5 years in the past, Israeli entrepreneur Daniella Gilboa confirmed a gaggle of male buyers a viral picture of a new child surrounded by the 1,616 IVF syringes utilized by her mother and father of their extended fertility wrestle. The buyers had clean seems on their faces. None of them understood the that means of the picture, she gathered.
These days, issues are completely different. The panorama for applied sciences particularly centered on ladies’s well being and well-being — or femtech — has grown considerably, and Gilboa, an embryologist and statistician, has succeeded with AIVF, a B2B (business-to-business) firm she co-founded in 2018. AIVF developed the first-to-market platform for IVF clinics that applies knowledge science and synthetic intelligence (AI) to make the IVF course of extra correct and environment friendly. The result’s much less cash spent and fewer time to realize being pregnant for potential mother and father.
“The ecosystem in Israel is altering. Femtech is changing into an attention-grabbing dialog, and VCs are searching for femtech alternatives,” Gilboa mentioned.
Israel, recognized extensively because the startup nation, is changing into a font of innovation for femtech. It’s nonetheless an uphill battle to safe funding, however with ladies being helped the worldwide inhabitants and making 80% of healthcare buy choicesbuyers are beginning to understand the rewarding prospects.
“Femtech is rising and increasing. You now not have to clarify to individuals what it’s,” mentioned Sharon Handelman-Gotlib, co-manager at FemTech IL, a group of two,600 Israeli femtech entrepreneurs and supporters.
In response to Begin Up Nation Central, an Israeli group that tracks the native tech ecosystem, the Israeli femtech panorama consists of about 130 startups and firms. In 2021, roughly $160 million was invested in Israeli femtech firms, down from about $215 million in 2020, however just like 2019’s figures with $157 million in investments, in keeping with SNC’s knowledge.
Illumigyna distant gynecological imaging platform, stood out with the $33 million it raised final 12 months, enabling the corporate to deploy in the USA, the United Arab Emirates, India, Singapore, and South Korea.
“There was large progress made lately in elevating the attention for femtech and in decreasing the stigma round it, however financing remains to be a difficulty. Many Israeli femtech firms are nonetheless within the seed and bootstrapping levels,” mentioned Lena Rogovin, head of Digital Well being & Life Sciences at Begin-Up Nation Central.
Israeli femtech entrepreneurs’ struggles replicate the worldwide scene, the place solely 3% of all digital well being funding goes to femtech, in keeping with a current report by McKinsey & Firm. Funding reached $2.5 billion by the tip of 2021, with estimates for femtech’s present market measurement starting from $500 million to $1 billion.
Israel’s present 130 femtech firms embrace 50 providing digital well being options. About 40 p.c of those 130 firms have been based by ladies or by women and men collectively, versus simply 16% of all Israeli firms.
Maura Rosenfeld, the chief enterprise officer at MindUpto an Israeli digital healthcare incubator, mentioned she was happy to see femtech advancing in Israel, albeit not as rapidly as she would need.
“It is about time. I’m fed up with the inequality for girls. There’s a actual gender bias in how healthcare is developed,” she mentioned.
Israel has the highest fertility fee within the OECDand the state covers the price of IVF therapies for girls as much as age 45. Due to this fact, it isn’t stunning that fertility, IVF, and maternal and child care are scorching areas for Israeli femtech startups. However different important areas of ladies’s well being are additionally being addressed.
One in every of MindUp’s portfolio firms is Gina Life, which is creating a platform making use of knowledge science and AI to a proprietary set of biomarkers, or proteins, in vaginal secretions for early analysis of lethal ailments resembling ovarian most cancers. Gina Life’s product is projected to be accessible to shoppers in 2023.
Gals Bio, an organization established in 2016 by biomedical engineer Hilla Shaviv, has developed a tool to measure menstrual blood. A cross between a tampon and a menstrual cup, the biodegradable, patented tulipon additionally wish to use biomarkers to observe well being and display for ailments.
“Millennials are utilizing apps to trace their durations, however ladies do not realize that their month-to-month bleeding is a pure biopsy that we are able to examine,” mentioned Shaviv.
“Other than the biomarkers, simply having the ability to measure the blood circulate is necessary. For instance, ladies could not even know they’re heavy bleeders, and heavy bleeding can point out iron deficiency, polycystic ovary syndrome, perimenopause, and extra,” she mentioned.
Shaviv began her first firm, GalMedics, in 2007 after she developed a tampon to deal with main dysmenorrhea (menstrual ache), which impacts half of all ladies. The tampon labored by decreasing the dynamic viscosity of the menstrual circulate.
With little femtech consciousness on the time, Shaviv was unable to lift adequate capital to get the tampon to market, and GalMedics shut down in 2015.
A current crowdfunding marketing campaign helped Shaviv increase some cash to carry Tulipon to the market, however she nonetheless has a solution to go. She hopes that the current recognition she and her firm acquired at Israeli and worldwide tech competitions will present the required enhance.
“Tulipon is a B2C [business-to-consumer] system, and there are few buyers for B2C in Israel,” Shaviv famous.
Certainly, B2B is larger in Israel in all areas. Rogovin mentioned buyers are wanting primarily for platform options, not units and standalone apps. “They’re searching for issues which might be extra sizable and scalable,” she mentioned.
There’s additionally a stigma surrounding feminine anatomy and physiology that has not been fully overcome.
“Generally I simply wish to say to the male VCs, ‘Cope with it, dude!’” mentioned FemTech IL’s Handelman-Gotlib.
There are extra ladies enterprise capitalists in Israel and around the globe than there was, however the majority are nonetheless males. One male investor grasped the necessity for SafeUP, an app creating a world group of ladies who function guardians for each other to allow them to really feel safe. Customers can name on different ladies close by to accompany them by audio or video name or to come back to their help in particular person.
“We’ve got a top-tier VC in Israel behind us. He’s the daddy of daughters, so he bought what we have been attempting to realize,” SafeUP founder Neta Schreiber mentioned.
The corporate has snowballed since its launch in late 2020. It has 25 staff and 100,000 members globally — all fastidiously vetted for customers’ security. Options have been added to enhance consumer expertise, and Schreiber is getting ready for the following spherical of funding because the app’s customers proceed to develop.
She is not daunted by the truth that SafeUP isn’t a typical startup for the Israeli ecosystem, together with the femtech area.
“Girls should not should want for luck to be protected. We’ve got created a state of affairs the place no lady ever must be alone,” Schreiber mentioned.