3 FemTech startups innovating for women’s health

Published on 13 June 2023 Read 25 min

Femtech refers to all innovative technologies, products and services dedicated to women’s health, whether on issues of fertility, contraception, sexual well-being or chronic gynecological diseases. The young Femtech market was first referred to in this way in 2016 by the founder of Clue, a mobile app dedicated to menstrual health. Since then, it has gone from strength to strength. Its value is estimated at over $50 billion by 2025[1], making it a promising market and a real breeding ground for innovation.

FemTech Startup n°1: Aspivix with a new medical instrument for trans-cervical procedures in women

Whether inserting an intrauterine device (IUD), undergoing in-vitro fertilization (IVF) or undergoing hysteroscopy, medical professionals use instruments such as Pozzi’s forceps to cross the cervix. These medical procedures are often painful for women, for whom conventional painkillers have little or no effect.

Swiss startup Aspivix has therefore developed Carevix™, a medical cervical gripping device operating with suction technology. In 2022, a clinical trial (ADVANCE Women: Atraumatic Device using VAcuum Technology for CErvical Procedures in Women) demonstrated promising results, with a 78% reduction in severe pain in women with traditional methods[2]. This startup is now looking to market its FemTech device in Europe and the United States.

FemTech Startup n°2 : Healshape with its unique breast bioprosthesis solution to improve the health of women with cancer

Breast cancer patients may, in some cases, undergo a breast removal operation or mastectomy to remove the tumor. The psychological repercussions of this operation vary from woman to woman, but can affect self-confidence and/or sexuality. If they so wish, patients can undergo reconstructive surgery. This is generally carried out either by fitting a prosthesis, or by reconstruction using cutaneous fat flaps from the back or abdomen, accompanied by lipofilling.

However, these surgical solutions are still invasive, which is why Healshape, a Lyon-based FemTech startup and winner of the French Tech Health20 program, is developing a solution for breast regeneration using 3D bioprinting. The bioprosthesis developed by Healshape is composed of natural materials that enable tissue regeneration in the months following surgery: the bioprosthesis resorbs and the patient regains her own breast and her wellness. This Femtech startup’s innovation has the advantage of being minimally invasive, biosourced and has earned the company a €6 million fundraising round in 2022.

FemTech Startup n°3: Perifit with a portable breastfeeding device

Breastfeeding is important for both mother and baby. Breast milk provides optimal nutrition and antibodies to protect against infection, as well as strengthening the bond between mother and child. While breastfeeding is becoming increasingly popular among young mothers, logistical problems quickly discourage some. Going back to work often pushes women to use a cumbersome breast pump, and leads them to isolate themselves during working hours.

Perifit, a French FemTech SME that initially set out to create perineal re-education probes, has launched Perifit Pump, a portable breast pump. The pump sits discreetly in the bra, and incorporates a reservoir so there’s no need to plug into an outlet. The startup’s technology offers some women the opportunity to extend their breastfeeding and continue to provide optimum nutrition for their baby.

The many unmet needs of women’s health are often the result of decades, even centuries, of taboos and stigma that have prevented women from accessing appropriate healthcare and information essential to their well-being. The three innovative women’s health startups featured in this article each address specific current needs of women: pain during gynaecological procedures, breast reconstruction and breastfeeding. There are still so many unmet needs that this market will only evolve in the years to come! Alcimed can help you innovate or explore the women’s health market. Don’t hesitate to contact our team!

[1] Sullivan, F. &. (2021). Femtech—Time for a Digital Revolution in the Women’s Health Market. Frost & Sullivan.
[2] Sa, A. (2022). Les résultats cliniques démontrent une diminution significative de la douleur et des saignements lors des procédures de pose de dispositif intra-utérin (DIU) avec le nouveau dispositif de préhension par aspiration du col de l’utérus développé par Aspivix.

About the author,

Margaux, Senior Consultant with Alcimed’s Healthcare team in Lyon

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