Femtech Innovation in India: Charting the path forward
The Tech4Eva India Roadshow took place on October 10th and highlighted the local ecosystem, challenges, and opportunities. The Femtech industry in India is new but gaining popularity and investment. The Indian Femtech market is expected to reach $4 billion by 2024, with a CAGR of 12.9% and the country has seen a rise in Femtech start-ups addressing various women's health issues like menstrual health, fertility, maternal health, sexual wellness, and mental health.
This roadshow provided a closer look at the remarkable advancements in India's Femtech industry and put the limelight on the 2023 Tech4Eva cohort.
Philip’s Experience with the Femtech market in India
The keynote talk by Tamilselvan Sankaralingam was one oft he event's highlights. Tamilselvan brought a global perspective to the stage as the NBX Venture Leader for Women's Health at Philips. He emphasized:
"India'svast and tech-savvy population represents an enormous market for Femtech innovation. Philips is dedicated to creating innovative products and solutions that cater to the unique healthcare needs of women in India." - Tamilselvan Sankaralingam, NBX Venture Leader, Philips
The Femtech industry has experienced rapid growth, driven by a confluence of factors such as increased awareness of women's health issues, advances in technology, and changing societal norms. With a population of over 1.3 billion people, India represents a vast and diverse market for Femtech innovations.
Key take aways from Sankaralingam's keynote address include:
Market Potential: India's vast population presents a significant market potential for Femtech solutions. With millions of women seeking improved access to healthcare, menstrual health, fertility tracking, and more, there is a growing need for innovative Femtech products and services.
Challenges and Opportunities: The Femtech sector in India faces its own unique set of challenges, including cultural taboos, access to healthcare, and affordability. Sankaralingam highlighted how addressing these challenges could lead to substantial opportunities for innovation and growth.
Role of Technology: Technology, particularly digital health solutions and wearables, plays a pivotal role in shaping the Femtech industry in India. Sankaralingam discussed how the convergence of technology and healthcare is driving the development of user-centric solutions.
Collaboration and Partnerships: The keynote emphasized the importance of collaboration between governments, healthcare providers, startups, and established companies. Such collaborations are essential for scaling Femtech solutions and making them accessible to a broader audience.
Finally, the importance of data-driven innovation and user-centric design in the Femtech industry was emphasized in Sankaralingam's keynote. As India's embrace of digital health solutions grows, there is enormous potential for the development of novel goods and services that address the special needs of Indian women.
Swissnex India: A bridge to innovation
The event also featured one of Tech4Eva’s key partners - Jonas Brunschwig, CEO of Swissnex India, who delved into the role of Swissnex India in fostering innovation. Swissnex India serves as a bridge between Switzerland and India for education, research, and innovation. It connects people and institutions, fostering collaborations and partnerships. In the context of Femtech, Swissnex India plays a vital role in bringing Swiss innovation to India, contributing to the growth and development of the Femtech sector in the country.
Swissnex's global footprint demonstrates the company's commitment to international innovation. The cross-border collaborations it initiates and supports demonstrate its commitment to creating innovative solutions in a variety of industries, including Femtech. As the Femtech sector evolves and expands in India and around the world, Swissnex serves as a catalyst for innovation and cross-border collaboration.
Breaking the Taboos on Women's Health
In a thought-provoking panel discussion, with Tech4Eva Alumni Ira Guha, Founder of Asan, and Sanjith Shetty, CEO of Miror, tackled the challenging topic of breaking the taboos surrounding women's health. A key revelation was that taboos about women's health are not confined to specific regions, dispelling the notion that they are unique to rural India. They highlighted that these taboos exist globally, albeit with cultural variations.
Sanjith Shetty, CEO of Miror, accentuated the importance of addressing menopause as a global issue.
"Menopause is not India-centric. It's aglobal issue." Sanjith Shetty, CEO of Miror
The panel also emphasized that rural areas can be more receptive to innovative solutions in the Femtech sector, challenging the stereotype that taboos are more prevalent there. The need for quality sanitary products drives this openness.
Trust was another central theme. Education on women's health must come from a trusted source. Asan, for instance, employs a decentralized peer learning model, empowering social health workers to educate their communities. In urban areas, social media and influential figures are used for education.
The bottom line is that to address taboos around women's health, education must be combined with trust and authenticity. The context may vary, but localizing solutions through trusted individuals bridges the gap between innovation and acceptance.
The bigger picture: Where is India's Femtech headed?
Adrien Merillat of Swissnex India closed the session by emphasizing India's growing Femtech sector. He emphasized that it is on a trajectory of significant expansion, with enormous potential to meet women's healthcare needs and reduce the stigma attached to women's health.
India's innovation landscape and Femtech sector are thriving
The Tech4Eva cohort additionally had the chance to meet in private with some of the rising Femtech start-up solutions to improve women's health: Aindra System – a pioneering point-of-care solution for cervical cancer screening, Niramai Health Analytix – an innovative breast cancer screening solution and Janitri Innovations – a fetal maternal remote monitoring system to exchange ideas. 1 out of every 10 Unicorns globally have been born in India and 108 Indian Unicorns are valued at more than $341 Billion. It is important to note that this is not by chance; India's demographic landscape plays a significant role in creating unicorns and successful start-ups.
"India is the perfect canvas for Femtech solutions. With a women's demographic of over 600 million, this is a market of unprecedented scale. The investor community is taking note of the potential, ready to back groundbreaking solutions." Kaustubh Chaturvedi, Investment Specialist, Invest India
This again highlights the immense opportunities Femtech presents in India due to its sheer market size. India also is host of 180 innovation and R&D centres of Fortune 500 companies providing great innovation partnership opportunities for start-ups.
In conclusion, the Tech4Eva India Roadshow 2023 displayed not just the present, but also the future of Femtech in India. With entrepreneurs actively addressing important health issues, prominent corporations such as Philips investing in innovative solutions, and an aggressive push to de-stigmatize dialogues around women's health, India is well on its way to becoming a Femtech powerhouse.
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