The word FemTech emerged in the startup scene in 2016 to capture the growing number of ventures designing products for women. From better period products to curated vitamin regimens to specific healthcare software options, these startups are filling critical gaps not addressed by traditional biopharma and device manufacturers.
But the reality is that FemTech startups currently represent just about 3% of all VC funding going into the digital health space. Now, a growing number of Atlanta-based companies are working on changing that narrative and make Atlanta a center of innovation for the FemTech space overall.
“This isn’t a niche product or problem,” said Techstars Atlanta’s Investment Principle Anastasia Simon during her opening remarks at last week’s FemTech Salon at Atlanta Tech Village (ATV).
Given the turnout for the first event of its kind in the city, it certainly isn’t a niche part of the Atlanta startup scene. Over 80 people braved Buckhead traffic on a Thursday afternoon to hear from a panel of experts about new trends in FemTech.
That is exactly why Rachael Kim, FemTech entrepreneur and co-founder of e-commerce period care subscription startup My Comma, picked Atlanta for her first FemTech Salon event hosted outside of her home base of Los Angeles.
Georgia is brimming with passionate founders in the software and consumer products space. But it is also a state where innovation is necessary – a reality brought up multiple times throughout the event.
The State of Georgia has the second-highest rate of maternal mortality in the United States and consistently ranks low on general healthcare outcomes.
FemTech Leaders To Know In Town
The FemTech space is wide, and includes founders working on everything from mental health to post-menopause health and those who are bringing new software and new consumer products to market. Here are just a few that you should know about building in Atlanta:
CARIT: Founder Bryanna Marshall
Carit connects soon-to-be moms with licensed professionals and support organizations specializing in mental health, physical health and community health. The startup built its MVP during the Tech AF program in Atlanta, and aims to be a place that helps mothers through every stage of pregnancy and postpartum.
“When you’re pregnant, the questions no longer revolve around you…it is all about the baby. But [the healthcare system] isn’t even asking questions about the health of the mother. So how can we shift the dynamic to focus on mental and physical well being while the mom is pregnant into postpartum?,” founder Bryanna Marshall told Hypepotamus.
VILLIE: Founder Kimberly (Mensah) Jolasun
We covered Villie on Hypepotamus in 2020 as the team was working on building out a virtual baby shower platform to help expecting mothers. The startup has grown to be a digital product suite where moms can receive support while bringing their community together.
Between: Co-founders Sheeren Brown and Asia Barnes
Best friends and Georgia Tech graduates Sheeren Brown and Asia Barnes started Between to help women find same or next-day gynecological care near them.
WellMiss: Founder Jaki Johnson
Mental health and trauma care is an important – and often overlooked – aspect of the healthcare system. That is particularly true for women navigating traumatic experiences. WellMiss is designed as a virtual healing platform for holistic and integrative wellness. The startup is backed by Techstars Social Impact.
Strapt Vending: Founder Carly Simenauer
Patrons at places like Ponce City Market, Ladybird, and Atlanta’s Plaza Theatre can see Strapt Vending in action. The startup has a cashless, hands-free, and full-service IoT feminine vending machine that dispenses smart tampons.
Semaine Health: Co-founders Lauren Lee and Catherine Lee
Sisters and Agnes Scott graduates Lauren and Catherine Lee founded Semaine as a plant-based, anti-inflammatory wellness supplement brand to address common problems from menarche to menopause.
MyUTI: Co-founder Lindsey Williams
Anyone who has dealt with painful UTIs now has a safe and effective at-home, on-demand testing and clinical experts. The brand can help users better understand the root cause of repeat UTIs.
Vula: Founder Latifa Zakari
Vula is a consumer product brand that believes a healthy period leads to a healthy life. IT has produced a line of healthy, organic feminine care products that are more accessible.
HerPoppy: Founder Lauren Gregory
After graduating from Barry University and working across the CPG space, Lauren Gregory founded HerPoppy to bring clean-ingredient wellness products to womxn.
If you missed the first FemTech Salon, don’t worry. Rachael Kim is taking it to more cities this coming year, but is already planning to bring it back to Atlanta in 2023.