Although women makeup approximately 50 percent of the population, yet problems related to feminine health have been some of the least discussed topics in India.Women do not feel free to discuss health related issues due to the societal norms. But now the scenario is different. The 21st-century working women are faced with a unique challenge. They have to prove themselves efficient both as value-adding employees at their workplace during the day and efficient home-makers after office hours. Factors like extended work hours and the lack of social support have made their lives extremely stressful. The result is more and more women experiencing deteriorating health and developing various lifestyle diseases.

With this phenomenon has arisen the need for technology that provides support to women during their tough times. Technology has filled our lives with meaningful advances across every possible field. Woman’s health, hygiene and wellbeing have been receiving the much deserved attention as well. So, here comes the femtech industry which refers to software, products and services, diagnostic tools that use technology to support a woman’s health.

The term ‘femtech’ was given by Ida Tin, the founder of Clue, a period tracking app. Some of the innovations of femtech include menstruation products, fertility and birth control, pelvic health, chronic conditions, pregnancy, sexual wellness and general healthcare.

Globally, the femtech market size which was earlier valued at $18.75 Billion in 2019 is expected to reach $60.01 Billion by 2027 at a CAGR of 15.6 percent. The government along with various public and private corporations have invested extensively in femtech, boosting the growth of this market.

Nascent Indian Femtech Market

In India, the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic has highlighted the need for a robust healthcare system. The Indian femtech sector witnessed several entrepreneurs bringing innovations through technologies in the diagnostics and doctor consultations space. The online pharma start-ups are providing online medicines and doctor consultations from a single platform. In spite of this, the femtech sector is yet to develop to its full potential in India.

The main challenge is the reluctance of Indian investors to fund femtech startups. The investor community is dominated by males, who are unwilling to talk about women’s health issues. Moreover, the cybersecurity concerns and lack of awareness in women are also challenging key factors.

The factors which can promote femtech’s growth include working women voicing more, innovative approaches, a rise of wearables and convenience of remote healthcare. Therefore, it is time to shift attention from the digital savvy consumer to the common population which includes uneducated women. Increasing awareness, popularity and availability of these technology options and encouraging their adoption can take the Indian femtech industry to the next level.

Here are five innovative Indian femtech startups to watch out for.

Say Cheese was founded by Rajpreet Kaur in 2020 in Mumbai. It is a women’s happiness centric platform created to assist and back women in their life decisions. The startup provides personalized tools to tackle the challenges faced by women across careers, relationships and health. Moreover, it provides a Happiness Evaluation Report through proper assessment tools and enables women to stay healthy and focused. Their values include secret RECIPIE (R- Resilience, E- Excellence, C- Creativity, I- Integrity, P-Persistance, E- Empathy).

Founded by Dr. Geetha Manjunath in 2016, Niramai is a Bengaluru based health startup that is looking to collaborate with radiologists for initial market testing in Europe, Asia and Africa. Niramai’s Health Analytix’s AI-based, radiation-free breast cancer screening solution, ThermalytixTM, has received CE mark approval, ISO 13485, and MDSAP (Medical Device Single Audit Programme) International Certifications. It uses machine learning algorithms and artificial intelligence for early breast cancer detection.

Founded by Raghu Bathina and Dr Rajah Koppala in 2015, Celes Care is a virtual Health Clinic for women’s health. Its mission is to change the healthcare experience for consumers. They guide their consumers in their healthcare journey by providing them with information and advice. Moreover, they deliver precision medicine with privacy, quality and convenience.

Tanvi Johri, a business graduate and Rishav Borah started Carmesi in 2017 in New Delhi. Carmesi sells skin-friendly natural sanitary pads through a subscription-based model. The ingredients used in its manufacture are bamboo fibre and corn starch. The bamboo fibre helps in leakage protection whereas the corn starch eliminates the risk of skin issues. The back-sheet is made of compostable biodegradable and organic plastic allowing zero leakage. Carmesi’s pads get home-delivered according to the period dates of a woman. It also allows the hygienic disposal of pads by proving a disposal bag.

Care Mother is a home-based pregnancy care solution developed at the Indian Institute of Technology Bombay for the hospitals and offer personalised care experience to pregnant women at home. It uses innovative technologies and solutions that are being used in 10 states of India and achieved 100,000+ home visits to pregnant women.

“CareMother is a dream kit for me. This has helped in improving our health workers performance and reduced our efforts for data collection and management,” said Dr. Pratibha Phatak, Hedgewar Hospital.

With these young start-ups addressing varying healthcare, hygiene and wellness needs of females, the Indian femtech market has just about taken off. The need of the hour is for investors to back such innovative ideas and bring the Indian femtech industry at par with its global counterparts.