FemHealth Ventures: A Whole-Woman Approach to Venture Capital

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ARTICLE SUMMARY:

FemHealth Ventures is a member of a new class of women-led venture capital firms focusing on women’s health. The company has crafted a broad investment thesis that goes far beyond the conditions that Ob/Gyns treat to include conditions that affect women more, or differently than men.

It’s time to change the narrative about women’s healthcare, once thought of as a niche area of investment that was more risky than rewarding. A business sector where demand outstrips supply and where consumers yield great power, women’s health is actually an undervalued growth opportunity, and one that has spawned several venture capital firms focused on women’s health and led by women who, in many cases, have decades of investment experience behind them. These new investors are supporting innovation that will contribute to what analysts forecast as an almost $60 billion global market by 2030 (an estimate that includes both the pharmaceutical and medtech industries, but not healthcare services).

The inequities across the gender gap have often been cited; although women represent half of the population, only 4% of research funding is dedicated to medicine targeted to women. Women have even been left out of the loop for conditions that affect them predominantly (for example, 80% of people with autoimmune diseases are women) or differently (such as cardiovascular disease, the symptoms of which are different in women) because females are still underrepresented in clinical trials. That might be one reason why women experience worse outcomes for certain prevalent diseases like asthma, diabetes, and heart attacks.

However, the fundamentals are strong. According to a report by McKinsey & Co., women are on track to control the majority of wealth in this country and currently hold C-suite positions at 44% of companies in the US. In 2022, Fortune 500 notes that the proportion of women holding the position of CEO, although still low at 15%, is rapidly rising, even at the largest Fortune 500 companies, including a few major health-related firms such as CVS Health, Walgreens Boots Alliance, and Anthem. (In March 2022, there were 74 female Fortune 500 CEOs, which is up from 18 in 2012). At the same time, women make 80% of healthcare purchasing decisions in this country. 

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