Interview by Marija Butkovic @MarijaButkovic
Netta Levran is a born and raised New Yorker, living and working in Tel Aviv. She is Women of Wearables Ambassador in Tel Aviv, Israel. Netta’s interest in behavioral science began at Wesleyan University, where she worked in a decision-making lab, helping teach analytics to non-science majors. She honed her analytics and management skills at a consulting firm in New York and afterwards began her startup career in Tel Aviv, Israel. Netta was most recently the Director of Product at RMDY Health, a digital health startup, fully immersed in everything related to health and technology. Netta runs a bimonthly Women’s Circle in Tel Aviv, organizes various women’s workshop events (including two this past year in Cape Town and Tel Aviv) and recently held an Open Studio at Mute Gallery in Lisbon presenting an on-going project on Utopias.
Netta, welcome to our team! Tell us a bit more about yourself, your background and how you became interested in a world of technology and fem technology.
Hi, I'm Netta!
I'm a born and raised New Yorker, currently living and working in Tel Aviv. I love to travel (just got back from a couple months in New Zealand!) and speak 3 and a half languages (English, Hebrew, Spanish, and some Portuguese).
I love to run (I've run a half marathon, although now I just try to run a few times a week to stay in shape), practice the flute, try to take an art class a year, and I love reading/hearing fiction and anything and everything related to women's health and technology, data visualization, storytelling podcasts and behavior economics. I run a bimonthly women's circle and write a blog on femtech and hospital from home.
My interest in behavioral science began in college (Wesleyan University), where I worked in a decision-making lab and helped teach statistics to non-science majors. Afterwards I honed my analytics and management skills as a consultant in New York, and have spent almost a decade working in the startup tech space in Tel Aviv. A few years ago I received my MBA at Tel Aviv University, and for the past few years I've been working in product in digital health (I was the Director of Product at RMDY Health). I became interested in health tech because it's the intersection between the ever-growing research on human behavior, constant tech advancements, ethics, and figuring out how to improve the health of people across the globe.
I organize various women's events and am a big believer in connecting women and empowering women through the sharing of knowledge, stories, and experience. I think my interest in fem technology and becoming a femtech enthusiast was just a natural intersection between my work in the digital health space and my activities outside of work. There is so much work left to be done getting women into tech, getting research done on women's health, innovating, and investing in femtech. I think we need to re-frame the healthcare system and put the patient in the center; many of the femtech companies today are doing just that by reaching out directly to consumers, showing the demand and need for this new approach.
How did you find out about Women of Wearables?
I think I saw a WoW Top 100 Females list post on LinkedIn. I've been reading the WoW blog and newsletter ever since!
What are your projects you're working on at the moment?
I'm writing a blog on femtech and hospital from home, continuing to lead a women's circle in Tel Aviv, and working on writing a short book with Filipa Reis summarizing our experience in the Open Studio we held at Mute Gallery in Lisbon in 2017.
Why is #WomenInTech movement important to you?
As tech is becoming more and more integrated into our lives, we need to get the teams in tech to be more diverse. We need to get women into tech at all levels so that they are asking the right questions, making sure that data is more diverse, our AI is feminist, and that we are no longer getting left out of research, design, and technological advancements.
How does the tech ecosystem look in Tel Aviv? How about fem tech and health tech community?
The tech ecosystem is always flourishing in Tel Aviv. It's a hub with thousands of startups and many large multi-national companies as well. The health tech ecosystem is also quite large, and Tel Aviv just hosted the 1st world congress on women's health (WHII). That being said, there are very few startups in the femtech space in Israel, and there is still much space to grow, invest, and connect.
What will be your main goals as Women of Wearables Ambassador in Tel Aviv?
I want WoW to serve as a connector for women in tech in Tel Aviv to meet each other, hear about interesting ventures and projects, gain knowledge about various industries, and learn new skills from fellow women in their community. As ambassador I also hope to be able to connect women in Tel Aviv with WoW's global community and to open doors and opportunities for them and their companies globally.
What will be the key trends in the fem tech and health tech industries in the next 5 years and where do you see it heading?
We're going to see more fem tech and health tech companies disrupting care delivery (from telemedicine to remote monitoring to female centric services to AI-diagnostic services that help optimally utilize our health system resources).
Particularly in the femtech space, but also across the board, we're going to see more and more direct-to-consumer products and diagnostics. The system is moving too slowly to support women's health/patients in general and the market and consumers themselves will need to prove that they have a willingness to pay for these products and services.
More science and research behind stigmatized areas (such as menopause, vaginal, pelvic and sexual health) to diseases that are under-diagnosed and under-researched
We're going to see a lot more women investing in and leading initiatives in women's health
Who are your 3 inspirational women in fem tech and health tech?
Ida Tin, Co-Founder CEO of Clue. Ida is super inspiring and it's great to hear her talk about ethical data use and how Clue is partnering with universities to promote research studies on women's health.
Alicia Chong Rodriguez, Founder and CEO of Bloomer Tech. Alicia's work at Bloomer Tech is an example of "for women by women" at it's best. Alicia learned about how women are underrepresented in research on heart disease and did something about it, developing a fashionable and washable ECG bra.
Esther Duflo, MIT economist and Co-Founder and Co-Director of J-PAL. I know she's not directly in tech but her work and research at J-PAL towards reducing poverty by ensuring that policy is informed by scientific evidence is inspiring and I think she serves as an excellent role model for the fem tech and health tech fields.
Connect with Netta:
This interview was conducted by Marija Butkovic, Digital Marketing and PR strategist, founder and CEO of Women of Wearables. She regularly writes and speaks on topics of wearable tech, fashion tech, IoT, entrepreneurship and diversity. Visit marijabutkovic.co.uk or follow Marija on Twitter @MarijaButkovic.