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Despite the headwinds of 2022, women’s health startups are doing better than ever • TechCrunch

Looks set to crack the glass ceiling with the bulk of digital funding yet

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It’s already seven months since Roe vs. Wade was overthrown, and the dust had barely begun to settle.

Politically, voters have expressed overwhelming support for a person’s right to access abortion. Grassroots campaigns continue, and technologically, innovation in the wider women’s health sector is just starting to gear up.

But have things improved at all for the sector? Or has the sour sentiment across the political spectrum just scared off investors? TechCrunch did a vibe check to see where this sector stands, and found a prevailing sense of guarded optimism.

For Oriana Papin-Zoghbi, CEO and co-founder of early ovarian cancer detection company AOA, the sector has tons of potential to grow, but raising capital remains a challenge as some investors still see it as a “niche market”.

However, things are slowly but surely changing: “Women are still the majority of investors who understand our product the deepest, but we are fortunately seeing an increase in the general population interested in investing,” Papin-Zoghbi told TechCrunch.

She closed a $7 million seed round last year and is now raising a Series A. “We still have a very long way to go to change opinions about the importance of investing in women’s health. We are not a niche market than 50% of the population.”

Janna Meyrowitz Turner, the founder of Synastry Capital, echoed similar sentiments. She noted that women’s health startups are looking beyond traditional venture capital for funding, turning to avenues such as family offices, corporate venture capital and crowdfunding. She also heard discussions about strategic mergers and joint ventures.

“I foresee capital to healthcare companies increasing in 2023,” she told TechCrunch. “But I’m not as optimistic when it comes to misogyny in the investment and medical fields changing as quickly as public sentiment on things like abortion or even the health benefits of the female orgasm has.”

However, the funding for women’s healthcare companies does not look so bad. According to PitchBook, such startups raised about $1.16 billion in 2022, down from the $1.41 billion they raised in 2021. The good news is that the $1.16 billion is much closer to $1.41 billion than it is to $496 million, which was the amount women’s health companies raised in 2020, and $476.8 million, which was the amount raised in 2019. has been collected. This suggests that investors have not returned to pre-pandemic levels and the sector is still trending upwards.

In fact, women’s healthcare technology companies, also known as “femtech”, fared much better in 2022 in terms of digital healthcare funding. Even though funding in the digital health sector fell to around $8.6 billion in 2022 from around $16 billion a year earlier, femtech’s share rose significantly over previous years – the sector’s share of digital health funding was 13.26% in 2022 , compared to 8.75% in 2021, 7.6% in 2020, and 11.8% in 2019.

Data visualization by Miranda Halperncreated with Flourish

If anything, there appears to be greater investor interest in continuing to fund innovation in this sector, despite the economic and political headwinds that stand in the way.

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