In 2017, we released our first Top 100 Women in Wearable and Consumer Tech list, and this year we are back with a new list for the year 2019, this time focusing on top female leaders in fem tech and health tech industries globally.
This list was done in collaboration between Marija Butkovic, founder and CEO of Women of Wearables, Alika Nileshwar, Women of Wearables member and Senior Consultant at Deloitte Consulting, LLP in Washington and Nicole Dahlstrom, founder and CEO of FemTech Collective and Women of Wearables Bay Area Ambassador.
Disclaimer: The list has been arranged in alphabetical order and not in rank. There are many more women who should be on this list and we’d like to encourage everyone to continue adding to it by posting in the comments. Also, in case you think we have missed someone or wish to suggest a correction, please drop us a line on email@example.com.
Health technology is defined by the World Health Organization as the “application of organized knowledge and skills in the form of devices, medicines, vaccines, procedures and systems developed to solve a health problem and improve quality of lives”. This includes pharmaceuticals, devices, procedures, and organizational systems used in the healthcare industry as well as computer-supported information systems. Health tech is now a multi-billion dollar industry that is rapidly changing the way we handle medicine. (read more about health technology)
Over the past few years, there has also been an increase in health-related products designed with the female consumer in mind. With more or less half the population on this planet being female, there’s clearly a demand for health related products and services that meet their specific needs. FemTech is a term applied to a category of software, diagnostics, products, and services that use technology often to focus on women’s health. This sector includes fertility solutions, period-tracking apps, pregnancy and nursing care, women’s sexual wellness, and reproductive system health care. Fem tech was coined by Ida Tin, a Danish entrepreneur who founded Clue, a period-and fertility-tracking app. As an industry, fem tech largely encompasses any digital or standard health tools aimed at women’s health, including wearables, internet-connected medical devices, mobile apps, hygiene products, and others. (read more about Fem tech)
In March 2018, Frost & Sullivan released new data, predicting a market potential of $50 billion by 2025. Estimates suggest that around $200 billion is being spent on fem tech products each year. Personalized wellness and consumer healthcare technology has been a top-5 investment area in digital health for several years now, and fem tech has brought in overall funding of approximately $1 billion since 2014. Since 2016, regulatory agencies have also approved digital applications for conventional women’s health issues and this has paved the way for fem tech applications in the mainstream market. The main areas of concern for women are centered on access to affordable healthcare, maternal and child care, family planning and fertility, mental health, management of chronic diseases and elderly care. Most fem tech applications therefore revolve around key women’s health issues, such as reproductive and maternal health, general health, and wellness, which includes mental health, chronic diseases, and communicable diseases. (source)
One of the main problems that still remains is the lack of female role models, especially investors. This is because the majority of angel investors are men and because VC firms are mostly comprised of male partners. And since men network with other men within their network, they also invest more in male-led startups and businesses. Venture firms with women investment partners are 3 times more likely to invest in companies with female CEOs. It’s no wonder women CEOs aren’t getting funded.
For every £1 of venture capital (VC) investment in the UK, all-female founder teams get less than 1p, all-male founder teams get 89p, and mixed-gender teams 10p. Venture capital investment in start-ups with female founders is increasing but progress is very slow. At current rates, for all-female teams to reach even 10% of all deals will take more than 25 years (until 2045). 83% of deals that UK VCs made last year had no women at all on the founding teams (source). This ultimately means that a very small number of female-led businesses are being funded by VCs (not only in the UK but also worldwide), and if female-led businesses aren’t receiving enough funding or are not receiving it at all, it means the entire tech industry is missing out on some potentially great businesses.
All-women teams received just $1.9 billion of the $85 billion total invested by venture capitalists in 2017, according to data on the from M&A, private equity, and VC database PitchBook. That’s equal to about 2.2% of 2017’s total pot. Meanwhile, all-male teams received about $66.9 billion — roughly 79%. (Of the remaining 19%, 12% of funds were raised by mixed-gender teams, while 7% was raised by teams whose gender makeup PitchBook was unable to confirm.) (source)
A 2017 report by Diversity VC showed that only 13% of decision makers (partners or equivalent) in UK venture capital are women, 48% of investment teams have no women at all. Looking exclusively at decision makers, a staggering 66% of investment teams have no women decision makers. Women comprise just 27% of the venture capital workforce in the UK, and by comparison women comprise 47% of the UK labour force.
In order to raise awareness and to celebrate female founders, entrepreneurs and technologists in the fem tech and health tech industries, we at Women of Wearables have compiled a list of the top 100 women in fem tech and health tech. By showcasing and highlighting these women and their achievements, we hope to inspire more women to participate in building the global Fem Tech and Health Tech community.
The only way to change the industry is to be part of the industry. Without female role models, women cannot be what they cannot see.
Top 100 Women in Fem Tech and Health Tech
Amy Bernal, Chief Experience Officer at Aira, a company that is changing lives of individuals who are blind or visually Impaired through the interaction of smart wearable devices, AI, and real, remote people, read our interview with Amy here;
Amy McDonough, SVP Strategy & Operations at Fitbit Health Solutions, a highly engaging, personalized health solution comprising of wearable devices and self tracking, personalised digital interventions and health coaching and virtual care;
Hadeel Ayoub, founder and CTO at BrightSign, an assistive technology start-up developing enabling innovations to facilitate communication for individuals who are non-verbal, read our interview with Hadeel here;
Isabel Van De Keere, founder and CEO at Immersive Rehab — VR health tech start-up that focuses on the creation and development of interactive rehab environments and games in virtual reality that will improve the effectiveness of physical rehabilitation, read our interview with Isabel here;
Jenny Thomas, Programme Director, DigitalHealth.London Accelerator — London-based digital health Accelerator targeting innovative healthtech businesses, and inviting them to apply to receive help to develop and deploy digital solutions to some of the NHS’ most pressing challenges;
Jessica Kahn, Senior Expert at McKinsey & Company, and former director of the US Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services;
Lea Von Bidder, co-founder and President at Ava Science — a sensor bracelet which that offers women easy and accurate way to track their menstrual cycle and detect their fertile days, read our interview with Lea here;
Lora Haddock, founder and CEO of Lora DiCarlo, a woman-run start up focused on creating products and educational resources that promote female and LGBTQI sexual empowerment, read our interview with Lora here;
Lyndsey Harper, founder and CEO of Rosy, a women’s health company connecting women who have decreased sexual desire with evidence-based resources to improve libido, read our interview with Lyndsey here;
Maxine Mackintosh, co-founder of One HealthTech, community that supports and promotes women and other under-represented groups to be future leaders in health innovation, read our interview with Maxine here;
Nicole Dahlstrom, founder and CEO of FemTech Collective, which offers products and services that help female focused health technology startups overcome barriers to success, read our interview with Nicole here;
Nuala Murphy, founder and CEO of Moment Health, a technology company with a groundbreaking digital solution for the prevention and treatment of women’s mental health illnesses, read our interview with Nuala here;
Rachel Blank, co-founder of Rory, an end-to-end service for women’s health offering accessible, high-quality, personalized healthcare to help women through the biological changes of midlife and beyond;
Tania Boler, co-founder and CEO of Elvie, who designed Elvie Trainer — the award-winning Kegel trainer for a stronger pelvic floor and ElviePump — world’s first silent wearable breast pump, read our interview with Tania here;
Wan Tseng, designer, maker and researcher, founder of Wisp — company with a mission to empower women, unlocking their sensuality through personal experiences with design and technology, read our interview with Wan here;