A Canadian network focused on supporting technology companies addressing women’s health has officially launched.
Femtech Canada aims to support companies that cater to the health needs of women, girls, non-binary individuals, trans people, and those assigned female at birth. After just over two years of operating in stealth, Femtech Canada has now launched with over 120 Canadian startups, scale-ups, industry partners, investors, accelerators, and service providers in its network.
“Fifty percent of the population is not and should not be considered ‘niche’.”Ella Seitz, Esplanade Ventures
The organization was founded back in 2021 by Rachel Bartholemew, who is also the founder of Hyivy Health, which is developing a smart pelvic health rehabilitation system. A spokesperson from Femtech Canada told BetaKit, Bartholemew identified a gap in support for startups like hers, and began to develop a community with her peers in the women’s health space.
In 2022, Bartholemew partnered with Hamilton, Ontario-based Innovation Factory to establish the network. While it operated in stealth, the organization built out an advisory board, engaged with founders in the sector, and hosted sessions to test its initial offerings.
A recent report fromMcKinsey’s noted that women’s health is a chronically underfunded segment of healthcare, and women globally struggle to access or afford healthcare. Femtech Canada seeks to address this gap by providing networking, training, mentorship, and business advisory support for fundraising to tech companies focused on women’s health.
Femtech Canada’s spokesperson noted that while Femtech Canada will not provide direct investment to companies, the organization’s goal is to assist with the fundraising process by making introductions between companies and investors.
Currently, Esplanade Ventures, Amplify Capital, and Wittington Ventures sit on Femtech Canada’s advisory board.
Kathryn Wortsman, managing partner at Amplify Capital, told BetaKit that she and Ella Seitz, a partner at Esplanade Ventures, also saw a gap in awareness of healthcare technology focused on women’s health when collaborating on deals in early 2023.
“As women ourselves, and in our respective positions as investment decision makers at our funds, we wanted to help amplify the startups in the space and lead the conversation on the financial and health impact opportunity that can come from investing in this segment,” Wortsman said.
Seitz is also bullish on the investment opportunity in the women’s health space. “Fifty percent of the population is not and should not be considered ‘niche,’” Seitz told BetaKit. “Globally, women account for over 80 percent of healthcare decisions. Moreover, the femtech industry is growing at a 16 percent CAGR and is expected to grow to $97 billion by 2030″.
Femtech Canada officially launched at an event on January 17 that saw companies pitch to receive $35,000 in non-dilutive financing. Bfree Cup and Afynia Laboratories, both based in Hamilton, were named the winners of the event’s pitch competition.
Feature image courtesy Femtech Canada.