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January 8, 2024
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Boosted Funding Amplifies Women’s Health Startups

Increased Venture Capital Investment Bolsters Women’s Health Startups

Summary:

  • Investment in women’s health startups increased 314% since 2018, compared to an overall increase of 28% in health sector investment.
  • Women’s health companies saw lower valuations, potentially due to lack of data collection on women’s health conditions.
  • Investments are moving into emerging areas such as menopause, pelvic health, and mental health.

Despite ongoing economic challenges and a difficult fundraising environment, investment in women’s health startups is on the rise. Silicon Valley Bank (SVB) recently released a report showing that investment in women’s health companies has increased by 314% since 2018, significantly outpacing the overall growth rate of 28% in the health sector. The report defines women’s health as companies in the healthtech, biopharma, diagnostics/tools, and medical device sectors that address underserved care needs for women. This includes conditions that uniquely or disproportionately impact women, as well as those marked by gender-based disparities in care.

Valuations for women’s health companies have typically been lower than those for healthcare companies overall. SVB’s data shows that seed stage women’s health companies are consistently valued 20% lower than healthcare companies in general. One potential reason for this discrepancy is the lack of data on women’s health conditions. This lack of data can make it difficult for founders to convince investors of the need for their company, accurately estimate market size, and obtain FDA approval. However, efforts such as the White House Initiative on Women’s Health Research aim to close the research gaps in the sector, which could lead to higher valuations in the future as more data becomes available.

Investments in women’s health startups are increasingly shifting to emerging areas such as menopause, pelvic health, and mental health. As investors and companies challenge the misconception that women’s health is solely focused on reproductive years, they are realizing the potential to address the complete spectrum of health needs throughout a woman’s life. This shift in focus is reflected in the data, with biopharma surpassing healthtech as the top funded women’s health subsector in 2023.

Despite the challenges of the current venture capital landscape, women’s health startups are gaining significant momentum and progress. This increased investment highlights the opportunities to address the diverse healthcare needs of women and underscores the importance of

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