“Femtech” is the biggest opportunity in Health Tech – Kat Wendelstadt

Eleanor Sa-Carneiro

Following last week’s Web Summit, where Health Tech, Med Tech and the benefits of applying artificial intelligence towards the industry was widely discussed, we asked health tech expert and angel investor Kat Wendelstadt which sub sector of the industry presented the biggest opportunity for growth. “What comes to mind immediately is Femtech” she replied, “women’s health has consistently been underfunded”.

FemTech is the use of technology to address healthcare for women, from female-specific conditions such as maternal health, menstrual health, pelvic and sexual health, fertility, menopause, contraception, to several general health conditions that disproportionately impact women. “Clinical studies have been done on men, yet women’s bodies function completely differently. A heart attack manifests differently in a woman to man. Drugs have been tested on men more than women”, Kat told The Qonversation.

Compared to a few years ago, where it wasn’t talked about as much, “now it is a thing”, Kat explains, therefore presenting “a huge opportunity for growth”. A quick online search will confirm Kat’s sentiment with a barrage of articles over the last two years including the New York Times asking if “Femtech (is) the Next Big Thing in Health Care?”.

“Mental health” is another area that presents opportunity for growth, Kat explains, “including psychedelics and pushing that boundary”. “Everything from digital assistants and bots to “employee wellness through to “constant monitoring of mental health conditions through biomarkers like your voice, facial movements, tone of voice, pitch content”, which Kat tells us is seeing a great deal of investment, although she cautions that adoption is still limited due to ethical considerations.

“Obviously a lot of money is flowing towards drug discovery” because, as Kat explains, it can take ten years and a billion dollars in investment to bring a drug to market, “so you can imagine how big the need is, from cancer to more orphan diseases that don’t get the funding”.

When asked about her investment criteria having invested in some 20 startups, most of which are in health tech “I only invest in companies that can make the world a better place”, Kat Wendelstadt told The Qonversation. Entrepreneurs like Kat, technologists, and innovators attempt to address global challenges, matching capital and skills with unmet needs. Technology has proven crucial in addressing unmet needs in sectors ranging from energy to transportation, but perhaps none are quite as appreciated as in the health sector.

Watch this exciting episode of The Qonversation hosted by Eleanor Sá-Carneiro.

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