The Rise of Femtech: An Analysis of the Femtech Industry and its Female Entrepreneurs' Experiences

Alessia De Stefano & Theresa Luisa Müller

Student thesis: Master thesis

Abstract

Prior female entrepreneurship literature has shown that women are severely underrepresented in new venture creation, particularly in the technology industry. However, recently there has been a rise in new ventures using technology to develop products and services dedicated to serving women’s health and closing the gender data gap in healthcare. These firms fall within the female technology (Femtech) industry, an upcoming industry at the intersection of healthcare and technology that has been largely unknown in the business world and academic field. Noteworthy, these firms focus on women’s needs and the majority are women-led or founded by women. Prior research has shown that female entrepreneurs are a large untapped potential as they would significantly contribute to global economic development. Thus, it is deemed worthwhile to investigate the upcoming Femtech industry and its female entrepreneurs. This may advance the knowledge about female entrepreneurship as it could enhance the understanding and ways to action to counter barriers that are unique to women in entrepreneurship and beyond. As a theoretical starting point, we use theories from the field of female entrepreneurship. We aim to analyze (1) what the Femtech industry is and how it influences the playing field for female entrepreneurs. In addition to the industry analysis, we intend to shed light on (2) female entrepreneurs’ experiences in the Femtech industry. To fulfill our two-fold research purpose, a multi-method qualitative study is conducted. Thus, data is collected through desk research, semi-structured interviews with female Femtech entrepreneurs, and non-participant observations of a Femtech network’s webinars. Our analysis of the Femtech industry reveals that it is an untapped, lucrative, and non-male-dominated tech space. For female entrepreneurs, driven by mission and attracted by “blue ocean” opportunities, it emerged as a beneficial playing field. It is more accessible for women than other parts of the tech industry due to its female dominance in terms of entrepreneurs and end-consumers and its inherent association with femininity (“Fem”tech). The female entrepreneurs perceive to have an authentic footing in the Femtech industry. Thus, our findings suggest that the Femtech industry presents an opportunity for female entrepreneurship in tech. However, we identified that fundraising is a key barrier of female entrepreneurs, blocking their development and growth. This paper contributes to academic research by shedding light on an upcoming tech industry and its female entrepreneurs. We suggest several practical implications for (aspiring) female entrepreneurs within the Femtech industry, network owners, capital providers, governments, and institutions to reduce the gender gap in entrepreneurship and health.

EducationsMSc in Finance and Strategic Management, (Graduate Programme) Final Thesis
LanguageEnglish
Publication date2021
Number of pages133
SupervisorsFlorence Villesèche