What is FemTech (Female technology)? We can forgive you for asking because it's a relatively new term and (as with many things related to women in tech) has been historically underrepresented and viewed as a niche market.
To put it simply, FemTechs are essentially technology-based companies that focus on women's health.
But in the past few years, the pace of change has accelerated and more FemTechs are popping up around Germany, especially in the startup city of Hamburg. And they are widening the field and what could be considered a “FemTech.”
While women in tech struggle to get their first rounds of funding, in comparison to their male counterparts – women-led startups received just 2.3% of venture capital funding in 2020 – we are starting to see a shift in this pattern as more investors see the success that FemTechs are achieving.
If you’re a woman, it probably comes as no surprise to you that FemTechs are popular. Women make up 50% of the population so that gives FemTechs a very large audience to market their products and services to.
And historically, there have been very few companies putting the spotlight on women's health, so these startups also have a competitive edge in the market. As such, FemTech has now exploded with many new cutting-edge startups emerging in Hamburg, Berlin, Munich, and more.
With increasing popularity, the global market for FemTech is forecast to reach $60 bn by 2027. And in this article, we will explore how this growing market is developing in Hamburg. We take a look at the female startup scene in the city and share three of our favorite FemTechs from Hamburg that you need to watch in 2023.
What is FemTech?
FemTechs are companies that focus on women's health. But women's health covers a whole range of issues, so how can we make a clear definition of a FemTech?
Well, that's the great thing about FemTechs, they are incredibly diverse and use their creativity and innovation to combat a whole range of women's health issues – some that you may not realize existed or are predominant in women.
The rapidly growing number of FemTech startups and companies can approach women's health in a wide variety of ways. From conducting research to designing innovative products, and even building communities that support women – there is a lot going on in the FemTech world.
According to PitchBook, in 2022, FemTech startups raised over $2 billion. This is a substantial increase from 2019, where investment was less than a quarter of this at $476.8 million.
With this rise in investment, we expect 2023 to be a bright year for FemTechs and for exciting new approaches to age-old women's health problems to emerge. Startups focusing on plugging societal gaps are growing in number and attracting global attention. And FemTechs in Hamburg and across Germany are using this attention and investment to create technology that addresses the health disparities that women face.
FemTechs use their innovation and creativity to provide support for all kinds of health problems. Everything from the obvious women's health topics such as reproductive health needs fertility, menstrual tracking, pregnancy, breastfeeding, and menopause. To the not-so-obvious health issues that affect women such as finding treatments for diseases like Alzheimer's, depression, certain types of cancer, and autoimmune diseases (all of which are more prevalent in women).
The work these FemTechs are doing is of great importance to women everywhere. Many diseases affect women differently or more than men but traditional medicine has used men as test subjects when developing treatments and drugs, leaving women on the sidelines.
This new wave of women's health technology could bridge this data gap and bring about significant change to women's health.
The FemTech scene in Hamburg
Hamburg has a vibrant startup scene that everyone in Germany knows about. But one thing about its startup ecosystem you might not know is that they have recently been putting a lot of support and resources into building a city that has a welcoming startup environment for women founders and FemTechs.
For example, The Scaleup Landing Pad Hamburg helps young international companies scale their business in Germany and Europe and has been investing in female founders.
The Digital Health Hub Hamburg is another initiative that any startup in healthcare, such as most FemTechs, would be interested in. It is a cluster brand of Gesundheitswirtschaft Hamburg GmbH and is the driving force behind innovations in the digitization of the healthcare system in Hamburg.
Not only are there these incredible hubs and initiatives to help the ecosystem thrive, but Hamburg is also home to the FemTechConf – the biggest Women in Tech community in Europe and the EMEA with over 150,000 active members globally.
In September it will host its Hamburg event that aims to connect the diverse professionals, leaders, executives and change-makers from across the STEM industry in EMEA!
There will be world-renowned speakers – all women – who are at the top of their fields and working for companies from Zalando to Google.
If you are looking to connect with other women in tech, you can also attend one of the regular get-togethers held by Women Techmakers Hamburg.
Ironhack holds women in tech events across Germany, including in Hamburg. Follow us on MeetUp to stay up-to-date on all our local events.
Top FemTech startups in Hamburg to watch
With so much going on in the FemTech scene in Hamburg, you are probably expecting there to be some incredible and revolutionary FemTechs located in the city. Well, you're right, there are. Here are three of our favorite cutting-edge FemTech startups from Hamburg that are revolutionizing women's health.
1. Ovy Ltd
Ovy is a FemTech startup based in Hamburg that is on a mission of improving the health of women through smart and innovative products.
Its debut product is the Ovy app which is used with its Bluetooth thermometer to calculate the fertile and non-fertile days of the menstrual cycle. The startup helps women to regulate their conception without hormones and also supports them in getting pregnant and fulfilling their desire to have children - without artificial hormones, simply and safely.
Wexxeljahre is a FemTech from Hamburg that helps empower women to take their menopausal health into their own hands.
The startup uses its Meno-Campus: The first mentoring for menopause, to connect women with a community of experts and offers that help them understand their menopause.
The startup puts a major focus on the accuracy of the medically relevant information it provides and has built its courses and community in a way that prepares women for menopause with understandable and digestible content.
Evidence is very important to Wexxeljahre, which notes that there are products and solutions that help women, despite the lack of scientific studies. Its aim is to offer guidance to women so that they do not take medication unnecessarily or wait too long for the treatments they need.
Menopause (like many topics around menstrual health) has been a taboo in society for a long time. As such, many women struggle to understand what is happening to their bodies when this time of life arrives and how they can make it more manageable.
Vulvani is another education-based FemTech from Hamburg that is all about teaching women about their bodies. Many women do not receive adequate sexual health education and can be left confused and scared by some of the things that happen to their bodies.
Not only this, but every woman's body is different and many of us experience our periods and cycles differently so the information we do sometimes receive simply doesn't fit our experience.
The aim of Vulvani is to give women the opportunity to learn more about their own bodies. It wants to normalize taboo topics such as periods, sexual health, menopause, and more through education that will empower people and create inclusive societies.
Some of the topics taught in its courses include how to make your menstrual cycle work for you. Here women learn how to make their menstrual cycle a part of their planning for all aspects of life and how understanding your cycle can help you learn to enjoy it rather than dread it.
Get ready to start your tech career in Hamburg
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 Berlin 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.