Despite headwinds in 2022, women’s health startups are doing better than ever • TechCrunch

It seems poised to shatter the glass ceiling with the largest share of digital funding to date

It’s past seven months since Roe v. Wade was overturned, the dust has barely begun to settle.

Politically, voters expressed overwhelming support for a person’s right to access an abortion. Campaigns at the grassroots level continue, and technologically speaking, innovation in the wider women’s health sector is only increasing.

But have things improved at all in this sector? Or has deteriorating sentiment across the political spectrum just spooked investors? TechCrunch did a vibration check to see where the sector stands and found a prevailing sense of guarded optimism.

For Oriana Papin-Zoghbi, CEO and co-founder of ovarian cancer early detection company AOA, the sector has tons of potential for growth, but raising capital remains a challenge, as some investors still consider it a “niche market.”

However, things are slowly but surely changing: “Women still make up the majority of investors who have the deepest understanding of our product, but fortunately we’re seeing an increase in the general population interested in investing,” Papin-Zogbi told TechCrunch.

It closed a $7 million seed round last year and is now raising a Series A. “We still have a long way to go to change minds about the importance of investing in women’s health.” We are not a niche market like 50% of the population.”

Janna Meirovitz Turner, founder of Sinastri Capital, echoed similar sentiments. She noted that women’s health startups are seeking funding beyond traditional venture capital, turning to avenues such as family offices, corporate venture capital and crowdfunding. She also heard talk of strategic mergers and joint ventures.

“I predict that capital for healthcare companies will increase in 2023,” she told TechCrunch. “But I’m not so optimistic about misogyny in the investment and medical fields, which change as quickly as public sentiment about things like abortion or even the health benefits of the female orgasm.”

Funding for women’s health care companies doesn’t look so bad after all. According to PitchBook, such startups raised about $1.16 billion in 2022, down from the $1.41 billion they raised in 2021. The good news is that $1.16 billion is much closer to $1.41 billion than $496 million, which was the amount for women’s health. companies that raised in 2020 and $476.8 million, the amount raised in 2019. This indicates that investors have not returned to pre-pandemic levels and that the sector is still on an upward trend.

In fact, women’s healthcare technology companies, also known as “femtech”, fared much better in 2022 relative to digital healthcare funding. Although funding in the digital health sector fell to around $8.6 billion in 2022 from around $16 billion a year earlier, Femtech’s share grew significantly from previous years — the sector’s share of digital health funding was 13.26 % in 2022, compared to 8.75% in 2021, 7.6% in 2020 and 11.8% in 2019.

Visualization of data from Miranda Halperncreated with Flourish

If anything, there appears to be increased investor interest in continuing to fund innovation in this sector, despite the economic and political obstacles standing in the way.

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