Female-founded femtech startups in the UK tackling gender bias in healthcare
Femtech refers to technologies specifically focused on women’s health, covering a broad range of areas from hormonal disorders and period pain to birth control, pelvic health, and sexual wellness. Femtech seeks to address women’s health issues through new product development.
Regardless of how it is perceived, femtechs are getting popular in VC portfolios, which is good progress. Recently, FemTech Lab was opened in London to encourage more innovative companies to establish their presence in this industry. Having said that, here are 10 UK-based femtech startups that were founded by female entrepreneurs.
Founder/s: Fernanda Dobal, David Huang
Founding year: 2020
London-based modern menopause clinic, Bia Care leverages the power of groups. It offers a unique blend of personalised healthcare with group consultations. In July, Bia Care launched its virtual clinic to improve menopause care by combining technology with personalised treatments.
The virtual clinic is a remote care solution, which ensures women are provided with the knowledge needed to control their symptoms, access clinically validated treatment options and are given the ability to share their experiences in a confidential setting.
Founder/s: Caroline Noublanche, Julio Louzada, Andrew Berkley
Founding year: 2016
Apricity is the world’s first virtual fertility clinic, putting patients and their needs at the centre of the fertility process. It is a one-stop-shop with digital tools and modular services, wherein women can customise their journeys and access the best doctors and techniques in a streamlined process combining the best of Artificial Intelligence with a human touch.
Back in 2019, Apricity raised €6 million (nearly £5 million) in its Series A funding round from AXA’s Kamet Ventures. The fundraising was meant to accelerate the company’s go-to-market plans, especially with AXA, to better support and empower women and couples everywhere.
Founder/s: Andrea Berchowitz, Dr Rebecca Love
Founding year: 2019
A femtech headquartered in London, Vira Health operates with the mission to make high-quality personalised menopause care accessible to all women. The company wants to improve healthy life expectancy for women by reducing the prevalence of later life conditions such as osteoporosis, cardiovascular disease, diabetes and dementia.
In July, Vira Health raised £1.5 million in a seed funding round led by LocalGlobe and MMC Ventures, and angels including Hearst Ventures’ Megumi Ikeda, Elvie’s Andrea Zitna, and former Spotify executive Sofia Bendz. It will use the funds to support the launch of its app Stella in other markets and its expansion into other later-life health areas of women.
Founder/s: Pippa Harman, Cate Nisson
Founding year: 2019
Another interesting femtech from female founders – Renude combines skincare science and data science to provide customers with simpler and more efficient ways to find skincare routines that work for them. The London-based company offers a skincare membership service, connecting customers with personalised licensed experts to support them on their skin journey by providing tailored product recommendations.
Founders: Candice Hampson, Christine Beardsell
Kiteline (formerly Liminal Health) is a London-based startup providing personalised content and virtual health coaching to employees affected by chronic conditions. The company has secured £370K funding led by SFC Capital in June this year. Also, global VC Antler and a group of angel investors participated in the round. The healthtech will use the funds to accelerate its smart coach matching service and content offering, which will include on-demand wellbeing learning modules and condition-specific resources.
Founder/s: Karolina Lofqvist, Jasmine Tagesson
Founding year: 2019
Based out of London, Hormona has built the first comprehensive at-home test, which helps women track their hormones on a monthly basis. Using a series of algorithms, Hormona helps users understand how their hormones change over time and provides personalised predictions to optimise their wellbeing. Hormona’s technology enables women to recognise their unique hormone profile to help them improve their lifestyle and make better choices for their overall health.
Founder/s: Tania Boler
Founded year: 2013
A disruptive player in the femtech industry is London-based Elvie, which is known for pioneering silent breast pumps. The company has developed extraordinary products that improve women’s lives, revolutionising categories that were overlooked for many years, including breast pumps and pelvic floor health.
Last month, Elvie picked up a £12.7 million investment as an extension, which takes the total Series C funding raised by the company to £70 million. The investment came from funds sponsored by the co-founders of Blume Equity alongside further capital from existing investors IPGL, Hiro Capital and Westerly Winds. The investment will be used to fuel Elvie’s ambitious plans to grow further and diversify a global platform for women’s health needs.
Founder/s: Valentina Milanova
Founded year: 2017
Headquartered in London, Daye provides monthly subscriptions of period care products. It lets customers choose from a range of sustainable and organic tampons that are either standard or CBD-infused. Also, it offers ‘ProViotics’, probiotics for vaginal health. Furthermore, the company is also investing in projects to overcome gender biases in medical research and product innovation.
To date, Daye has £5.51m in equity investment from a slew of investors including Index Ventures, Kindred Capital VC, and US firm Khosla Ventures.
Founder/s: Afsaneh Parvizi
Founded year: 2016
Another subscription service in the femtech industry is Freda, which delivers natural and environmentally friendly period products. Its portfolio includes eco pads and liners, and biodegradable tampons that are made from 100 percent certified organic cotton. Based out of London, Freda has secured a £150k investment in 2017 and attended the Business Growth Programme for three months in 2018. This programme was managed by London & Partners.
Founder/s: Kim Palmer
Founded year: 2017
A femtech startup in the mental health segment is Clementine app from London. It is a female-focused hypnotherapy app. Clementine aims to help women find their inner calm, become more confident, reduce anxiety, and sleep better. Based in London, the company pocketed a £1 million equity funding round in October 2020, from impact venture capital firm Fortunis.