech founders plus CEOs stated period tech, fertility and pregnancy technology as some of the major trends driving the femtech industry. “With innovative technologies targeting menstruation issues, pelvic health, fertility and birth control, sex wellness, chronic conditions, plus general healthcare, the market is poised to grow from a healthy rate, ” says Harry Sehrawat, co-founder of Sanfe, a feminine hygiene and period treatment brand.

Tread with caution

While women-centric products which include at-home diagnostics, trackers, plus wearables help women take greater charge of wellness, a clinical diagnosis by an expert is integral. “In recent times, we’ve ushered in an exciting era of new developments inside non-invasive screening for women’s health which includes reproductive health and cancer. Screening tests play the pivotal role in the particular early recognition of disease onset to facilitate timely intervention and mitigate the risk associated with complications. Researchers are also developing novel checks measuring certain small molecules found in saliva samples or even menstrual blood that can confirm an endometriosis diagnosis. But femtech cannot replace a physician’s analysis evaluation plus management strategy. It can be used synergistically with private preventive wellness screening in order to facilitate the particular early detection of persistent disease onset and progression, ” says Dr Sathya Sriram, CEO, Preventive Health Checks, Apollo Hospitals Group.

Therefore, digitalisation helps to an extent, as it can bridge the gap with patients and facilitate the rapidly increasing medical evidence coupled with the decreasing supply of medical experts.

Recently, the ministry of into the family welfare mentioned that India’s doctor-population ratio is 1: 834. So, technology may reduce the hospital burden and help ladies to know whenever they need to consult the particular doctors. Take, for instance, software-based solutions for the earlier detection associated with cancer of the breast. The particular portable malignancy screening tool attempts in order to replace traditional self-examination methods by being completely automated, accurate, plus low-cost. Similarly, CervAstra, a good AI-powered point-of-care device pertaining to cancer testing, analyses pap smear samples to quickly identify abnormal cells. A mobile colposcope uses a smartphone for cervical cancer verification. It offers an alternative screening modality to the current standard of care, along with improved accuracy and speed—returning results in under 60 seconds.

“These can be useful to some extent for awareness and remote virtual consultation with the doctors. This particular technology might be associated with some help in spreading consciousness for prevention of cervical cancer in the population at large having digital knowledge. These have been used in the particular western countries in urban populations. The technologies aim to give control back to women simply by enabling them to get more intimate knowledge of their own bodies, ” says Rama Joshi, principal director and head, department of gynae oncology plus robotic surgery, Fortis Gurugram.

However, femtech apps are not governed by legislation as they are not run or owned by health care providers.

Joshi feels such products of large corporations are free to mandate their very own policy subject to minimal regulation. “Such lacuna in the law makes it convenient for these apps to continue their particular use associated with data without facing any legal repercussions. Most of the apps are not registered as healthcare devices. They are also unregulated. Therefore these systems should be used under the guidance of doctors after checking proper authentication from the app/products. These technology cannot be a replacement meant for screening, diagnosis and therapy by physicians, ” adds Joshi.

BOX ITEM one

GLOBAL FEMTECH MARKET

* How big is the particular femtech marketplace?

The worldwide femtech market size had been estimated with $5. 1 billion within 2021 and is expected to reach $5. 6 billion in 2022

* What is the femtech marketplace growth?

The global femtech market place is likely to grow at a compound annual growth rate of 11. 1% through 2022 in order to 2030 to reach USD 13. 1 billion dollars by 2030

* What are the factors traveling the femtech market?

Evolution of the smartphone industry; rapidly improving internet connectivity; growing health consciousness; recognition of the particular unmet healthcare needs of women

(Source: Grand View Research)

SOME NOTABLE PLAYERS

2. Sirona Hygiene: Founded in 2014 simply by Deep and Mohit Bajaj, Sirona can make intimate plus menstrual cleanliness products

* The particular Woman’s Organization: It makes an array of natural and biodegradable products ranging from hygienic napkins, panty liners, cotton tampons, stand and pee urination products, medical-grade silicon cups and bamboo shavers

5. Niramai: It has developed the novel software-based medical device to detect breast cancer at an earlier stage than traditional strategies or self-examination

* Tia: Brand new York-based Tia is a platform offering both brick-and-mortar services and virtual women’s wellness tools

* Always You: It is a menstrual health brand founded by Ariana Huffington’s Thrive Global. The app is designed to help you track your periods each month plus features wellness advice and expert-backed articles, videos, plus activities

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