Femtech Advocate Speaks on the Space's Growth & the Attraction of AI

Women’s health advocate Bethany Corbin breaks down the key drivers behind the bourgeoning Femtech market during MD&M South.

Omar Ford

June 4, 2024

3 Min Read
Image Credit: Omar Ford, editor-in-chief, MD+DI

-  Bethany Corbin is a staunch advocate of women’s health. An accomplished attorney, she is also the co-founder and CEO of FemInnovation, a consultant group poised at revolutionizing women’s health and increasing equity.

During MD&M South, Corbin delivered the keynote titled, “The Surface Pressure of Medical Device Design: Navigating Legal and Ethical Pitfalls in Privacy, Security, and Inclusivity.

MD+DI caught up with Corbin after the keynote to talk about the explosion of Femtech, the rise of AI, and how smaller companies are tackling privacy and data issues.

A key theme right now in healthcare is artificial intelligence. You just can’t escape discussing it at this point. I’m wondering is this a space that we’re seeing venture capitalists flock to. What are your thoughts?

Corbin: “Venture capitalists are getting a lot of pitch decks that incorporate AI. There was one venture capitalist that I spoke with last week who said they had looked across 2,000 different deals in the last few years and almost 100% of them included AI in some form or fashion for healthcare. But what they’re also seeing is that it’s not meaningful AI. It’s AI to put in a pitch deck, but without really transforming the healthcare landscape. So, a lot of the AI they see coming through is not going to be dispositive of whether or not they’re going to be investing in a company.”

“It’s something they’re going to have to look past to see what your device is doing. Can it be something that can be accomplished without AI and artificially increasing the price? They’re saying as well that - in AI - the highest reward applications they are seeing are going to be in the administrative capacity to change the healthcare administrative workflows rather than in the clinical decision-making capacity at this time.”

“During the keynote, you spoke a great deal about privacy and security issues. Bigger more well-established strategics seem to be able to handle these issues better than smaller startups. What have you been seeing in this regard?”

“It’s unfortunate because some of the smaller companies are the most innovative and have great ideas. They also lack the budgets to invest in the privacy and security infrastructure. So, I would say, using the small budgets that they have, I have seen an increase in the percentage of that money being spent in privacy and security. I have also seen this boom in healthtech funding decrease recently, so a lot of companies are unfortunately being swept really at the seed and Series A stages when they’re not able to get the funding they need to enhance that privacy and security infrastructure.”  

“Finally, I want to ask you about Femtech. The space has grown by leaps and bounds since 2016. Where does it go from here?

Corbin: “Femtech started in 2016 and now we have an industry that’s worth over $1 billion. Right now, I would say a lot of Femtech would be focused in the reproductive and the maternal care space. That’s where we’re seeing a lot of growth. In the past two years, we’ve also seen an explosion in the menopause space. Where I see us going into the future is the chronic is more into the chronic care and longevity spaces for women’s healthcare. So, yes, I see maternal and reproductive health always being part of femtech but now we’re starting to branch out of women’s health being solely related to reproductive organs and instead move into a field in which we’re thinking about autoimmune diseases which impact 80% more women than men – going into cancers. So, I see us going into cancer, bone health, mental health, and autoimmune diseases over the next five to six years.”

About the Author(s)

Omar Ford

Omar Ford is MD+DI's Editor-in-Chief. You can reach him at [email protected].


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