Female technology (popularly known as femtech) was coined in 2013 by Ida Tin co-founder of Clue, a period tracking app. Broadly speaking, the term describes a subcategory of healthtech that caters to women’s health and wellness.
While femtech encompasses startups that deploy software, diagnostics, tech-powered products and/or services to serve the needs of women health-wise, it is lesser-known compared to fintech, cleantech, ecommerce, and the like.
Worldwide, the industry consists of about 200 startups of which 92% are female-founded. However, as it is with women-owned ventures, there’s a paucity of investment in femtech startups.
Moving beyond the fertility apps for which it is mostly known, femtech now covers solutions to chronic diseases, sexual health, pregnancy, and maternal care, amongst others.
The industry has often been referred to as a niche market but considering that its target market- girls and women- make up more than 50% of the global population, that description does not do it justice.
In fact, a report by Emergen Research projected that the Global Femtech Market is expected to soar to USD 60.01 Billion by 2027.
More than ever before, the industry is demonstrating its potential to expand. The growing concern of women-related diseases, as well as emphasis on reproductive health and sexual empowerment of maturing females in developing economies, are factors that would trigger development in the sector.
Femtech aims to give women more control over their lives. If it breaks archaic social taboos placed on topics around reproduction, sex, and sexuality, even better! Here are 5 African femtech startups you should know about.
The belief that no woman should die whilst giving life is what led to the birth of Afrimom. Founded by Dr. Integrity Mchechesi, a junior resident medical officer at Parirenyatwa Central hospital in Harare, Afrimom aims to reduce maternal deaths in Zimbabwe and beyond.
The startup uses an SMS and mobile application that includes a virtual women’s clinic and several social media platforms which operate around the clock to support women on all maternal and sexual reproductive health issues.
Afrimom provides access to paid emergency contraception and pre-and post-exposure ART medication to all female adults. The platform also connects pregnant women to approved local obstetricians and maternity clinics.
In 2019, the Zimbabwean female-focused startup numbered among six startups that raised an undisclosed amount of funding from the Potraz Innovation Fund.
An Egypt-based femtech startup, DilenyTech was launched in 2018 by Dr. Ahmed Ehab Mahmoud to build a strong and healthy society where breast health is given keen attention.
Understanding that if discovered early and with the right treatment, breast cancer need not be a death sentence, the startup offers innovative digital tools that enable breast cancer screening, as well as AI-powered imaging solutions that facilitate early and accurate detection of breast cancer.
For females who wish to know the risk factors for breast cancer, DilenyTech developed a Breast Cancer Risk Assessment Calculator.
In addition to its cutting-edge devices, the platform provides breast health-related information, suggestions for breast consultants, and recommended radiology centers for breast examination.
In February 2021, Dileny Tech secured a US $160, 000 non-equity grant to expand its AI-powered platform and expand its operations.
This women-focused startup is on a mission to tackle the high rate of infant mortality in Africa and other underserved communities.
Launched in 2018 by Abisola Oladapo, Mumspring empowers women, including new and experienced mothers to embark on and navigate their motherhood journey successfully.
Through its innovative application, Mumspring promotes antenatal, postnatal, and infant health, offers regular pregnancy guidance for expecting mothers, and provides baby gears that mothers desire for their newborn, among other things.
Founded by Morenike Fajemisin, Whispa Health creates a safe and enabling environment where young people can freely ask questions about sexual and reproductive health (SRH). It gives them access to the right medical help from certified, youth-friendly experts without being judged or made to feel ashamed of their sexuality.
Seeing that the platform is female-centric, it’s not surprising that about 60 to 65% of its user base are young females.
On March 12, 2021, Whispa Health, along with six other African startups, secured backing from the $2M Jua Kickstarter Fund.
Since an unannounced period can be a source of embarrassment to women who are not aware that it’s that time of the month, Pabi Moloi, a South African software developer, launched Uteroo in 2018 to enable women to track their menstrual cycle.
With firsthand knowledge that talks about menstruation are usually a hush-hush affair, and many women are prone to severe pain during their period, the founder of Uteroo uses her platform to help women to learn about their bodies, empower them with the needed information that allows them to make informed health choices and improve their lifestyles.
With its four key features, users of Uteroo can keep track of their period, predict their period for the next three months, know their cycle history, and predict their approximate ovulation day and symptoms.
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