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March 6, 2023 - 7 min

3 FemTech Startups to Watch in Düsseldorf & Cologne in 2023

Diana Blaum - Ironhack Germany



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Surprise, surprise, 2022 was another year where men dominated the startup scene –, particularly in health and tech industries. 

While there is no change to the male dominance in the startup world, women in North Rhine Westphalia (and the whole of Germany) aren't letting that deter them.

Women building FemTech brands are writing an important new script that will deliver a happier and healthier future for women across demographics and increase representation for women in tech. 

Female entrepreneurship has been on the rise in Germany in the last decade and many exciting new female founders are focusing their incredible talents on using tech to tackle women's health problems. 

There are more and more female founders behind startups, especially in the healthtech space. But women are still underrepresented and have to fight against male dominance for every penny of funding they can get. 

The “Female Founders Monitor” study from 2022 shows that in Germany, only: 

  • 20% of founders in Germany are women.

  • 37% of founding teams include women as well as men.

Although we are seeing a positive upward trend in comparison to previous years, women are still clearly in the minority. Financing has been playing a big part in this. 

According to the study, investors demonstrate a bias in favor of men. Male teams receive almost nine times more investment than their female counterparts. This builds an ever more challenging environment for women in FemTech to work in – but incredible women are fighting those odds and paving the way for a better future for all women.

FemTech has started to explode in recent years with many new cutting-edge startups emerging that focus solely on women's health. With increasing popularity, the global market for FemTech is forecast to reach $60 bn by 2027.

With such big bucks on the table, we hope that in the next few years, FemTech will grab more of the attention of venture capitalists, and funding will flow to help female founders continue to disrupt the women’s health market in 2023 and beyond.

In this article, we will explore the emerging FemTech scene, how it has started to grow in North Rhine Westphalia (specifically in Düsseldorf and Cologne), and share some of our favorite FemTechs from the region that you need to watch in 2023. 

What is FemTech?

FemTech is one area of the startup world that puts the spotlight on women. But what exactly is a FemTech?

If you're not familiar with the term FemTech, don’t worry, we weren’t 100% sure either until we did the research for this article. The term FemTech was first used in 2016 by the female founder Ida Tin. She founded her FemTech Clue in Berlin and led the way for many other FemTechs to emerge in the city. 

A FemTech is a startup, scaleup, or company that uses its resources to create products and services that incorporate technology in providing support for women's health. This can be obvious women's health issues such as fertility, family planning, menstrual tracking, pregnancy, breastfeeding, and menopause. But, in addition, FemTechs also focus on finding treatments for diseases that are more prevalent in women (such as Alzheimer's, certain types of cancer, and autoimmune diseases).

FemTechs are doing important work for women everywhere. There are many historically taboo topics in women's health, such as periods. These stigmas have prevented innovation and left women to deal with their health problems in discomfort and silence. 

But FemTechs are now shining a spotlight on these issues that women face and the conversation they are starting as well as the new products and services they are creating are helping women better manage their health. 

This new wave of women's health technology is set to bring rapid change to the women's health market and help many across the globe live happier and healthier lives. And some of the most exciting FemTech startups in the nation are coming out of North Rhine Westphalia.

The FemTech scene in North Rhine Westphalia 

North Rhine Westphalia is beginning to emerge as an important region in the nation for FemTechs. Government initiatives, local organizations, and talented female tech workers are coming together to put the region on the map and make it an attractive location for female founders, digital innovation, and sustainable industry.

The Ministry of Economic Affairs, Industry, Climate Action, and Energy of the State of North Rhine-Westphalia, is “pushing ahead with the digital transformation of state government services and supporting businesses on their path into the digital age. When it comes to the energy transition, we are banking on innovation and technological advances in the pursuit of our aim to turn North Rhine-Westphalia into Europe’s most modern, climate-friendly, and environmentally sustainable center of industry.”

In addition, Dusseldorf is home to the MEDICA Trade Fair, the world’s largest event for the medical sector. This event is a prime location for FemTechs to demonstrate how their technology is being used in women's health and medicine as well as connect with experts and investors in the medical field. 

Cologne is another major city in the region where the FemTech scene is growing. There are almost 100 healthtech startups in the city. From BioTech to MedTech and everything in between, digital health is becoming one of the industries that Cologne is known for. 

The health tech companies in the city are fueling innovation and growth in a sector that is changing rapidly due to demographic change and increasing health awareness. And the area is perfectly poised for FemTechs to grow with access to over 40 hospitals and clinics in the city and 6 Life Science Excellence Research Institutes. 

Top FemTech brands in Düsseldorf & Cologne to watch

FemTechs in Düsseldorf and Cologne are some of the most exciting startups on the scene right now. Want to see who's leading the charge? Here are three of our favorite cutting-edge FemTech startups from Düsseldorf and Cologne that are revolutionizing women's health.

1. uma app (Cologne)

uma is a startup from Cologne that is focused on science-based pregnancy. The uma app was developed by midwives and accompanies pregnant women throughout their pregnancy, birth, and postpartum to help them be independent and safe.

The uma app aims to empower pregnant women and improve their care through digitization. It focuses on providing tailored and personalized support so that women are able to enjoy this magic period in life in a self-determined way and without comparison to others' experiences.

2. Elona Health GMBH (Düsseldorf) 

Elona Health is an evidence-based and sustainable startup based in Düsseldorf that is focused on patient-centered psychotherapy. It has a scientific advisory board that continuously evaluates the effectiveness and safety of its solutions and it is opening up tailored pathways for people with specific issues such as depression.

According to Mindsetsd, despite the fact people from every walk of life can develop depression, women are about twice as likely as men to experience major depression in their lifetime. 

While the app is focused on all audiences, as women suffer from depression at higher rates than men, we still put Elona on the list as a FemTech as it's tackling a women's health issue. 

Its goal is to be “the leading provider of innovative outpatient mental health solutions by 2023 and improve the treatment experience for patients and therapists.” 

It has a lot of exciting new releases planned for this year so you should definitely keep your eyes peeled for what's coming. 

3. JUPP Cologne (Cologne)

JUPP is a healthtech startup out of Cologne that was founded by a designer and an economist. JUPP works to help patients who suffer from dementia and their families. 

Women are more greatly affected by dementia than men. Worldwide, double the number of women have dementia than men. Research, based on brain scans, shows that the rate at which brain cells are dying in the brain is faster in women than in men and this combined with the fact that women are more likely to live longer than men makes them more likely to suffer from dementia in their lifetime. 

JUPP is a new startup and its first product to be developed is a mindfulness diary that creates moments of happiness, promotes communication, and captures memories. It also  offers an interactive information system for dealing with dementia and they are working on an app that will hopefully be released soon and will focus on helping people with dementia in their everyday life.

Get ready to start your tech career in Düsseldorf & Cologne

Are you a woman ready to kickstart your career in tech? Sign up for one of our bootcamps and learn the skills that FemTechs in Düsseldorf or Cologne are searching for. Our tech school offers a range of immersive courses from UX/UI Design to Cybersecurity that are delivered in formats tailored to your needs: online or on campus, full-time or part-time. Apply today

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